MLB is back, and the second half will start on Friday.
Several teams are fighting for Wild Card spots, and most divisions remain undecided.
Here are the three most important MLB series to be played this weekend.
3. Milwaukee Brewers Vs. Cincinnati Reds
The Milwaukee Brewers have been the best and most consistent team in the National League Central division the whole season, with a 53-39 record in the first half.
However, they don’t have the division locked up yet despite having a four-game advantage over the second-place team, the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds are 48-42 and peaking at the right time, winning eight of their last 10 games.
Both teams played a four-game series over the weekend, and the Reds took three of the four matchups.
— Ron Clements (@Ron_Clements) July 15, 2021
If the Reds manage to sweep the series, which they will play at home, they will finish the weekend only one game behind the Brewers.
There are still lots of emotions left to feel in this particular division, and both the Reds and the Brewers are talented enough to take this race to the wire.
2. Seattle Mariners Vs. Los Angeles Angels
The Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels are very far from the division-leading Houston Astros (the M’s are 7.0 games back while the Angels are 9.0) but a Wild Card spot is actually within reach.
The Mariners are only 3.5 games behind the owner of the second Wild Card spot, the Oakland A’s, and the Angels are not far behind at 5.5.
Both teams could theoretically make a push if they enjoy best-case scenarios all around their rosters, but they need to start this weekend.
The Mariners are fresh off winning the weekend series 2-1, and promoted top prospect Jarred Kelenic to give him another long look in the majors.
If the Mariners manage to sweep, they will put even more pressure on the Athletics.
On the other hand, winning the series is a must for Los Angeles, as they try to make up some ground before Mike Trout returns.
1. New York Yankees Vs. Boston Red Sox
The New York Yankees, as of the moment of writing this piece, will face their arch rivals, the Boston Red Sox, amid a COVID-19 outbreak.
So far, six Yankees player have tested positive for the virus in the last two days: Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Kyle Higashioka, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta will all go on the COVID IL and miss the series.
MLB maintains that the series will be played, however, starting on Friday night.
As of now, as the great @Enrique_Rojas1 said, the Yankees and Red Sox are expected to play today after six COVID-19 positives waylaid New York on Thursday. In testing since, no new positive cases, sources tell ESPN. Still another round of testing to get through this afternoon.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 16, 2021
The matchup is extremely important for the Bronx Bombers, as they are currently third in the American League East but far from Boston, at 8.0 games back.
The Wild Card race represents a better chance of contending for the inconsistent Yankees, but they are 4.5 out of it and will need to string together some wins to make up some ground.
Playing against Boston has been a pain for the Yankees all year, as the Red Sox have swept both series they have played this season.
They will need to defend their home, Yankee Stadium, this weekend in a pivotal series without their best player (Judge) their starting third baseman (Urshela), a key reliever (Loaisiga), and an up-and-coming starter (Cortes), among others.