Tuesday, July 23, 2024
MLB

MLB Weekly Wrap-up: April 12-18

Twitter: @Dodgers

Another week of baseball is in the books, and what a week it was! There were many season-defining moments and lots of great individual performances. Let’s dive in to what made the headlines in baseball this week.

Indians-White Sox

Each game of this four game set were wild in their own way. It was the first matchup of the two division rivals this season, and it looks to be a rivalry to watch for the rest of the season.

In Game 1, the Sox headed into the bottom of the ninth tied with Cleveland 3-3. With runners at first and second, outfielder Nick Williams hit a soft ground ball to first baseman Yu Chang, who hits the runner Yasmani Grandal heading to second right on the helmet with his throw, which makes the ball roll into shallow left field, scoring Nick Madrigal to win the game.

The second game of the series had arguably the best pitching matchup of the season so far, with reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber going up against Lucas Giolito. The matchup lived up to the hype, as both aces pitched absolute gems. Giolito pitched 7 shutout innings of 3-hit baseball with 8 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Bieber went 9 shutout innings of 3-hit baseball while striking out 11. The game went into extra innings, where Cleveland would pull through in the 10th to win 2-0.

Game 3 of the series is the one that caught the eyes of the whole sports world. White Sox starter Carlos Rodon tossed the second no-hitter of the 2021 season, and was nearly perfect until he plunked Roberto Perez with one out in the 9th. Rodon almost lost the no-hitter in the 9th right before the Perez HBP, when Cleveland’s right fielder Josh Naylor slid head first into first base on a very close play, which caused some controversy within the baseball community and started some beef between the two teams. The Sox won 8-0, with Rodon punching out seven along with the no-no.

The final game of the series had some electricity in the first inning, when the benches cleared after Adam Eaton had some conflict with Cleveland’s shortstop Andres Gimenez, as his tag at second pushed Eaton off the bag. It seemed like an overreaction from Eaton, and it possibly could’ve been frustration built up from the game before due to Naylor’s slide into first. After that, the Sox had a 1-0 lead going into the 6th, where Jose Ramirez would hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run to give the Indians the lead. Cleveland would not look back, going on to win 4-2 to split the series. The two teams match up again starting Tuesday for a short two game set in Cleveland.

Dodgers-Padres

The most anticipated matchup of the 2021 season had its first three rounds this weekend, and not only did it live up to expectations, it exceeded them.

Game one was a very sloppy slugfest, as both teams combined for 6 errors. This was also the first game off the IL for superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. after a shoulder injury he suffered just under two weeks ago. In his second at-bat back, Tatis took a 2-1 fastball from Walker Buehler to dead center to give the Padres a 2-1 lead. The Dodgers would take the lead in the 6th and held onto it until the 8th, when Jurickson Profar hit a 2-RBI double to knot it up at 5-5. Justin Turner quickly got the lead back in the 9th on an RBI single, but the baserunning of Manny Machado and the clutch hitting of Eric Hosmer brought this game to extras. There’d be no scoring until the 12th, when Corey Seager hit a go ahead 2-run home run. The Dodgers kept piling on, scoring 5 in the 12th, including a sac fly by David Price hit to the left fielder Joe Musgrove (a pitcher) off of Jake Cronenworth (a position player). San Diego couldn’t follow it up in the bottom half and lost 11-6.

Game two was a great pitching duel between former teammates Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish. Kershaw went 6 shutout innings while Darvish went 7, allowing one run on a bases-loaded walk to Kershaw. Justin Turner added insurance in the 9th with a solo blast, leaving San Diego in a 2-0 hole going into the bottom of the ninth. The Padres were in business with two outs and the tying run on second, when Tommy Pham hit a sharp line drive to right center that looked to tie the game, until Mookie Betts came flying in from center to make a catch on a ball that had a 10% catch probability to win the game for Los Angeles.

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The final game of the series came down to two former Cy Young winners in Trevor Bauer and Blake Snell. Bauer went 6 innings allowing 1 run, while Snell went 5 allowing 2. Eric Hosmer played hero once again, driving in the tying run in the 7th on an RBI double and an RBI single in the 8th for the lead. Tommy Pham added some insurance on a 2-RBI double immediately after, and Mark Melancon would lock down the save to avoid a sweep in the series. While it’s unfortunate this series had to end, luckily these two will match up again next weekend in Los Angeles, with the final game being ESPN’s Sunday Night game.

Ronald Acuña Jr.

While the Braves as a whole have gotten off to a rough start, Ronald Acuña Jr. has been nothing short of great to start off the season. Since beating out a routine infield groundout and going deep on Sunday Night Baseball last week, Acuña has been on a tear. He’s slashed ,385/.515 /.846 with 3 home runs and a 0.920 WPA in 7 games. It’s going to be fun to see if he can keep it up and compete for an MVP, as he has looked like a real contender so far.

Jacob deGrom

To no one’s surprise, deGrom pitched another gem, this time against the Colorado Rockies. deGrom nearly tied the Major League record for consecutive strikeouts (10 is the record, held by Tom Seaver), setting down 9 Rockies in a row. While he allowed 3 runs including a homer, they went unearned due to a throwing error by Jeff McNeil. It’s hard to believe that deGrom has looked the best he’s ever been after winning back-to-back Cy Young’s in ’18 and ’19, but he has. In his age-32 season, he’s averaging 98.9 MPH on his fastball, which is the highest of his career and second highest in Major League Baseball, behind only Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase. This might be one of the best pitching primes we’ve ever seen, and it’s an absolute blast to watch.

Willson Contreras vs. The Milwaukee Brewers

In the first matchup of the season between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was the root of a bench-clearing incident in the final game of that series after taking offense to a hit-by-pitch by Brad Boxberger. Contreras has been plunked 6 times so far in this young season, which built up some frustration for another bench-clearing incident in the second series between the two teams. However, Contreras would get his revenge later in the game when he hit a go-ahead 2 run home run in the 8th to give the Cubs a 3-2 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday. That game must’ve sparked a flame within Contreras, as he’s hit 3 home runs since and has been carrying a rather deflated Chicago lineup.

Struggles in the Bronx

To everyone’s surprise, the New York Yankees currently own the worst record in the American League at 5-10. The Bronx Bombers went 1-6 this week, and more importantly got swept by their division rival Tampa Bay Rays. Fans and players alike have been noticeably upset, as fans threw baseballs onto the field on Friday and cursed out Rays players after Sunday’s loss. However, all of this will likely end up being an overreaction. The Yankees are still a World Series favorite despite the slow start and will eventually get back into their groove. For now though, it’s fun to see the Yankees be basement dwellers for the first time in decades.

Jay Bruce

Before Sunday’s game, outfielder Jay Bruce announced that it’d be the last game of his career. Bruce didn’t get an AB in his last Major League game, as he sat on the bench to watch his team lose, 4-2 to the Rays. Bruce made the Yankees roster out of spring training as an experiment at first base due to the injury to Luke Voit. The experiment didn’t work out, as he was a liability at first and struggled at the plate. Bruce finished his 14-year career with the Reds, Mets, Indians, Mariners, Phillies, and Yankees with 3 All-Star appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers, and a .244/.314/.467 slash line with 319 home runs.

What To Watch Next Week

There’s plenty of matchups between playoff contenders this week. To start of the week, we have Brewers-Padres, followed up with the start of Twins-A’s and Braves-Yankees Tuesday. Most notably however is the weekend series between the Padres and Dodgers. Currently the best rivalry in baseball, it will have its second series after the amazing one that just happened. We will have to see if the tension is still as high as last time and to look out for another bench-clearing incident. It’ll undoubtedly be fun. I can’t wait to experience it and hope you find the time to experience it too.