There are just two weekends of the MLB regular season left before we get to the playoffs. So far, only the Los Angeles Dodgers have wrapped up a playoff spot, leaving 11 spots up for grabs. The races are on down the stretch, and here we’ll take a look at the top three series around baseball this weekend.
Minnesota at Cleveland
This weekend represents a likely last gasp for the Minnesota Twins to make the playoffs. The runner-up in the AL Central is unlikely to nab a wild card spot. Last week the Twins were swept at home by the Cleveland Guardians, and they sit 4.5 games back, falling into third place behind the Chicago White Sox.
Now the Twins head to Cleveland for a five-game series, starting Friday. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, and the series ends with a Monday afternoon tilt. Cleveland has won five in a row in the season series, and they are 9-5 against the Twins in 2022.
Minnesota is 9-11 in their last 20 and 13-17 in the last 30, losing four games to the Guardians in that span. They haven’t been good on the road, going 29-38 on the season, while Cleveland is 36-30 at home.
Minnesota hasn’t announced their starting pitchers for the weekend. Cleveland is lined up with Triston McKenzie and Shane Bieber to start the series, which should give them an advantage.
Philadelphia at Atlanta
Heading into Friday’s action, these are the top two teams in the National League Wild Card race as the Atlanta Braves prepare to host the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta is 88-55, and they are eight games ahead of the 80-63 Phillies. Philadelphia has a two-game lead on San Diego and a four-game lead on Milwaukee for a Wild Card spot.
The defending champion Braves are heating up at the right time, going 21-9 over their last 30. They are 47-25 at home this season, while the Phillies are 36-31 on the road. These teams have split 12 games this season and will play again next weekend in Philadelphia.
The series starts with a great pitching matchup as Phillies LHP Range Suarez (9-5, 3.62) faces LHP Max Fried (13-6, 2.60). Saturday night, the Phillies have RHP Aaron Nola (9-11, 3.31) against Braves RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-5, 4.19). Atlanta sends Rookie of the Year favorite RHP Spencer Strider (10-5, 2.72) to the mound Sunday against Phillies LHP Bailey Falter (5-3, 3.80).
Atlanta is only one game behind the New York Mets in the NL East standings. If they don’t catch the Mets, they are likely to play the Phillies in the first round of the playoffs, giving this weekend’s series added intrigue.
Baltimore at Toronto
The American League is very likely to get three playoff teams this year. The New York Yankees lead the division by 6.5 games over Toronto and seven games over Tampa Bay. Toronto hosts the Baltimore Orioles this weekend, with the O’s sitting five games behind the jays and ⅘ games behind the Rays for the last Wild Card spot.
Baltimore is just 16-14 over their last 30, while the Blue Jays are 20-10. Toronto has gone past Tampa Bay into the second Wild Card spot, a half-game behind Seattle for the top Wild Card spot.
Baltimore leads the season series 7-6, including a 4-3 record in Toronto. The teams meet in Baltimore to end the season, October 3-5. The Orioles are 34-37 on the road and 28-34 against the AL East, while Toronto is 41-31 at home and 34-26 against the East.
The series opener is on Apple TV with Orioles RHP Jordan Lyles (10-10, 4.62) against a yet-to-be-named Toronto starter. The Blue Jays have RHP Jose Berrios (10-5, 5.07) on the mound Saturday against Baltimore RHP Kyle Bradish (3-6, 5.01). Sunday afternoon’s finale features Baltimore RHP Dean Kremer (7-5, 3.34) against Toronto RHP Alex Manoah (14-7, 2.43).
The Orioles have made great strides in their rebuild this season. But to finish it off with a playoff appearance, they need a sweep this weekend on the road in Toronto.
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Cole is really big into Major League Baseball, but really - the big four Pro US sports are his passion. Cole grew up a Yankees fan but married a Red Sox fan. It's tough around the house during those big games, but his hatred for the Red Sox has dissipated a little. Cole has a goal of seeing every Major League Baseball Stadium before the end of 2025!