The Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds meet up for a three-game series this weekend at the Great American Ball Park

Toronto Blue Jays at Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds lead the National League by scoring 4.9 runs per game

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The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs are set to open a three-game Interleague series Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field

New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs

The New York Yankees have a Major League-best 18-3 daytime record

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The Windy City has two teams going in opposite directions heading into the series finale.

Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox

The Chicago Cubs fell 3-2 to their crosstown rivals on Saturday afternoon, but things remained positive in the clubhouse afterwards.  “Today was a little different,” starting pitcher Carlos Silva said.  “Today I saw a team out there.”  Manager Lou Piniella’s squad held a pregame meeting before the game, allowing the manager and players to move forward following pitcher Carlos Zambrano’s suspension.  Yesterday’s defeat was the 39th game of the season decided by two or fewer runs, including the 28th one-run game (11-17).  Today is the final game of a 15-game stretch against the American League (5-9) with the team’s designated hitter managing to hit just .100 on the road in interleague play.  The Cubs are batting .193 and scoring 1.2 runs per game while dropping four of their last five games.  Despite the downtrodden season, Piniella’s club has only been swept once in a three-game series.

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The Braves look to remain red-hot and complete the interleague sweep, but the road underdog has an ace up its sleeve.

Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves

Detroit was in control of Saturday’s contest against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, but one pitch in the seventh inning changed that in a hurry.  Relief pitcher Joel Zumaya gave up two walks in the inning before Braves 3B Chipper Jones sent a fastball into the right-center field bleachers to give the home team a 4-3 victory.  The Tigers are now 10-7 in interleague play (+280) and 1-4 on its current road trip that has sent them to New York (1-2) and Atlanta (0-2).  First baseman Miguel Cabrera was the lone bright spot in the defeat, hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning to tie Toronto’s Jose Bautista for the MLB-lead (20).  He came into the game hitting .356 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI on the road this season.

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The Dodgers are in desperate need of a victory against an AL opponent, with manager Joe Torre facing the Yankees in front of a national audience.

New York Yankees at Los Angeles Dodgers

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The best home team in Major League Baseball hopes to get today’s starter his first win of the season.

Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves

Detroit finds itself in a precarious spot this weekend, as they play the hottest home team in the majors.  The Tigers are a disappointing 14-22 on the road this season (-760), but still must be respected with a 10-6 mark in interleague play (+380).  In fact, the club has compiled a 62-26 record (.705) against the National League since 2006, which is the best winning percentage in baseball over that span.  OF Magglio Ordonez has been a big reason for the team’s success this time of year, hitting .335 with 36 home runs and 148 RBI during his career in interleague action.  He stands third among active major leaguers in batting average in that category.  Detroit’s record stands at 21-11 during the day this season (+920), led by a pitching staff hast has compiled a 3.40 ERA over those 32 games.

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The free-falling Rays hope to bounce back after being a victim of a no-hitter last night, as they send out their star left-hander.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Tampa Bay Rays

Arizona won a thrilling 1-0 contest over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, highlighted by the second no-hitter in franchise history.  Diamondbacks SP Edwin Jackson was far from perfect in the contest, issuing eight walks, but it will go down as the fourth no-hitter of the year in the Majors Leagues.  “Besides going to the World Series and maybe my MLB debut, this is one of the most memorable moments I’ve ever had,” Jackson said.  On a side note, brothers Justin and B.J. Upton faced each other for the first time on Friday night.  Justin went 2-for-3 with a walk and B.J. went 0-for-2 with a walk.  The Diamondbacks have still lost 15 of their last 17 road games and trail in this all-time series, 7-3.  Since 2004, the D-Back’s 42 interleague wins are tied for the second-fewest over that span behind only the Pirates (31-65).

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Mets 3B David Wright looks to continue terrorizing American League pitchers in Game 2 of this interleague series.

Minnesota Twins at New York Mets

Minnesota has now lost four straight games for the first time this season, but manager Ron Gardenhire is not one to panic, “These guys are feeling it a bit right now, they’re disappointed.  It’s a long season and we’ve got to keep grinding.”  The Twins are 2-5 on its current road trip and have gone 8-17 in their last 25 games away from Target Field.  The starting rotation has struggled on the road, posting a 17-20 record and 5.49 ERA compared to a 23-13 mark and 3.37 ERA at home.  The Twins face former teammate Johan Santana this afternoon, as they were 3-0 with him on the mound versus the Mets during his tenure in Minnesota.  The club is a disappointing 7-9 in interleague action (-260), but has still posted the third-best all-time mark at 139-105 against the NL.

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Two teams that have flourished this month due to interleague play are set to battle in a three-game series.

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Angels

Colorado finished its recent six-game home stand with a 4-2 record, after suffering a 13-11 loss to the Boston Red Sox last night.  The Rockies now have a 8-4 interleague mark heading to face the red-hot Los Angeles Angels (+440).  “That’s a real good team that’s generating some steam for itself, and doing it in a similar fashion that we’re doing it in that they’re not at full strength right now,” manager Jim Tracy said.  He’s referring to the fact that the Angels have been playing without 1B Kendry Morales and his club has been missing star SS Troy Tulowitzki to a broken wrist since June 17.  Colorado has lost 14 of their past 18 meetings with the Halos.

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The South Siders are the hottest team in baseball and look to finish off a 15-game interleague stretch in style.

Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox

Manager Lou Piniella’s team picked up a 3-2 road victory in 13 innings over the Seattle Mariners, in one of those games that may jumpstart the season.  “I’m hoping we’re going to put together a run,” outfielder Marlon Byrd said after the game.  The Cubs are now 7-8 during interleague play this year (-110) and are set to play the 13th game of a 15-game stretch against the American League this afternoon.  The pitching staff has tallied a 3.69 ERA this month, fifth-best in the National League, but the offense has failed to deliver.  Chicago has scored three or fewer runs in 12 games and two or fewer in eight contests this month.

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