Last Week in Baseball: July 23 – July 29

A lot happens over the course of a 162-game MLB season. We understand you may not catch everything that happens in all those games. Last week in baseball is your recap to everything notable that happened over the course of the previous week of games.

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

While the wheeling and dealing began this week, the injury bug started making it’s way around the league, snatching stars. Chris Sale mowing down batters at a record pace, J.D. Martinez hitting homers and another Jackie Bradley Jr. highlight. Can’t forget about the memorable debut for an Angels rookie. Hall of Fame weekend came and went, oh and one future Hall of Famer continues to quietly hit milestones. All that and some other stories from this past week in baseball…

1) Wheeling and dealing

The MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline isn’t until Wednesday, but try telling that to the many teams looking to bolster up their rosters for October. This past week featured a handful of power-shifting trades for a number of teams. The Yankees got the ball rolling early on in the week when they acquired Orioles closer Zach Britton for three pitching prospects. Naturally, the Red Sox countered by making a deal for former Yankee turned Ray, Nathan Eovaldi. New York wasn’t done though swinging a deal for J.A. Happ to bolster their starting rotation. From teams not in the AL East, the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels from Texas, the Diamondbacks snagged Eduardo Escobar from Minnesota and the Brewers took Mike Moustakas off the Royals hands. All this action should pave way for another active trade deadline on Tuesday.

2) Put down the gavel

The Yankees pursuit of the first-place Red Sox got a lot tougher this week after Aaron Judge went down with a broken wrist on Thursday. It’s expected that he’ll miss three weeks recovering, which  means he should be back for the pinstripes stretch run toward the playoffs. Judge wasn’t the only star to head to the disabled list this week as reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve made his first-career DL stint this week with some knee soreness. Cubs slugger Kris Bryant is headed there as well and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, so is Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

3) So close…

It’s been a while since we saw a no-hitter this season. The last one came from Seattle’s James Paxton back on May 8. We came oh, so close to having no-no number four on Sunday, from Atlanta Braves left Sean Newcomb against the Dodgers of all teams. But alas, the no-hit bid was lost in the ninth with two freaking outs nonetheless, as Chris Taylor lined a base hit into left field. The only thing more tragic than blowing a no-hitter like that is being called out for you old, racist tweets. It’s a shame that Newcomb’s brilliance on the mound had to be overshadowed by such a despicable story, but hey, don’t Tweet racist stuff.

4) How does he do it?

He’s Superman without the cape. Jackie Bradley Jr. added to his already ridiculous defensive highlight reel with this catch from Sunday…

Seriously, how does he do it?

5) Welcome to Cooperstown!

It was Hall of Fame weekend up in Cooperstown, NY. Joining the ranks of the game’s greatest players were Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Adam Thome, Alan Tammell and Jack Morris. All worthy candidates to say the least. Reminisce baseball fans. Also, enjoy some highlights from each inductees speech…

6) Welcome to the big leagues!

This is one of the cooler stories of the season thus far. After spending 12 years in the minor leagues, Angels catcher Orlando Arcia finally got the call-up this week. In his MLB debut on Thursday he wasted no time banging his first-career home run and driving in four total runs in a 12-8 win over the White Sox. He didn’t stop there though, as two days later he hit another homer and drove in six more RBI in an 11-5 slaughtering of Seattle. 10 RBI in his first two games in the majors is in fact and MLB record. Talk about making the most of an opportunity.

7) Sale-ing to 200

In the Red Sox 4-3 win over Minnesota on Friday, Chris Sale made some history. Not only did he become the first pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts this season, he did it faster than any AL pitcher in the history of baseball. 136.0 innings is all the lefty needed to reach the 200 K plateau this year, more than five innings quicker than he did it last season. Incredible, this guy.

8) No. 32

Meanwhile, Sale’s teammate, J.D. Martinez, or rather, Just Dongs Martinez is still doing his thing in the second half. For a hot second José Ramirez tooketh over as the league leader in home runs, but alas, Martinez took it back with a pair of homers on Tuesday and No. 32 over the weekend. For what it’s worth, he would have 33 if not for that controversial rainout in Baltimore on Wednesday night. Whatever, he sits atop the leader board nonetheless. Enjoy his league leading home run…

9) Quiet milestone

Angels legend Albert Pujols quietly passed Ken Griffey Jr. for 6th place on the all-time home run list. His 631st home run landed in the stands in left field at Angel Stadium on Wednesday night. If you thought such an incredible feat would be rewarded with fanfare, it wasn’t. Truthfully, that’s been the case since Pujols took his talents to Los Angeles/Anaheim in 2012. His journey up the career home run list has been arguably the least celebrated ever.

10) En fuego!

The weeks after All-Star break can be a make it or break it stretch for teams in the playoff race. Stringing together some wins could suddenly make you a buyer at the deadline. The opposite, and you’re selling off your assets for young talent. These last two weeks have been very good to two teams in particular. The Rockies and Pirates are red hot as the trade deadline looms. Pittsburgh has won 13 of their last 16 games – including 10 in a row at one point – dating back to the Thursday before the All-Star layoff. Colorado, meanwhile, are 11-2 in their last 13 contests. Both teams find themselves in the thick of a tight NL Wild Card race that will be highly entertaining to watch over the final two months of the season.

Follow: @Spencito_

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