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5 Things: Rivalries Old And New Bring Excitement To Baseball

By Sam McPherson

Everyone loves Major League Baseball rivalries, except the fans of the team that is losing the head-to-head battles currently in those matchups. Here's what happened last week in MLB action that you might have missed.

San Francisco takes road series against Los Angeles but gets beat up in Cincinnati

The Giants went south and took of three from the Dodgers before heading to Ohio and getting throttled by the Reds in a three-game series. Of San Francisco's meager 11 wins in 2017 through May 7, four have come against Los Angeles.

It's an unwritten rule that a "Team of the Decade" never gets labeled until the end of the actual ten-year span it dominated, even if it is unlikely that any Major League Baseball team is going to match the October success of the Giants this decade. But this season, the G-Men are struggling big time. But wins over the Dodgers are still very sweet.

Astros victorious in first 2017 "Battle for Texas" with three wins over Rangers in Houston

Two seasons ago, Houston reached the postseason for the first time since 2005, and last year, it was Texas' turn to play in October as the Rangers won the American League West. This season, however, the tables have turned once again in the Longhorn State.

The Astros now reside in first place among AL West teams with a 5.5-game lead in the division, while the Rangers are in last place—a whopping eight games behind their in-state and division rivals already.

A's get a little payback for 2006, 2012 and 2013 postseason losses to Detroit

It's never the same as an October matchup, but when Oakland pulled two walk-off wins out of its hat over the weekend at the Coliseum against the Detroit Tigers, there were a lot of A's fans smiling.

Detroit swept Oakland in the 2006 AL Championship Series before knocking the A's out in Game Five of the AL Division Series two seasons in a row (2012, 2013). Rosters may change, but fans never forget in Oakland.

Bronx Bombers live up to their name against the Blue Jays

The New York Yankees have the best record in baseball right now, and a large part of it is due to their prodigious offense, which leads the AL in scoring this season so far. Last Tuesday, Toronto found out just why.

Five home runs from three players—including two each by Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge—left the Blue Jays reeling in last place among AL East teams, after they reached the ALCS in both 2015 and 2016.

Stephen Strasburg can go deep, too

The Washington Nationals have the best record in the National League, and Strasburg won his third game of the season while lowering his ERA to 2.66 on the year with 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. But his bat did some loud talking as well.

His second career HR went 404 feet, as the Nats won the game, 4-2. He's just a .153 career hitter, but he now has 16 career RBI to go along with his 72 wins on the mound. Strasburg did hit .277 in 2012 to win the Silver Slugger Award, by the way.

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