Last Week in Baseball: July 2 – July 8

A lot happens over the course of an entire MLB season and you may not catch everything that happens. Last week in baseball is your guide to everything notable that happened over the course of the previous week of games.

From the walk-offs, sweeps, ridiculous catches, outstanding individual performances or disappointing slumps, we’ve got you covered.

This week, players and fans alike celebrated out nation’s Independence Day with baseball as a backdrop. An AL pitcher delivered a decisive hit, an NL hitter took the mound, and of course, the week ended with the big reveal of the starting lineups for next week’s All-Star Game. Catch up on some of the top moments, plays and news in the latest installment of Last Week in Baseball.

1) All-Star Lineups

Your votes have been tallied and the All-Star game starting lineups are officially set.

Take a look…

Talk about a late push for Javier Baez. At the start of the week he was third in voting for second base, now he’ll start. Also, if Bryce Harper is true to his word, his being voted to the All-Star Game means he’ll also participate in the Home Run Derby. Who doesn’t want to see that?

How about the AL East holding down five of the nine starting roles this year. Meanwhile, poor Manny Machado has to feel left out as the only infielder not named Jose.

2) Stars, Stripes and Baseball

Every year, baseball has Independence Day all to itself. Nothing says America quite like soaking in America’s favorite pastime after all. Per usual, Major League Baseball rolled out some solid red, white and blue themed apparel and teams produced some impressive firework shows.

Here are some of the sights and sounds from the day…

Those firework cleats, though.

With the Nation’s capital as a backdrop, members of D.C.’s Hamilton the Musical case sang the Star-Spangled Banner.

And as the Red Sox left the Nation’s Capital with a sweep of the Nationa’s under their belt, they decked themselves out in red, white and blue.

3) No. 27

It’s no surprise J.D. Martinez is an All-Star starter. He continued to bolster his resumé this week with home run number 27, which of course leads all of baseball. His 74 RBI are also tops in the league. Watch No. 27 for yourself.

(video)

 

4) Web Gems of the Week

Milwaukee’s Keon Broxton, Minnesota’s Jake Cave and Seattle’s Dee Gordon make have earned nominations for this week’s top catch.

Broxton’s up first since his catch came earliest in the week. He spoiled Brian Dozier’s Independence Day with this incredible home run robbery. By the way if you forgot Broxton made an impressive catch last week too, so this is becoming quite the habit.

One day later, Cave was just so inspired by Broxton that he decided to steal a home run too, robbing Baltimore’s Chris Davis with this leaping snag.

And then we have Gordon, whose position doesn’t allow him to take away home runs, but he did at least steal a hit from Ian Kinsler with this diving stop.

SO which one’s your favorite?

5) Ohtani Returns

Rookie phenom Shoe Otani returned to the field on Tuesday for the first time in a month, after nursing a UCL sprain that for a moment had the Angels fearing Tommy John surgery. He took a 0-for-4 in his first day back in the lineup. Then shook off the rust a little bit on Independence Day with a 2-for-4 day that featured a double. The highlight of his return though came Sunday, when he launched a 443-foot home run into the rock sculpture out in center field — his first since May 17 and the game-winner in a 4-3 win over the Dodgers. Otani hasn’t yet been cleared to pitch, but to at least have him back on the field is a step in the right direction for one of the league’s must-watch players.

6) A first for Bautista

Jose Bautista has had plenty of memorable home runs throughout his career. His emphatic bat toss in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS comes to mind. One thing he’s never done though is hit a walk-off grand slam. That is, until this past week. After Bautista’s Mets had played to a 1-1 draw with the Rays through eight and two-thirds innings, New York managed to load the bases and set up this thrilling finish for the 37-year-old…

7) Jack of all Trades

Mark Reynolds had a fun weekend. On Friday, the Nationals’ first baseman led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run to down Miami 3-2. One day later he made history as just the 15th player in MLB history to record 10 RBI in a single game with a perfect 5-for-5 performance that featured a two-run home run, an RBI double, a two-run single, a three-run home run and another two-run single. As you could have guessed, Washington thrashed the Marlins that night, 18-4. And then the 34-year-old finished off the weekend by coming in the ninth inning of a laugher, 10-2 loss to Miami. The best part is, he got the out he was brought in to get, with a nasty 74-mph pitch. Okay, maybe nasty isn’t the right word.

8) Pitchers CAN hit

Pitchers are supposed to be an easy out. So when they step up to the pate and deliver a big hit it tends to be one of the more exciting plays in baseball. In the National League, where pitchers bat regularly we see it a little more. But for an American League pitcher to accomplish such a feat is like seeing a unicorn. Enter Red Sox starter Rick Porcello. Pitching opposite of his former teammate and the back-to-back NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on Monday, Porcello stepped up to the plate in the second inning and laced a two-out, bases-clearing double to left field to put the Red Sox in front 3-0. Boston went on to win 4-3, so those runs were pretty darn important. Gotta love when pitchers deliver from the plate in big moments like that. Especially when an AL pitcher does it, against one of the league’s best arms in the game.

9)  The Ultimate form of Flattery

They say imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. Well, this four-year-old, Preston, modeled his trip around the bases after Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who has one of the more iconic home run trots. The little man pretty much nailed it. Perched arm for a pet parrot of his own, and all. Adorable.

Follow: @Spencito_

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