Over the course of a 162 game campaign, a lot can happen. We don’t expect you to catch 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 the walk-offs, sweeps, ridiculous plays, outstanding individual performances and slumps, we’ve got you covered.
Yes, it’s only May, but things are heating up as we reach the quarter mark of the season, particularly between the Red Sox and Yankees who battled for first place in the division this week. From a third no-hitter, to an equipment mix up, to pitchers hitting here’s some highlights from last week in baseball.
1) Yankees, Red Sox Meet Again
It’s not often that a series in May feels like September, but that’s what baseball fans were treated to when the Red Sox and Yankees got together in the Bronx for three this week. With first place in the division at stake every game, every pitch left fans holding their breath. All three were close games, with the margin of victory in all three equaling just five runs, including two games being decided by a single run. In game one, after the Red Sox tied things at two in the top of the seventh, New York took the lead back in the bottom of the inning to win 3-2. The next night was probably the most exciting of the three games as Boston rallied in the seventh again to take a 6-5 lead, only to watch the bullpen squander it when the Yankees put up four runs in the eighth, three of which came on an Aaron Judge home run. The Red Sox avoided the sweep by taking game three 5-4, thanks to an eighth inning dinger from J.D. Martinez, and as the series came to a close the two division rivals were tied for first in the AL East and all of baseball. That tie help up throughout the weekend by the way. The rivalry is back folks, and watching these two teams duke it out for the division all summer is going to be a lot of fun.
2) Who’s on Deck
The New York Mets did something this week that could truly only happen to the Mets. In the first inning of a Wednesday matinee matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera cranked a two-out ground rule double to keep the inning alive. What appeared to be a scoring chance for the Mets wound up actually being out number three as a quick look at the lineup card by Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman showed that Cabrera was listed as batting second in the order not third. That spot was supposed to belong to Wilmer Flores according to the official lineup card. Even worse, apparently everyone else received a different version of the batting order because the scoreboard showed Cabrera as third in the order. Again, only the Mets. It was a colossal mix up, but oddly enough the last time this happened was more recent than you probably think. In 2016 the Milwaukee Brewers batted out of order.
3) Standing O for Cutch
He may wear different colors now, but the love for Andrew McCutchen (aka Cutch) in Pittsburgh is real. Making his first trip back to the Steel City since being traded to the Giants this past winter, the former Pirates star received a thunderous standing ovation he’ll never forget when he went to bat for the first time. It’ll give you chills. What a cool moment.
4) Harvey’s Fresh Start
Last week, Matt Harvey was at rock bottom after being designated for assignment by the Mets. This week, things are maybe starting to look up for the once dominant ace. In his first start for the Cincinnati Reds, Harvey threw four scoreless innings, struck out four and surrendered just one hit against the defending National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. And even though he took a no decision, Harvey’s effort set the tone for an eventual 6-3 win for the Reds. It’s a very small sample size of course, but perhaps a change of scenery has done Harvey some good.
5) No-No North of the Boarder
Baseball fans were treated to their third no-hitter of the season this past week (that’s two weeks in a row featuring a no-no, yay baseball!). This one came from Seattle’s James Paxton against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Ironically, Paxton is Canadian so he truly did it for the homeland. As seems to always be the case with no-hitters, the 29-year-old’s performance came with a signature, no-hitter preserving play. With two outs in the seventh, third baseman Kyle Seager made a terrific diving stop to his right on a hard hit ball, got to his feet and somehow threw out the speedy Kevin Pillar at first. It was must watch stuff, so take a look at it, along with the highlights from Paxton’s memorable outing.
6) Homers Out East
There are plenty of homers to go around in the Eastern divisions of each league. At the top of the home run leaderboard sits a trio of stars, all from teams in the AL or NL East. They are Mookie Betts, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, who have all smacked 13 long-balls thus far. Meanwhile, on Sunday the Yankees became the first team since the 2003 Texas Rangers to have four players amass 10 home runs within the first forty games of the season. New York’s scary quartet consists of Aaron Judge (11), Giancarlo Stanton (10), Didi Gregorius (10) and Gary Sanchez (10). And while the Red Sox have gotten plenty of pop from Betts, their big free agent acquisition J.D. Martinez registered his 10th home run on Sunday as well. This isn’t just an east coast bias folks, there’s a legit power surge in the east right now.
7) Lindor Wardrobe Change
Earlier in the week Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor shaved his head after losing a bet to his high school baseball team in Florida. The shave may have gone a little too deep into his head. The switch-hitting Lindor trotted out to leadoff the bottom of the first inning on Sunday against the Royals with a helmet and shinguard suitable for batting as a lefty. Only problem is, lefty pitcher Danny Duffy was on the mound for Kansas City so Lindor wanted to bat as a righty. Whoops. Fortunately, Royals first baseman Mike Moustakas helped rectify the situation by alerting Lindor of his mistake and he made a quick wardrobe change before returning to plate. He wound up flying out to center field in the at-bat but finished the day 3-for-4 with a double and and RBI, so it sounds like he had his head on straight afterall.
— MLB (@MLB) May 13, 2018
8) Best of the Betts
Mookie Betts can quite honestly do it all. As mentioned, he holds a share of the league lead in home runs, while also besting the field in batting average, runs scored, slugging percentage and OPS. He’s been the best player in baseball to this point and on Sunday he showed another facet of his game, flashing some leather in a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays. Take a look at this incredible diving catch…
9) Max of all Trades
Everyone knows Max Scherzer is one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball – he showed that again on Friday when he struck out 11 batters in seven innings of work in the Nationals 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks. But what they may not have known is that he’s clutch in the batters box as well. As a cherry on top of his dominant outing on the mound that night, Scherzer also helped his own cause by driving in the eventual game-winning run on an RBI double with two outs in the fourth inning. Who doesn’t love a pitcher that can hit a little bit?
10) Snakes on a Field?
Yes you read that right, and while this happened in a minor league game it’s more than worthy of making this week’s list. It all went down in a double-A matchup between the San Antonio Missions (Padres) and the Frisco Rough Riders (Rangers). Inspired by John Fogerty, a snake slithered out into center field in the eighth inning, delaying the game while members of the grounds crew attempted to corral the creature. I guess when you play baseball games in Texas you’re prepared for these types of things? I guess? Watch all the creepiness for yourself.