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.
Another exciting week of baseball led us into the All-Star Break, highlighted by perhaps the at-bat of the year an offensive explosion, two thrilling walk-offs, and more. We check in on the home run race at the break as well. Take a look for yourself in another edition of Last Week in Baseball.
1) At-bat of the Year?
You’ve probably seen it replayed numerous times already, but Mookie Betts gave us what might be the at-bat of the year on Thursday night. With the Red Sox down 2-1 to the Blue Jays in the fourth inning and the bases loaded, Betts withstood 13 pitches from J.A. Happ, fouled off seven of them, including six in a row and deposited pitch No. 13 over the Green Monster for a grand slam. It’s an at-bat baseball fans will remember all season and Betts himself was pumped. You know you want to relive this one again…
2) Wild Walk-offs
A pair of exciting walk-offs highlighted an exciting week of baseball. First up, Xander Bogaerts. In the 10th inning of a 2-2 tie with the Blue Jays on Saturday night, all Bogaerts need was a sacrifice fly to send the Red Sox home with a win. He provided much more than that…
And then on Sunday Josh Bell of the Pirates delivered a decisive hit in the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs to finish off a rare, five-game sweep of the Brewers…
3) Leaderboard at the break
Two horses lead the home run race as we hit the All-Star Break. J.D. Martinez, who smacked his 29th homer of the season in Boston’s 5-2 win over Toronto on Sunday and José Ramírez, who reached that plateau one day earlier in an identical win over the Yankees. The next closest group of challengers is the trio of Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Francisco Lindor, all at 25 long balls. Jesus Aguilar and Manny Machado fall in line with 24 a piece. And then a star-studded quartet of Mookie Betts, Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado each sit with 23, setting the stage for a great race the rest of the way.
4) Everybody gets a run!
Reds pitchers were handing out runs to the Indians like it was the Oprah Christmas special on Wednesday night. 19 of them to be exact, as they fell 19-4. Every player in the Tribe’s starting lineup recorded at least one hit as the team put up 19 of those as well, including home runs from Ramírez (2), Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis. It all got out of hand in the third when Cleveland hung nine runs on Cincinnati, which they followed up with six in the fourth. 19 runs were the most the Indians scored since August 14. 2015, in a 17-4 win over Minnesota.
5) Young Indians make history
As mentioned, part of that 19-run onslaught included homers from rising stars Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez. Ramírez’ two long balls were his is 26th and 27th of the season respectfully, while Lindor smacked his 25th. In doing so, the duo became the first pair of teammates age 25 or less in MLB history to each hit 25+ home runs before the All-Star Break. If the Indians can find a way to keep these two guys together, man could they be good for a long time.
6) The Field is set
Baseball revealed it’s eight-player field for the Home Run Derby and while it’s missing the star power of last year’s showdown that featured sluggers like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, there is still plenty of reason to be excited. The surplus of youngsters including Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Alex Bregman, Rhys Hoskins and Freddie Freeman gives fans a glimpse into the future of baseball. Those are names you’ll be seeing and hearing long after this derby so pick a favorite. If you prefer cheering for Superstars though there is at least one in Bryce Harper and with this year’s All-Star festivities taking place in his team’s home city there’s extra motivation for him to put on a show. If you want to try to win a trip to the World Series, give MLB’s derby bracket challenge a try!
Dingers on deck.
— MLB (@MLB) July 12, 2018
7) Three-bagger for Roark
We’ve continually recognized pitchers who accomplish the rarest of feats from the plate – last week it was Rick Porcello. Well, Tanner Roark of the Nationals deserves some recognition for this unconventional triple against the Mets. Naturally, the weirdness came on Friday the 13th.
8) He Did What?
Reds’ center fielder Billy Hamilton is a bad, bad man. He showed off some incredible acrobatics to rob Matt Carpenter of a home run on Friday. This one belongs up there in the discussion with Kevin Pillar’s a few weeks ago for the robbery of the year.
9) Tip of the Cap
A tip of the cap goes out to Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley, who announced he’ll retire at the end of the season. There’s already been plenty of discussion over whether or not Utley is a Hall of Famer. With more than 1,800 hits, six all-star appearances and that World Series ring from his days with the Phillies, he’ll have a solid case. Regardless if he ends up in Cooperstown though, Utley will go down as a household name for many baseball fans.
Baseball brings us great plays like Billy Hamilton’s home run robbery and gaffes like the one Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco had. In the sixth inning of their 2-0 loss to the Marlins, Saturday, Franco fielded a Starlin Castro chopper that he thought went foul and well, tossed it into the stands. Thoughtful as it was to hand out a souvenir the ball was live and Castro ended up at second base on the error. He was eventually stranded there but Franco’s blunder lives on.