With two full months of Major League Baseball in the books, we’re starting to get a really good idea of which teams will maintain their past dominance, which teams are faltering, and which teams are proving to be pleasant surprises for their fanbases. June is typically an extremely telling month when it comes to figuring out how the season could end up, so here are some of the best games to get the first real month of started.

washington nationals at atlanta braves, friday, june 1 @ 7:35 pm est on masn-2 and fsso

Pitching matchup: Stephen Strasburg (6-4, 3.13 ERA) vs Mike Foltynewicz (4-3, 2.55 ERA)

It’s really tough to believe, but the Atlanta Braves are sitting atop the NL East at the start of June and it looks like they’ve moved out of the “pretender” phase and are turning into a legit contender in the National League. They’ve have dramatic turnarounds on both the offensive and defensive ends, currently ranking 4th in runs scored after being 21st in 2017 and 10th in ERA after ranking 24th last season. They’ve been bolstered by yet another excellent campaign from first baseman Freddie Freeman, a rejuvenated outfielder in 34-year-old Nick Markakis, who is on pace for his best season yet out of his 12-year career, and the surprising emergence of 21-year-old second baseman Ozzie Albies, who currently ranks 6th in baseball in extra base hits. Only a half-game behind Atlanta, Washington has gone 8-2 over their last 10 games despite somewhat of a slump from superstar outfielder Bryce Harper, which has played a big factor in them being ranked 14th in runs scored after finishing 2017 in 6th. Their pitching has been masterful, however, as they rank behind only the Astros in ERA this season. Interestingly enough, both of these teams have a better record away than they do at home, so it’ll be compelling to see how that plays out.

Predicted winner: Nationals

boston red sox at houston astros , friday, june 1 @ 8:10 pm est on mlb network (out of market), nesn, and att Sportsnet-sw

Pitching matchup: Chris Sale (5-2, 2.76 ERA) vs Gerrit Cole (5-1,  2.05 ERA)

What’s better than a game featuring two of the hottest pitchers in baseball? A game where both of those respective players’ teams are division leaders and amongst the elite clubs in the Majors. Boston has scored the most runs out of all 30 MLB teams this season and Houston has the lowest ERA, which alone makes this series a must watch. Along with Cole, Houston will be sending Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton, who have both been elite pitchers so far in 2017, to the mound to face the Red Sox over the weekend, but Sale is easily Boston’s best pitcher and a perennial Cy Young candidate. Sale’s pitching will be vital against the Astros, as they also among the league’s best offenses, as he gives the Red Sox the best chance of outscoring Houston, even though this will likely be a low-scoring affair.

Predicted winner: Red Sox

cleveland indians at minnesota twins, friday, june 1 @ 8:10 pm est on sportstime ohio and fsno

Pitching matchup: Carlos Carrasco (6-3, 3.98 ERA) vs Jose Berrios (5-5, 3.67 ERA)

After a mediocre first month-and-a-half of the season (by their standards, at least) Cleveland is finally looking like their old selves again, going 8-2 in their last 10 games and riding a 6-game win streak going into Friday. Over the course of those 8 wins, the Indians scored less than 8 runs only once, making it so that their average runs scored per game was nearly double the amount of runs scored against them. However, those two losses were ugly, as they lost to Houston 8-2 and 11-2 in consecutive games. They’re coming off a one-run series-opening victory against Minnesota, which was won by an 8th inning home run by shortstop Francisco Lindor, but they’ll be running into one of the most promising young arms in baseball in Minnesota’s Jose Berrios. After having a nice April, Berrios went backwards a bit in May. This game could give us a hint as to which of the first two months of the season June might resemble.

Predicted winner: Indians

tampa bay rays at seattle mariners, saturday, june 2 @ 10:10 pm est on fox sports sun and rootnw

Pitching matchup: Chris Archer (3-3, 4.29 ERA) vs Marco Gonzales (5-3, 3.60 ERA)

Wanna hear something weird? Since Robinson Cano, the cornerstone of Seattle’s offense, was issued his 80-game suspension due to a drug violation on May 15, the Mariners have garnered a record of 11-5 and propelled themselves into the second Wild Card spot in the American League. Granted they’ve been successful mainly on the backs of their pitching, but still, when arguably your best offensive player is taken out of the team, your success is most likely going to decline. It’ll be interesting to see how this series against the Rays goes for Seattle, as Tampa has been surprisingly decent this season in the tough AL East, sitting at just above .500. Perhaps the Rays’ biggest concern during the first month of the season was Chris Archer’s production, as the 29-year-old was set to be their ace only to post a miserable 6.75 ERA in April. However, he’s managed to bounce back something fierce, posting a 2.33 ERA over the course of May. So, who’s gonna stay hotter in this one: Archer or the Mariners? It’ll be interesting to find out.

Predicted winner: Mariners

chicago cubs at new york mets, sunday, june 3 @ 1:10 est on mlb network (out of market), abc-7 (cubs), and wpix (mets)

Pitching matchup: Jon Lester (5-2, 2.71 ERA) vs Steven Matz (2-3, 3.55 ERA)

Here’s a matchup between two teams on entirely different trajectories, as the Cubs keep rising up the standings while the Mets continue to fall after getting off to a hot start. With the Mets’ key strength being their starting pitching, ace Noah Syndergaard going on the DL was the exact opposite of what they needed in order to get back on their feet. Thankfully for New York, though, they have their other two best arms taking the mound against the Cubs this weekend in Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. And they’re going to need to perform too, as Chicago boasts the 6th-highest run total in baseball as of right now. Sunday’s game will feature Matz going up against Cubs ace Jon Lester, who has been excellent this season, making for a very exciting series finale.

Predicted winner: Cubs

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