MLB Weekend Recap: Yankees sweep Cubs to keep pace;  Dodgers woes worsen against Giants

MLB Weekend Recap: Yankees sweep Cubs to keep pace; Dodgers woes worsen against Giants

It’s mid-June, which means “winter” sports are gearing up to wrap up and there will be a window before football season where it’s all baseball among the major American professional men’s sports. In our world, it’s simply milling season. We know this is a 162 game marathon with ups and downs.

What brought us this weekend? We’ll take a look.

Highlight of the weekend

Let’s see these moves, Randy Arozarena:

Pretty awesome stuff there and a great call from the MLB social media person with the Twister reference. Do people still play that? Hmm…

Either way, the Rays would end up winning Sunday at Minnesota to save one of the three before a big series to come next week (we’ll get to that in a bit).

Giants complete Dodgers sweep

Luge has been tough for the Dodgers for the past two weeks or so, and they have to hope this weekend against the Giants has been at a low point. The Dodgers were swept in three games – San Francisco won the final 2-0 on Sunday – and also lost ace Walker Buehler to an elbow injury. He will miss a lot of time.

Los Angeles went 2 for 24 with runners in the scoring position in all three games, prompting manager Dave Roberts to say their offense lacked a team “mindset.” Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski hit solo homers against Julio Urías in the first inning on Sunday, and Carlos Rodón and the Giants bullpen got the two runs up to complete the sweep.

The Dodgers are 37-23 and have lost nine of their last 13 games. They still lead the NL West, although their lead is reduced to half a game over the Padres. The Giants, meanwhile, are 33-26 and 3 1/2 games into the division.

José is a running machine

Guardians third baseman José Ramírez has been one of baseball’s best players for quite some time and he could be having a career year. At least as far as current production goes, it is. It was on display on Sunday. The A’s had a 1-0 lead early in the first inning, but Ramírez’s two RBI double in the bottom half set Cleveland up for good. Ramírez homered on Thursday and Friday, then hit three runs on Sunday for a five-RBI streak as the Guardians won three of four. They’ve won 10 of 13 and moved within striking distance of the Twins in the AL Central.

Ramírez now has 59 RBIs in 56 Guardian games. No player has brought home more runs than his team has played in games in a full schedule since Manny Ramirez’s 165 RBI in 1999. And, in fact, it’s the only such season since. that the schedule has been extended to 162 matches. There is a very long way to go here, but it deserves our attention.

I will make streaks

The weekend saw some pretty long streaks, both positive and negative. The A’s snapped a 10-game losing streak with a win on Saturday. The Brewers ended an eight-game losing streak with their win on Sunday. The Phillies had won nine straight before finally losing on Sunday. The Braves came out of the weekend with their streak intact, however, to have won 11 times in a row.

These extended streaks of three suitors (at least hopeful suitors) are a good illustration of how quickly things can change when you play every day.

It’s not entirely surprising that the Yankees completed a three-game sweep against the Cubs. They are the much better team. They needed 13 innings on Friday before they finally got away with it, but then they blasted the Cubs 8-0 on Saturday and totally intimidated them in Sunday’s 18-4 victory. Again, not shocking.

It’s remarkable, though, because the Yankees are playing at a ridiculous pace. They are now 44-16, a 162-game, 119-win pace. The single-season winning record is 116, shared by the 1906 Cubs and 2001 Mariners. Remember the Yankees dynasty at the turn of the century? The most games won by this group in the regular season was 114, in 1998. This is also the franchise record for wins.

Also perhaps of note: The Yankees have won at least 105 games five times in franchise history. These five teams have won the World Series.

On the bridge

Rays at Yankees (three games starting Tuesday) / Yankees at Blue Jays (three games starting Friday): The AL East race is not close. Currently, the Yankees have an 8 1/2 lead over the Blue Jays and nine over the Rays. There is an opportunity here, it just depends on who seizes it. The Yankees could really hurt the Rays and Jays by winning both series and pushing this thing into double digits. On the other hand, if both trailing teams win the series, the picture for the division blurs as the Yankees move back into the pack a bit.

Brewers at Mets (three games starting Tuesday): This is a possible playoff preview, so these are always worth pointing out. These two teams in particular, however, are worth watching right now. The Brewers have just ended an eight-game losing streak. During this streak, they lost their grip on the top spot. The Mets are still leading in Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, but the Braves’ surge has made it a run again instead of a runaway. There’s potential for a fun series here with plenty more keeping tabs on things.

Angels at Dodgers (two games starting Tuesday): It’s Los Angeles against “Los Angeles”, isn’t it? Whatever you want to call this series, it’s a fun interleague fight with tons of starpower. The Angels have suffered a crippling losing streak recently while the Dodgers haven’t played well either, but it’s still a streak not to be missed.

Cardinals at the Red Sox: Another glimpse of the World Series? It seems like a long time at this point, but the 2021 Braves and the 2019 Nationals are two recent examples of why it would be foolish to count a team like these Red Sox. Both of these teams are also in playoff position right now. We’ve seen the Fall Classic match twice recently, in 2004 and 2013. It also happened in 1946 and 1967.

The White Sox at the Astros: It’s a rematch of the ALDS from last season, but it would be much more notable to keep an eye on how things are going for the White Sox. They have been one of the most disappointing teams this season and manager Tony La Russa is starting hear the local crowd chanting in favor of his dismissal. It’s a tough series anyway, but will the White Sox play for La Russa’s job?

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