Week Ahead: No-hitter watch and power shift out West

Four things to look forward to this week:

Stephen Strasburg could have his most difficult test so far in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Stephen Strasburg could have his most difficult test so far in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

1. Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Anibal Sanchez, Monday night. Any time Jimenez pitches, a no-hitter could happen. As Rockies manager Jim Tracy, says, "He’s going to do it again and he’s going to do it more than once." This outing in South Florida has a little more no-hitter history working for it: Both Jimenez and Sanchez have pitched no-hitters that were caught by Miguel Olivo and had Jeff Kellogg as the home-plate umpire. And guess what? Word is, Kellogg will be behind the plate Monday night.

2. Stephen Strasburg vs. the Reds, Wednesday night. Nothing like bringing the game’s hottest name to one of the NL’s hottest spots. Cincinnati sizzled all weekend, and we’re not talking only about the weather. The Reds celebrated the 20-year reunion of their 1990 World Championship team with huge — and loud — crowds. Judging by the way the crowd was yelling in the eighth inning of a tight game on Friday night, Cincinnati is ready for a winner. Strasburg should be in for his toughest test to date: The Reds have the NL’s highest-scoring offense.

3. Angels at Rangers, Thursday-Sunday. By this time next week, the Rangers could be very well on their way to unseating the Angels. Texas has a 3.5-game lead over LA and a much better lineup. The Rangers already have traded for Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina, meaning some club is going to have to make some shrewd moves to beat out Texas for the unofficial title of "biggest winner at the trade deadline." And guess who starts for the home team on Thursday? Lee, who still will be looking for his first win as a Ranger. The Angels have managed to stay in second mainly because of their 10-3 domination of last-place Seattle.

4. A big trade. It’s that time of year, right? How about Prince Fielder to the Rays? Doesn’t make sense. How about to the White Sox? Kenny Williams went for it last year by acquiring Alex Rios and Jake Peavy, and the White Sox GM is not the type to shy away because of Peavy’s season-ending injury. With Paul Konerko a free agent after the season, Williams could find some money to keep Fielder around for at least another year.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

Four things to look forward to this week:

Stephen Strasburg could have his most difficult test so far in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Stephen Strasburg could have his most difficult test so far in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

1. Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Anibal Sanchez, Monday night. Any time Jimenez pitches, a no-hitter could happen. As Rockies manager Jim Tracy, says, "He’s going to do it again and he’s going to do it more than once." This outing in South Florida has a little more no-hitter history working for it: Both Jimenez and Sanchez have pitched no-hitters that were caught by Miguel Olivo and had Jeff Kellogg as the home-plate umpire. And guess what? Word is, Kellogg will be behind the plate Monday night.

2. Stephen Strasburg vs. the Reds, Wednesday night. Nothing like bringing the game’s hottest name to one of the NL’s hottest spots. Cincinnati sizzled all weekend, and we’re not talking only about the weather. The Reds celebrated the 20-year reunion of their 1990 World Championship team with huge — and loud — crowds. Judging by the way the crowd was yelling in the eighth inning of a tight game on Friday night, Cincinnati is ready for a winner. Strasburg should be in for his toughest test to date: The Reds have the NL’s highest-scoring offense.

3. Angels at Rangers, Thursday-Sunday. By this time next week, the Rangers could be very well on their way to unseating the Angels. Texas has a 3.5-game lead over LA and a much better lineup. The Rangers already have traded for Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina, meaning some club is going to have to make some shrewd moves to beat out Texas for the unofficial title of "biggest winner at the trade deadline." And guess who starts for the home team on Thursday? Lee, who still will be looking for his first win as a Ranger. The Angels have managed to stay in second mainly because of their 10-3 domination of last-place Seattle.

4. A big trade. It’s that time of year, right? How about Prince Fielder to the Rays? Doesn’t make sense. How about to the White Sox? Kenny Williams went for it last year by acquiring Alex Rios and Jake Peavy, and the White Sox GM is not the type to shy away because of Peavy’s season-ending injury. With Paul Konerko a free agent after the season, Williams could find some money to keep Fielder around for at least another year.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

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