The Game Planner, May 8th-14th

The first edition of the British Fan’s Game Planner proved to be an excellent illustration of the perils of trying to plan a baseball viewing schedule in advance, as Corey Kluber went on the DL, Zack Greinke ended up pitching on Friday instead of against Max Scherzer on Thursday, and Jose Berrios wasn’t called up at all. Nonetheless, most of the games still took place, and many of them were good, so I hope you got to watch some of them.

If you’re new to the planner and are wondering how the games are selected, or why certain contests are highlighted, I’d recommend checking out the first edition for the full explanation. On to this week’s UK-friendly games.

Watchable Games

Monday, May 8th

None

Tuesday, May 9th

8:40 PM – Rangers @ Padres – It has not been a good month for the reigning AL West champions, as they sit in last place in their division and have now lost key starter Cole Hamels for around two months to an oblique strain. The good news is that the interleague schedule means they’ll get to take on one of the league’s worst teams on both sides of the ball in the Padres. You can read more on San Diego’s woes in Tom’s ‘Tuckin’ Hell’ series.

Wednesday, May 10th

6:05 PM – Mariners @ Phillies
6:10 PM – Giants @ Mets
7:10 PM – Braves @ Astros
8:10 PM – Cubs @ Rockies
8:35 PM – Angels @ A’s  – It’s not always easy to see the best player in the game live, with the Angels playing on the West Coast, but when given the opportunity it’s always a good idea to watch Mike Trout play. In Oakland, Yonder Alonso is the latest player to decide to hit more fly balls, and his .311/.386/.667 slash line represents some extremely positive early returns.  With the Rangers struggling and most of the Mariners rotation on the DL, both of these teams will also want to take advantage of a potential wild card opportunity, as well as putting pressure on the Astros.

Thursday, May 11th

6:10 PM – Red Sox @ Brewers
6:10 PM – Royals @ Rays – 34-year-old Jason Vargas was certainly not expected to be one of the league’s best pitchers, but six starts into the season he has a 1.19 ERA and 35 strikeouts to just 7 walks in 37 2/3 innings. The Rays are also the most strikeout-prone team in baseball. Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi will get a shot at a Royals team that has been the worst in the league thus far, but has shown some signs of life with first baseman Eric Hosmer heating up lately.

Friday, May 12th

None

Saturday, May 13th

6:05 PM – Astros @ Yankees (Top Offensive Matchup)The two best lineups in the American League right now face off in a weekend series. Aaron Judge continues to hit the ball as hard as anyone in the game, with Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday and even the surprising Aaron Hicks also swinging hot bats. The Astros are getting production from almost the entire lineup, featuring the likes of Jose Altuve and George Springer, but it’s utility man Marwin Gonzalez who has come out of nowhere to lead the team with an incredible 191 wRC+ after nine home runs in just 86 plate appearances.
6:07 PM – Mariners @ Blue Jays
9:05 PM – Cubs @ Cardinals
9:05 PM – Reds @ Giants – The performances of these two teams have been almost the exact opposite of their preseason expectations. Cincinnati swept San Francisco over the weekend to maintain their lead in the NL Central, while the Bumgarner-less Giants look like they might be the worst team in the league. If they can’t turn it around this week, first against a team with worse injury luck, the Mets, and then against this lacklustre Reds rotation, expect the Giants to start thinking about moving the likes of Johnny Cueto. The Reds are a fun team to watch right now if you like home runs, and Billy Hamilton is spectacular to watch on the basepaths and in the outfield, if not at the plate.
9:10 PM – Minnesota @ Cleveland

Sunday, May 14th

1:07 PM – Mariners @ Blue Jays
1:10 PM – Braves @ Marlins
1:10 PM – Twins @ Indians
1:35 PM – Phillies @ Nationals
1:35 PM – Rays @ Red Sox
2:10 PM – Mets @ Brewers
2:10 PM – Padres @ White Sox
2:15 PM – Orioles @ Royals
2:15 PM – Cubs @ Cardinals (Top Pitching Matchup) Jake Arrieta‘s 4.63 ERA obscures the fact that he has the best strikeout rate of his career and a walk rate that almost matches his exceptional 2015 season. Carlos Martinez can struggle with control but strikes out hitters at a similarly elite rate and it helps that he can blow the ball past them at 100mph. The Cards will be hoping to keep the pressure up on the stuttering Cubs, who look a long way from their 103-win level of 2016.
3:05 PM – Athletics @ Rangers
3:10 PM – Dodgers @ Rockies (Free Game)the only MLB.tv free game that is on during our watchable window features the favourites for the NL West against the early front-runners. Rookie Cody Bellinger has been a revelation for a Dodgers lineup that was struggling offensively before his arrival, hitting 5 homers in his first 11 games. Despite the best efforts of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, Colorado’s pitchers have surprisingly provided more value than their hitters, with Greg Holland and Adam Ottavino leading a revitalised bullpen and a couple of surprising names boosting the rotation in the form of Antonio Senzatela and this game’s projected starter, Kyle Freeland.
3:37 PM – Tigers @ Angels
4:05 PM – Reds @ Giants
4:10 PM – Pirates @ D-backs

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