This past week the game was stripped of some of its biggest stars as Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki, Jered Weaver and Roy Halladay all went on the disabled list and will be there for an extended period of time.
This week, though, should be fun as we get our second look at interleague play. One of the more intriguing things to watch are some of the matchups between the AL and NL East teams, as all the teams encompassing these divisions are all over .500 and in the thick of the race.
So lets’ look at some hot, intriguing and trending names to watch this week.
Dustin Pedroia: Boston Red Sox
After jamming his thumb last week and missing the last six games, Pedroia has told reporters that he is good to go for Tuesday and hence the rest of the week.
Bobby Valentine also believes Pedroia will be ready and, thus, making a trip to the DL unnecessary.
If Pedroia plays this week, he and the Sox will take on the Orioles (Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Brian Matusz) and the Nationals (Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman) at home.
Michael Morse: Washington Nationals
Morse finally returned to the Nats’ lineup this weekend and so far the results have not been good, as he is off to a 0-8 start.
However, Morse will get a full week’s worth of games to get his power stroke back working, which is something the contending Nationals need.
For the week, Morse and the Nats will take on the Mets at home (Chris Young, R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana) before traveling to Boston (Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard and Jon Lester).
Desmond Jennings: Tampa Bay Rays
Also coming off the DL this week is Jennings, who is set to return to the lineup on Tuesday.
Jennings and the Rays have a set of two rough road series as they head to New York to play the Yankees (Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia) before traveling to Miami (Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Zambrano and Anibal Sanchez) for an intra-state matchup.
Edwin Encarnacion: Toronto Blue Jays
As one of the leagues’ hottest hitters, it was shame to see Encarnacion get hit on the wrist and taken out of Sunday’s game.
Encarnacion, who is eight for his last 23 with two home runs, is slugging with the best of them as his 17 home runs ranks second in the league. X-rays came back negative on Encarnacion’s injured wrist. So, this will probably be a day-to-day thing.
If he plays, Encarnacion and the Jays will on the road playing against the White Sox (Phil Humber, Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy) and the Braves (Brandon Beachy, Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson).
Gordon Beckham: Chicago White Sox
Beckham, one of the most popular pickups off the waiver wire recently, had been left for dead but all he has done of late is rake.
Beckham is in the middle of a 10-game hitting streak in which he has hit three home runs and driven in eight runs in the process.
Beckham will look to keep up his hot-hitting ways against the Blue Jays (Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez) and Astros (Wandy Rodriguez, Jordan Lyles and Lucas Harrell) at home this week.
Felix Hernandez: Seattle Mariners
After experiencing back trouble in his last start in Chicago, Hernandez will be listed as questionable for his next start on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Given the way he is serving up home runs and proving to be ordinary of late (only one quality start in his last five outings), this may be the week to sit “King Felix” to assess where he is.
Vance Worley: Philadelphia Phillies
Set to come off the DL on Monday, Worley will line up for two starts this week.
With Halladay going on the DL, the Phillies will need quality innings from Worley to stay afloat in the NL standings. This week Worley will get the Dodgers (opposed by Clayton Kershaw) at home before taking on the Orioles on the road.
Jeff Samardzija: Chicago Cubs
If the struggling Cubs have something to hang their heads on, it’s the potential in Samardzija’s strong right arm.
Samardzija has been a boon to the Cubs’ rotation this year and is sporting a nifty 3.09 ERA and 1.19 WHIP so far this season. 65 K’s in 64 IP is not too shabby either.
With two starts this week, Samardzija’s talent will be on full display. Samardzija should have little trouble with the offenses of the Giants and Twins, even with both contests being on the road.
James Shields: Tampa Bay Rays
Shields has been too hittable recently, as he has allowed 50 hits in his last seven starts (43.2 innings pitched) and has come down to earth of late.
His 3.95 ERA and 1.32 are from stellar, but yet Shields has six wins to his credit. On tap this week are two tough matchups on the road, with the first coming in the Bronx vs. the Yanks followed with a start in Miami.
Andy Pettitte: New York Yankees
After a year-plus layoff from the game, Pettitte has come back with vigor and has been more than respectable.
Sporting a 3.49 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a very impressive 22 to 5 strikeout to walk ratio, Pettitte has been all the Yanks could have asked and then some.
Pettitte will get two starts at home this week (Tampa Bay and the New York Mets), making him a solid play this week.
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