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MLB Tipsheet: Big series on the Cards

St Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals know they need a good series this week
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With five weeks of the regular season left every playoff chasing team knows what they have to do. Ben Steele previews tonight's action, including a potentially crucial National League series.

The 22-year-old launches a home run every three and a half hits and boasts a .344 batting average, unprecedented numbers for just about anybody, let alone for a rookie.

Rays solid defence will carry them to victory

Seattle Mariners @ Tampa Bay Rays
Tuesday 00:10 BST

The Tampa Bay Rays host the Seattle Mariners hoping to consolidate their position in the wildcard race. Tampa are a victim of the fact they are in the same division as the New York Yankees and, in a top heavy American League, they will need to keep winning games if they are to make it to October.

The Rays have been an exceptional defensive team this term and that will almost certainly be enough to give them the edge over a Mariners side who have won just 18 of their 63 games against teams with a winning record. The Rays don't have many offensive stars but they are a solid batting unit who know that just a couple of runs can be enough for their pitching staff to defend. The Rays should win a low scoring game tonight.

Cards set to make it a sorry return of Davies

Milwaukee Brewers @ St Louis Cardinals
Tuesday 00:45 BST

The National League Central division is arguably the most competitive in baseball. There are three teams with 60+ wins and two of them go head-to-head tonight, as the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals begin a four game series that could help define the 2019 season.

The Cardinals will fancy their chances of success against Brewers' pitcher Zach Davies. The 26-year-old is recovering from a two week injury layoff and struggled with control in his last three starts. With Davies not at his best the Brewers will need star man, Christian Yelich, to continue his impressive form when facing Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson. Yelich is a career .400 hitter against Hudson in his career and he'll need more of that tonight. Expect a tight game but the Cardinals, with home field advantage and facing a struggling pitcher, will be slight favourites.

Alvarez adds bat to Astros pitching dominance

Detroit Tigers @ Houston Astros
Tuesday 01:10 BST

In multiple previews this season I've highlighted the exceptional pitching rotation available to the Houston Astros but as the baseball season enters the final stretch, Houston seem to have found themselves a batting star. Cuban Yordan Alvarez has appeared in just 53 games this season but is hitting at an All-Star level.

The 22-year-old launches a home run every three and a half hits and boasts a .344 batting average, unprecedented numbers for just about anybody, let alone for a rookie. With the likes of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and George Springer hitting around him, Alvarez is a man that opposing pitchers have to take on, and he seems to relish that. Facing a terrible Tigers side, the Astros should win comfortably and Alvarez could become one of the fastest players to 20 home runs in MLB history.

Ben Steele,

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