Playing a full 60-game MLB season does not appear to be in the Cards for St. Louis.
The Cardinals — whose series-opening game against the Chicago White Sox was postponed from Friday to Saturday — have played only five games since the season began, and none since July 30. The latest postponement is reportedly due to another Cardinals’ staffer testing positive for COVID-19. While teams like the Miami Marlins appear to have their outbreak under control, the Cardinals have struggled to contain the virus, and given the condensed timeline of the 2020 season, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to make up all of the games they’ve postponed (for comparison, their division rival Cincinnati Reds have played 19 games).
But outside of a couple rogue players, this week has been mostly positive for the MLB. At 13-3, the Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball, the Colorado Rockies and Oakland A’s have been small-market surprises, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees look like contenders, as expected. In short, the season has been both surprising and familiar, which is about the best that baseball fans could have hoped for in this unprecedented year.
Check out this week’s schedule of nationally televised games on Sling, along with our picks for the three best games of the week, below:
|Friday, August 14||6:37 PM ET||Tampa Bay @ Toronto||FS1||Richards vs Roark|
|Friday, August 14||9:40 PM ET||LA Dodgers @ LA Angels||FS1||Kershaw vs Sandoval|
|Saturday, August 15||6:10 PM ET||Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati||FS1||Brault vs Bauer|
|Saturday, August 15||7:15 PM ET||Boston @ NY Yankees||FOX||Eovaldi vs Paxton|
|Saturday, August 15||7:15 PM ET||Oakland @ San Francisco||FOX||Luzardo vs Gausman|
|Sunday, August 16||1:00 PM ET||Cleveland @ Detroit||ESPN||Plutko vs Fulmer|
|Sunday, August 16||4:10 PM ET||LA Dodgers @ LA Angels||TBS||May vs Teheran|
|Sunday, August 16||7:00 PM ET||Boston @ NY Yankees||ESPN||Undecided vs Happ|
|Monday, August 17||9:05 PM ET||San Diego @ Texas||FS1||Davies vs Minor|
|Tuesday, August 18||4:00 PM ET||San Francisco @ LA Angels||ESPN||Cahill vs Canning|
|Tuesday, August 18||7:00 PM ET||Tampa Bay @ NY Yankees||ESPN||Snell vs Tanaka|
|Tuesday, August 18||8:15 PM ET||St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs||FS1||Undecided vs Darvish|
|Wednesday, August 19||7:00 PM ET||Washington @ Atlanta||ESPN||Strasburg vs Wright|
|Wednesday, August 19||9:45 PM ET||LA Angels @ San Francisco||ESPN||Sandoval vs Cueto|
|Thursday, August 20||2:00 PM ET||Detroit @ Chicago Sox||ESPN||Turnbull vs Giolito|
|Thursday, August 20||7:10 PM ET||Milwaukee @ Minnesota||FS1||Woodruff vs Berrios|
L.A. Dodgers at L.A. Angels
Friday, Aug. 14, 9:40pm ET on FS1
Both of these crosstown rivals begin their series on Friday night with players who are among the best in their respective leagues. Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts smacked three home runs in L.A.’s victory over the San Diego Padres, the sixth time he’s had a hat trick of home runs. He’s only the third player ever to hit three dingers in six different games, and he did it in his 813th game, more than 1,000 fewer than it took Hall of Famer Johnny Mize. The short version: Betts is crazy good.
Down in Anaheim, Mike Trout is flexing as well. After taking a four game break for the birth of his first child, Trout has crushed seven homers, while hitting .351 with a .919 slugging percentage. Those numbers are great even by the already preposterous standards established by the three-time AL MVP, so the series between the two Los Angeles franchises could easily turn into a solo showcase for two of the best players in all of baseball.
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Sunday, Aug. 16, 7pm ET on ESPN
Speaking of superstars, it appears the Yankees have one in Aaron Judge. The delayed start to the season allowed Judge time to heal his injured ribs and he’s responded by hitting nine homers and slugging .758 in New York’s first 17 games. While injuries have nagged at Judge’s numbers in his first few years, his injury replacement on Wednesday, Clint Frazier, had three hits, including a homer, indicating the Yankees have the depth to ride out any upcoming games he might miss with “lower-body tightness.”
Boston, meanwhile, is reeling. After getting crushed 17-8 yesterday to complete a four-game sweep at the hands of the surging Tampa Bay Rays, Boston is a cellar-dwelling 6-13 on the season. Even worse, their injured ace Chris Sale was noncommittal when asked if he would be ready for the start of next season. So it's tough times in Beantown, but beating the Yankees would be a balm.
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 8:15pm ET on FS1
While the Cubs have raced out to the best record in baseball, the Cardinals have been sitting on their keisters waiting to play. As mentioned above, a coronavirus outbreak has sidelined the team for over two weeks, and they’ll be spending an extended stretch in Chicago to make up for lost time: Between Saturday and Wednesday, the Cardinals will play eight games, including three double-headers. That punishing tempo could become the norm for the teams affected by COVID-related postponements, so it will be interesting to see how St. Louis performs over the stretch.