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Divisional warfare resumes

Jul 17, 2001 6:07 AM

   Inter-league games end this week. Now teams can wage war on one another for the right to make the playoffs.

   Inter-division play will be the highlight of the remainder of the season. Minnesota, the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia are still hanging around the top of their respective divisions. Seattle is a shoe-in, while the Yankees are struggling along with Atlanta, Cleveland and Los Angeles. Arizona and Houston are in great shape, however, it all boils down to head to head games.

   Games for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

   Dodgers at Rockies: Dodger pitching is in a shambles with injuries and limited capability, especially when on the road. Rockies are a disappointment at home and on the road. Mike Hampton can win one at home. The other games are up for grabs with Coors Field and light air deciding the rest.

   Diamondbacks at Giants: It’s about time for the Giants to make their move. Giants are another bad road team and must make hay on this homestand. It’s no bargain facing Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. Shawn Estes wins one for the Giants and Kirk Reuter wins another.

   Mets at Phillies: The Mets, having turned their game around, makes for a dangerous foe. The Phillies are hanging by their teeth and could fall down. Glendon Rusch has been one terrific pitcher of late, but has been less than average away from New York. Going with Al Leiter and Kevin Appier to slow Phils down.

   Expos at Braves: The Braves express is rolling and Expos are not one to stop them, though their play has improved. Greg Maddux is on a roll and Tom Glavine has been picking up the slack. Atlanta is good for a couple of victories.

   Reds at Marlins: The Reds down season should pick up when those late-year salary drives start. Cincinnati pitching is a wreck. Marlins still have eyes on a playoff spot. Time is short. Marlins, with A.J. Burnett and Chuck Smith, grab a couple of wins.

   Cubs at Astros: Series could make or break the Cubs, though its not crucial at this time. Disaster could have a devastating effect on the Cubs, who feel they are snake bit. Chicago pitching may not be enough to hold up in homer friendly Enron Field. Astros outslug Cubs to win two games behind Wade Miller and Shane Reynolds.

   Pirates at Cardinals: Cards are another team slowed by injuries and must get their act together or the season is lost. Pirates are too far gone and a good team for Cards face. However, going with Todd Ritchie and Jimmy Anderson to further Cards misery.

   Brewers at Padres: The Padres, once in the thick of the fight, have fallen far behind. However, they can play the role of spoilers to the hilt. Unfortunate part of the situation is the future settlement of winning one for now. Jimmy Haynes and Jamey Wright win two for the visitors.

   Red Sox at White Sox: Red Sox visit Chicago at a bad time. White Sox making noise about a playoff spot while Boston has a laundry list of injuries. This makes for tough decisions about who is going to play and where. Kip Wells and Mark Buerhle are pitching great and good for two wins.

   Tigers at Indians: The Indians are at war with Minnesota for the top of the AL Central. Cleveland has had problems with Tigers the last couple of occasions. More of the same is in store here. Going with Jeff Weaver and Chris Holt to win for Detroit.

   Rangers at Devil Rays: The Rangers are a major disappointment in 2001. A team with pennant aspirations will be lucky to escape the AL West cellar. The Devil Rays have upgraded their game since All Star break and will offer no remedy to the Rangers. Albie Lopez and Bryan Rekar should win their starts for Tampa Bay.

   Blue Jays at Yankees: The Yankees have hit a wall since the All Star break with no help in sight. Blue Jays were pesky versus New York earlier in the season and could deal more of the same trouble. Yanks will try to get by with Roger Clemens and Todd Lilly here. Lots of luck.

   Angels at Orioles: The Angels, at season’s beginning, thought they could win the West. Seattle chilled that thought in a hurry, Angels playing for respectability now. Scott Schoenweiss and Ramon Ortiz go the extra mile for Anaheim.

   Mariners at Twins: Wouldn’t it be great for baseball if these two teams met for the A.L. pennant? The networks wouldn’t be too happy. Great pitching should be the order of the day. In this homerdome, however, runs will overcome that good pitching. Great series with great pairings forecasted here. Brad Radke and Freddy Garcia in one matchup and Paul Abbott and Kyle Lohse in another. Going with Garcia over Radke and Lohse over Abbott.

   A’s at Royals: A’s, making a belated run at the wild card spot, take on a Royals team that has improved since mid-June. A’s have long way to go to grab Wild Card rung. Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson take steps in that direction.