What's Next: Blue Jays look to keep rolling
Interleague matchups throughout baseball highlight upcoming week
Although Interleague Play is now a season-long event, it will take centerstage throughout baseball this week for the first time in 2015.
All 30 teams will open four-game Interleague sets on Monday, highlighted by the red-hot Blue Jays squaring off with the division-leading Mets. Toronto enters the series having won 11 straight games after Sunday's 11-5 victory over Boston, tied for the longest streak in the Majors this season with these same Mets, who won 11 consecutive ballgames from April 12-23.
"I don't necessarily remember that one," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of an identical 11-game winning streak the Jays rattled off in 2013. "I do know it was 11. I think that one got us back to .500 and this one got us a few over. They're all nice, it's hard to do, it really is. But things have been going our way, playing good baseball. We'll see where it takes us."
For now, it's taken the Blue Jays to within one game of the Yankees and Rays for first place in the American League East. The Mets, meanwhile, will try to snap Toronto's streak while also holding onto their slim half-game lead over the Nationals in the National League East.
Those same division races will also be front-and-center in another Interleague series, as the Rays host the Nats for two games before the series shifts to D.C. for the other two contests. Washington hopes to get Bryce Harper back in the lineup early in the week, possibly as the designated hitter with the first two games taking place in an AL ballpark. The slugger missed Sunday's contest after being hit by a pitch in the left quad on Saturday.
As for the rest of the week, Interleague Play will give way to some enticing intradivision rivalries come the weekend, particularly on the West Coast. The Dodgers, who currently lead the Giants by 3 1/2 games in the NL West, will welcome their bitter rivals for a three-game set, starting on Friday.
Prior to that series, however, the Giants will take part in one of the week's premier pitching matchups when postseason hero Madison Bumgarner starts opposite Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in a Wednesday night Interleague clash. Hernandez will be looking to bounce back after being tagged for eight runs while recording only one out Friday against the Astros.
"I just have to turn the page," Hernandez said after the worst start of his career. "Forget about this one and get ready for five days."
There will be plenty of other individual storylines worth following as well, with Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor expected to make his first Major League start on Monday night against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Lindor picked up his first big league hit in his debut Sunday, but only after entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
Lindor, MLB.com's No. 3 overall prospect, is just the latest in a string of top prospects to reach the Majors. Top overall prospect Byron Buxton and No. 2 overall prospect Carlos Correa each made their big league debuts for the Twins and Astros, respectively, this past week and will now look to continue making their marks across the Majors this week.