Last Week in Baseball: April 2 – April 8

Over the course of a 162 game campaign, a lot can happen. We don’t expect you to see everything that unfolds over the course of each week of the MLB season. Last week in baseball will serve as your guide to everything notable that happened over the course of the previous week of games.

From walk-offs to sweeps, outstanding individual performances to players suffering through a slump, we’ve got you covered. So without further ado, here’s our first look back on last week in baseball.

1) Ohtani homers…three times

It’s early, but the Angels big offseason acquisition Shohei Ohtani seems to be making a pretty smooth transition to the majors from Japan. Otani hit his first major league home run on Tuesday off of Trevor Bauer as part of a 13-2 slaughter of the Indians. One day later he did it again off of the reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in a 3-2 extra-inning win over Cleveland. But wait, there’s more! When Los Angeles returned to the field again on Friday to start a series with the Athletics, Ohtani hit yet another long ball. Three consecutive games with a homer ain’t too shabby. Neither is his .389 batting average.

2) Nearly Perfect

As if the three home runs weren’t enough for Ohtani, in his second career start on the mound he flirted with perfection. The multi-faceted rookie cruised through six and a third innings, striking out 11 batters, before A’s shortstop Marcus Semien ended all the fun with a single in the seventh. Ohtani registered one more K to get out of the inning and was replaced to start the eighth inning. In two starts, the Japanese phenom is 2-0 with 18 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. He really can do it all folks, so far at least.

3) Streaky Stanton

When the Yankees traded for Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, it represented a seismic shift of power in the American League. A lineup featuring both Aaron Judge and Stanton back-to-back is tough for any team to match. But things haven’t exactly gone as planned for the Yankees to start the season. In his first game in the Bronx as a member of the pinstripes on Tuesday, Stanton went 0-for-5 and struck out each and every time. He was unfairly booed – everybody has those days. And one day later redeemed himself with this…

His first Yankee Stadium homer was overshadowed by another miserable outing at the plate on Sunday, where the former Marlins slugger went 0-for-7 with five more strikeouts in an 8-7 extra-innings loss to the Orioles. Not exactly the start Yankees fans were hoping for from their new big bat.

4) Bryce is Right

There’s no shortage of power from Nationals star Bryce Harper. In just nine games, the former MVP is leading the league with six home runs and is second in RBI with 12. No. 6 came on Sunday night in what wound up being a 6-5 loss to the Mets, who swept the weekend series. Something about April brings out the best in Harper. His 1.087 OPS in March/April is the best in MLB history.

5) Comeback Sox

The Boston Red Sox are the proud owners of the MLB’s best record after getting off to an 8-1 start – the best in franchise history. Even more impressive is the fact that the eight victories have all come consecutively. That’s right, they haven’t loss since opening day. The most impressive win of this early stretch was easily on Sunday though. Trailing the Rays 7-2, Boston pieced together a methodical two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth, scoring six runs to jump ahead 8-7 and hold on for the win. The Red Sox are 5-0 in one-run games this year. Five of their wins have come after trailing at some point in the game. They’re also 2-0 in extra-inning games so far.

 

6) Free Baseball

Speaking of extra innings, there has been an exceptionally large number of extra-inning games played through the first week and a half of the season. So far there have been 17 extra-inning contests in played and the only day there was no free baseball in a single game was Easter Sunday, April 1.

7) Benches Clear 

Cardinals Catcher Yadier Molina got into it with Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on in the top of the second inning on Sunday. Lovullo was out to argue a third strike call against outfield A.J. Pollock and apparently had some words for Molina on top of his complaint. Both benches cleared, and afterward, Molina said Lovullo called him a certain expletive and added that “if you’re going to call someone that, you better be ready to fight. Molina sure was. Per MLB rules Lovullo was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, but Molina said he hopes the second-year manager sees further punishment from the league.

8) Bauer Boiling Over

While pace of play rules may be good for attracting more fans, Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer is not a fan of the changes pertaining to the amount of time pitchers get in between innings to loosen up. Following a 1-0 loss to the Royals on Saturday, Bauer didn’t mince words on the subject, believing a rushed warm up in cold conditions contributed to making his lone mistake of the day, which Royals DH Lucas Duda deposited into the stands for a home run.

9) Don’t See That Every Day

It’s not often you see a team win on a walk-off, misplayed infield popup…but it happened this week. Poor Eric Hosmer has to be sick, as his miscue, racing in from first base to play a routine infield popup, wound up costing his Padres a win against the Astros on Saturday night. The two teams had played to a 0-0 tie all the way until the 10th inning when things unraveled for Hosmer and company. See for yourself, if you didn’t already.

10) Raw Deal

Rockies slugger Charlie Blackmon cashed in this past week, signing a six-year contract extension worth $108 million with the team that drafted him in 2008. At the age of 32, the deal pretty much guarantees that Blackmon – who claimed the NL batting title a season ago – will finish his career in the Mile-High City. Unfortunately, Blackmon’s good news was followed by some bad news later in the week, as he left Saturday night’s 3-2 win over the Braves with back tightness. He didn’t play Sunday and is considered day-to-day at this time.

11) Injury Report

While we’re on the subject of injuries, there are some notable ones to begin the week. Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts suffered an apparent ankle injury sliding to save a ball from going into the Rays dugout on Sunday. His status is unknown at this point, but his absence would be a big blow for Boston, which is set to host the Yankees on Tuesday. The Yankees will be entering the series wounded as well, as big left-hander C.C. Sabathia was moved to the DL on Saturday after having his start on Friday cut short by a hip injury. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s newly acquired slugger Christian Yelich finds himself on the 10-day DL to start the week, with an oblique injury. Don’t expect Anthony Rizzo to suit up for the Cubs home opener on Monday. The first baseman is dealing with a back issue that has him listed as day-to-day.

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