The seventh Sunday of the 2022 Major League Baseball season was jam-packed with action, and it concluded quite the dramatic weekend. As always, the “weekend” in baseball terms is a weekend series, which means looping back to Friday games and in some cases even going back to Thursday. Let’s wrap up some of what we saw and then look ahead at the week to come.
Highlight of the Weekend
Even if his approach made this play look relatively easy, the degree of difficulty there is off the charts. As he’s running both back and toward right field, Cameron needs to keep his eye on the ball while timing the jump perfectly and knowing exactly where the wall is. He also needed the presence of mind to get the ball in for the double play quickly. Just a gorgeous play.
After controversial Saturday, White Sox take Sunday doubleheader from Yankees
This weekend’s White Sox-Yankees series in the Bronx will mostly be remembered for the controversy and near-brawl that accompanied Saturday’s contest. The short version is that Josh Donaldson of the Yankees made what he thought was an inside joke to Tim Anderson of the White Sox. Donaldson called him “Jackie” in reference to Jackie Robinson, and Anderson quite understandably took offense. Later in the game, a near-brawl was touched off when Donaldson and Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal exchanged words at the plate. There’s a back-story to all of this, and our own R.J. Anderson broke it down in detail.
As for the on-field action, the Yankees took the hostile series opener on Saturday, and a doubleheader on Sunday settled matters. The White Sox evened the series in the first game of the twin bill, as veteran retread Johnny Cueto twirled six scoreless innings. The 36-year-old Cueto has yet to allow a run in 12 innings for Chicago this season. The game was tied 1-1 in the ninth, but Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman allowed a tie-breaking home run to A.J. Pollock as the White Sox evened the series with a 3-1 win.
In the nightcap, Chicago starter Michael Kopech took a perfect game into the sixth, but the bid for history ended when Rob Brantly hit a line-drive double with two outs. The game remained scoreless until the eighth, when the White Sox took a 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of RBI singles. Anderson then broke it open with this, his fifth home run of the season:
That score would hold. The series win pushes the White Sox back above the .500 mark, while the Yankees, despite dropping two of three at home, still boast the best record in all of baseball.
The Red Sox opened the week by taking two of three from the red-hot Astros. Though the competition wasn’t quite as tough, this weekend series was total domination. The Red Sox outscored the Mariners, 33-18, in the four-game sweep. It ended on a walk-off grand slam in extras from Franchy Cordero:
Cordero was the star to end the series, but the series as a whole belonged to Trevor Story. On Thursday, he went 4 for 4 with three homers, seven RBI and five runs scored. He had a two-run homer to cut the Mariners’ early lead in half, a two-run homer to tie it, a go-ahead, RBI knock and then later tacked on a three-run shot. Friday, he clubbed a grand slam. Sunday, he homered to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the sixth.
That’s five home runs and 13 RBI in a four-game series.
The Red Sox have now won eight of their past 10 games. The Mariners, on the other hand, went 1-6 this past week after a nice series win over the Mets at New York.
Big-time prospects debut
The Cardinals called up second baseman Nolan Gorman in time for the entire weekend series. The 22-year-old, who swings left handed, was leading the minors with 15 homers. Well, he is still looking for his first MLB home run, but he had a solid showing in the Cardinals’ three-game sweep of the Pirates. Gorman went 5 for 10 with two doubles, two walks, an RBI and four runs scored. Not a bad start.
The top prospect news of the weekend came in Baltimore, when 2019 No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman, who is also widely considered the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, made his debut. Rutschman tripled on Saturday for his first MLB hit, and he followed it up with another knock on Sunday. The Orioles are hoping Rutschman is a franchise cornerstone as they slowly make the transition back to being a contender.
Last weekend, the Phillies won three of four at Dodger Stadium and had the Dodgers on the ropes for a sweep. The Dodgers ended up rallying in the ninth inning on Sunday and won in walk-off fashion to salvage a game.
This time around, the Dodgers won the Friday and Saturday games to run their winning streak to six. Behind two early runs — including a home run from the surging Mookie Betts — and Tony Gonsolin’s strong start, the Dodgers led nearly all game Sunday, too. They were all set to close things down with a sweep at Philly.
Only this time, it was the Phillies who rallied to tie the game in the ninth. And then in extras, they won … in rather dumb fashion. In fact, the Dodgers got the ground ball they needed to end the game, but second baseman Max Muncy kicked it and two runs scored, giving the Phillies the victory:
Credit Roman Quinn for the speed, obviously, but that’s a play that needs to be made.
Regardless, the Phillies come away with the win on Sunday and the season series over the Dodgers.
Padres make road statement
The Padres had quite the road trip. We’ll loop back for a second to more than this weekend. Last weekend, they took two of three at Atlanta. Even if the Braves aren’t going nearly as strong as they were late last season, that’s still a formidable opponent. The Padres then traveled up to Philly and took two of three there — and remember, the Phillies had just won three of four at L.A. Then San Diego flew across the country without a day off to take on a fellow NL West contender in the Giants.
The Padres would survive in 10 innings on Friday with some late, clutch hitting. Saturday, they rode the right arm of Joe Musgrove (seven scoreless innings) to another one-run win. In the finale on Sunday, the Pads crushed the Giants by a tally of 10-1. NL MVP candidate Manny Machado paced the San Diego attack with three doubles, a triple and a walk; and rookie lefty MacKenzie Gore allowed one run on three hits in six innings of work. That three-game sweep caps a 7-2 road trip that moves the Padres to within a half-game of the Dodgers in the NL West.
Miggy, Pujols leaderboard updates
Tigers legend Miguel Cabrera doubled in the first inning on Sunday. It was number 603 in Cabrera’s illustrious career, which ties him with Cal Ripken Jr. for 16th all-time. Paul Molitor and Paul “Big Poison” Waner are next at 605, and then it would be Hank Aaron at 624, in 13th place. Albert Pujols is fifth in history at 674, though we aren’t here for updates in his doubles.
Pujols homered Sunday. Twice. Here’s the first one:
As with doubles, Pujols is also fifth in career home runs. He now has 683 for his career and four for the season. Alex Rodriguez sits fourth at 696 and then, of course, 700 would be the number many are eyeing.
Also, this was the 62nd career multi-homer game in Pujols’ career, tying him with Aaron and A-Rod for the sixth-most all-time. Babe Ruth has the record at 72, then it’s Barry Bonds with 71, Sammy Sosa with 69, Mark McGwire at 67 and Willie Mays at 63.
Brewers at Padres (three games beginning Monday): Potential playoff previews are always fun, even when October is still so far away. These two teams only play each other seven times in the regular season and they all happen within the next few weeks. It starts at beautiful Petco Park with both teams going pretty well. In fact, the best record in the NL through May is within reach for both.
Red Sox at White Sox (three games beginning Tuesday): Both teams were in the playoffs last season and had strong aspirations heading into 2022 before getting off to terrible starts. The Red Sox were nine games under .500 just a few weeks ago, but have since gotten hot. The White Sox had an eight-game losing streak early and have been working to recover ever since. The White Sox swept the Red Sox at Fenway May 6-8. Is it time for the Red Sox to return the favor with a road sweep?
Yankees at Rays (four games beginning Thursday): Will the division be within striking range here? It might not. Even though this is a four-game series, the Yankees entered Sunday with a 5 1/2-game lead in the AL East and there are games before this where things could change. Regardless, these are the top two teams in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, so it’s a must-watch series. It is also the first series between the two teams this season. The Rays won the season series, 11-8, last year.
Brewers at Cardinals (four games beginning Thursday): We’re following the Brewers all week, apparently. This one could end up being a series with implications that reverberate all season. It seems clear enough that of the five NL Central teams, there are three clear non-contenders. That leaves these two teams. How close will it be? The early-week series will help determine it, but the Brewers will head toward Monday with a three-game lead, so it’s entirely possible things flip during the series next weekend at St. Louis.