Getaway Day: The Rockies irresistible run continues


American League

Baltimore Orioles:Business looked grim for the O’s early in the week, as they lost Chris Davis indefinitely due to an oblique strain, as well as three of four games to the lowly White Sox. But perhaps these setbacks fueled some frustration in the ball club, frustration that they took out in full against the Cardinals over the weekend. After an 11-2 loss to open the series on Friday, the Orioles offense went ballistic over the next two days, hitting nine home runs between Saturday and Sunday, and winning the battle of the birds decisively.

Boston Red Sox: The Sox saw both ends of the MLB spectrum last week, seeing back-to-back series with the league-worst Phillies and the pacesetting Astros over the weekend. Although the Phils put up more fight than expected, taking the Sox to extra innings twice, Boston emerged victorious in three of four games before turning their attention to the Astros. TK TK TK TK 

Chicago White Sox:The past week was more fruitful than the entire month-to-date had been for the Sox, who took home five wins last week alone, after winning only two games in the entire month before it. And while it far from salvages the season on the south side of the Windy City, it does keep things interesting as more and more eyes turn to the White Sox roster, as many of its current parts could be auditioning for the upcoming trade market.

Cleveland Indians:Apparently, Jose Ramirez was fed up with Cleveland’s chase of the Twins, as he all but took things into his own hands in not only closing the gap, but propelling the Indians back to the top of the American League Central standings. The Indian infielder had five hits –including two home runs— on Saturday to lead the way in the Indians sweep of Minnesota. Capped by Sunday’s shutout, Cleveland now holds an 8-2 advantage in the head-to-head series between the two clubs on the year, and will have a chance to drive the wedge between the two clubs even deeper, as they will meet again this weekend – this time with the Indians holding the home field edge.

Detroit Tigers: Much of the Tigers’ season has sat in the middle of the underwhelming abyss that is the AL Central, and with another underwhelming week in the books, the prospects for the year are becoming increasingly bleak. Such has been the depths of their issues, that even Miguel Cabrera could not avoid boos from the Tiger faithful this past week (although he responded to them by characteristically blasting a game-winning homer). So at this crossroads in the season’s path, the biggest question surrounding the team is if they begin to sell off parts from a core that has underperformed for the second straight year. If they do give up on the year, it could see many previously unforeseen options enter the hot stove waters, including J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler and possibly even Cabrera himself.

Houston Astros: Despite their indisputably strong start to the season, even the Astros showed their mortality this week. When Lance McCullers Jr. headed to the disabled list on Monday, it brought the total of Houston starting hurlers down to four, including Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Mike Fiers. As a result, the ‘Stros went through an uncharacteristically tough week, dropping three of four at one point to the Rangers and Red Sox.  However, McCullers Jr.’s stint on the DL is set to be a brief one, as manager A.J. Hinch says he’ll be in line to make a return in the new week, and not a moment too soon. After their season-best 11-game winning streak ended, Houston dropped five out of seven contests.

Kansas City Royals:When the story of this era of Royals baseball is written, its final chapter should certainly note that they did not go down without a fight. As their twilight together inches closer and closer, KC played its most inspired baseball of the year, rattling off six straight victories over the last week. And as long as this core stays intact, they could serve to at least be the best equipped spoilers lurking in the American League over the next few months.

Los Angeles Angels:While the Angels have stayed steady in the standings as they await the return of Mike Trout – who said this week he’s eyeing an early return from the disabled list before July’s All-Star Game – they now have more formidable injury woes to their pitching staff to be concerned with as well. With Matt Shoemaker heading to the DL on Saturday, he become the fifth Anaheim starter to currently take up residence on the club’s inactive list. While the Halos mounted a surprisingly strong performance against the Yankees early in the week, it will be a much tougher task to keep up that pace long term with this many arms out of play.
Minnesota Twins: It was a roller-coaster of a week for Minnesota, which saw high watermarks of making high school shortstop Royce Lewis the first pick in the MLB Draft, as well as a 20-run, 28-hit breakout against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. However, the marquee moment of the surprisingly competitive season for the Twins came over the weekend, and it was one that could find its end quick enough. The Twins lost their grip atop the AL Central standings, as their season-long struggles against the Indians came to a head, as they took a resoundingly decisive sweep, losing more games (four) than days spent playing (three). They’ll look to nurse their wounds against the White Sox to open the week, before re-engaging with the Indians again next weekend, this time in Cleveland.

New York Yankees: For all of their successes this year, the ability of Yankee starting pitching to carry the load for the division-leading club remained a legitimate question for the club. And that pitching staff had its worst showing of the week, with no Yankee starter managing a quality start on the week. As a result, the club stumbled through a season-worst five game losing streak. And while good news came in the form of the return of closer Aroldis Chapman on Sunday, it is offset by the loss of CC Sabathia, who leads the team in wins, to a hamstring injury. The Yanks have the firepower, but it will take more than just the exploits of Aaron Judge and company to keep the revival in the Bronx moving ahead.      
Oakland Athletics:The week opened with a nice surprise, as first baseman Yonder Alonso was announced as leading in the latest returns for All-Star Game voting among AL first basemen. And the unanticipated good times continued, as the club opened up the weekend by taking two of three from the Yankees as well. These are nice moments to have, as the annual A’s housecleaning sale inches closer and closer.
Seattle Mariners:The week got off to a nice start for the Mariners, who punched the Twins in the mouth in route to a 14-3 victory on Monday. However, after the Twins countered that blow in the form of Tuesday’s 20-7 bludgeoning, Seattle looked dazed and confused for the rest of the week, dropping four out of their next five and falling back down the AL West standings. The good news is that they stand to receive the returns of both Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma to their rotation this week, after each missed the previous month due to injury. And the return of the two most esteemed Seattle starters could not come a moment too soon.
Tampa Bay Rays: Behind some inspired play from outfielder Mallex Smith, who hit .435 in his first week as the full-time stand in for Kevin Kiermaier, the Rays played some (mostly) solid baseball and got back into the mix in the AL East. The speedy 24-year-old is riding a 10-game hit streak into the new week, with half of those games being of the multi-hit variety. There could be some highlight worthy moments on the base paths this week, as Smith and the Rays will host Billy Hamilton and the Reds.
Texas Rangers: Now granted, it doesn’t take much to climb towards the top of the imbalanced AL West standings, but the Rangers enter the new week inhabiting the distant second place slot in the division. And they returned to the spot by doing something they have been virtually incapable of doing all season: beating the Houston Astros. The Rangers took two of three from Houston to start the week off, before winning a weekend tilt over the Mariners as well. It is still hard to believe in the inconsistent Texas club, but at least they make it interesting on occasion.

Toronto Blue Jays: Just a few weeks ago, it seemed as if a Blue Jays revival was full speed ahead. However, over the last few weeks they have struggled to stay in gear, as the club has been unable to put together more than two consecutive wins so far in the month. One good sign is the presence of J.A. Happ, who has won both of his last two outings after opening 0-4 and spending time on the DL. The Jays are still searching to find their way, but there is still ample time to get back into an increasingly wide open AL East race.
National League
Arizona Diamondbacks:The D’Backs open the week as baseball’s hottest team, winners of 10 of their last 11 games. With both Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta hitting .435 over the last week, Arizona now has three regulars hitting over .290 on the year. Yet despite this offensive outpour, it has been Arizona pitching that has been truly remarkable of late. Over the last week, Arizona pitching has a allowed only seven earned runs over 54 innings – a 1.17 team ERA.

Atlanta Braves: The odd summer for the Braves has continued to trudge on, with their fortunes trending up in the last week. Behind the surprisingly strong play from Matt Adams, who hit .458 over the last week and now has nine home runs since coming over from St. Louis, Atlanta took four of six from the Nationals and Marlins, and now have pulled into a ceremonial second place tie with the Mets, although they are still six games south of .500.

Chicago Cubs: Entering the true heat of the summer, the Cubs are currently behaving like an old lawnmower; unable to get into gear to get going at any true pace. The proof sits in the fact they spent a week alternating wins and losses, and have even turned to putting Anthony Rizzo at the top of the lineup in an attempt to get things in gear. And while he provided some instant spark, hitting a back-to-back lead off homers in his first two games atop the Chicago order, the spark failed to ignite the Cubbies for long. So for the time being, they remain more of a default “sleeping giant,” as opposed to truly giving any indications of being capable of actually becoming one.

Cincinnati Reds: It was a well-timed week for the Reds in the distraction category, as they had plenty of notable events to pull attention away from a losing streak that has now hit nine-straight games. The club hit the draft jackpot in the form of the much herald prep star Hunter Greene, whom they took with the second-overall pick on Monday. And to wrap things up, the club retired the number of all-time hits king, Pete Rose, in what could be the final big day for the infamous former star, whose most recent plea to gain membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame was turned down last week as well.

Colorado Rockies:Despite the D’Backs best efforts, the Rockies remain atop the NL West standings, winners of five in a row, including a few late inning heroics against the Giants over the weekend. This was highlighted by Nolan Arenado completing the cycle on Sunday afternoon, with a walk-off three-run homer providing a potent exclamation point to the week.

Los Angeles Dodgers:It was a week defined by power for the Dodgers; powerful statements (courtesy of Yaisel Puig’s double birds in Cleveland) as well as powerful displays. Cody Bellinger provided the majority of the latter, as the rookie slugger hit six long balls in the last week, including consecutive multi-homer outings against the Reds and Indians. Not to be outdone in the continually impressive NL West race, the Dodgers have won nine out of their last ten games, in a division that now has three teams that would lead four other divisions around the league.

Miami Marlins: Perhaps three is the magic number for the Marlins, because for the third time in the third month of the season, no less, they have managed to win three games in a row. In fact, any time they have won at all this month, it has come in threes. This week’s mission: stop the skids on the requisite two-game skid that follows their brief brushes with success.

Milwaukee Brewers:Maybe it is time to stop treating the Brewers like a team whose stint atop the NL Central is a by-product of the failures of the Cubs, Cardinals or any other team, and respect what they are accomplishing. In the last week, they took three of four from the Cardinals, before winning the weekend series over the Padres as well. They have now built up a 2.5 game lead in the Central, with a week where they could easily pad that lead, with a series against the Pirates and Braves awaiting.

New York Mets: The Mets brief brush with a possible resurgence proved to be fleeting, as they wasted a the gains made over the Cubs and Braves, by dropping three of four against the Nationals over the weekend. To make matters worse, Mets players are heading to the DL at a phenomenal rate, with Matt Harvey, Astrubal Cabrera and Juan Legares all falling by the wayside last week. And as if that wasn’t enough, news that Noah Syndergaard’s rehab stint will be delayed for another month came down as well. At this rate, the Mets may not have anyone healthy enough to raise their arm to waive the white flag.

Philadelphia Phillies: It was a great time for the Sixers to make some waves and land the top pick in the NBA Draft, because following the Phillies is probably detrimental to Philadelphians’ health at this point. They have won once since June 7, and are approaching 20 games out of the NL East.

Pittsburgh Pirates:The story of the week is the comeback of Jameson Tallion, who made his return to the Pirates rotation on Monday after a procedure to attack testicular cancer last month. The Pirates took home a victory that night over no less than the Rockies, providing a highlight outing in a season that has desperately needed them.

San Diego Padres:The Padres, who are knee-deep into “maybe next year… but probably not” territory, actually had the good fortune of running into a team that is further down on their luck further than they are this season. San Diego completed its second sweep of the month (after their miraculous conquering of the Cubs), as they took down the woe-begotten Reds last week. Good for them.

San Francisco Giants:It has been a year to forget for the Giants of the most sudden and unpredictable fashion. And it was one that hit a new low last week, as San Francisco suffered through a completely winless week. They have now sunk to a full two games behind the Padres at the rear of the NL West standings, and the most improbable selloff of the summer could be coming to AT&T park next.

St. Louis Cardinals:The Cardinals should be thankful to be able to take up residence in the NL Central, because no other division would be hospitable enough to allow a team a club to go 2-5 on the week and actually RISE in the standings. After dropping three straight to the Brewers at home, before allowing the Orioles to post a few touchdowns against them over the weekend, the Cardinals’ summer in limbo remains as present as ever.

Washington Nationals: It was a hospitable week spent within the friendly confines of the NL East for the Nats, who carry a 10.5 game lead into this week after making easy work of the Braves and Mets last week. Armed with three leaders in the NL All-Star voting (including leader Bryce Harper), the Nats are headed into the sweetest spot on their entire schedule on the year this week, with the Marlins and Reds awaiting them. It’s time to celebrate good times in D.C. (Times that could be made better with a big move to add a closer, but still.)

Yardbarker: MLB

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