The Monday Takeaway
The Dodgers are 88-35. The last team to be 88-35 through 123 games: The 2001 Mariners. Remember them? They won 116 regular-season games and then ran into the Yankees in the ALCS and were sent home after five games.
This year, the Dodgers have a chance to challenge the Mariners’ record. They’re currently winning games without their ace Clayton Kershaw, who is still on the disabled list, and every time you think they may slow down they don’t. They lost their 20th game of the season on May 24. They lost their 30th game on July 20. At this rate, they may not lose their 40th game until sometime in September.
In case you were wondering if the recently traded Curtis Granderson would fit in with the Dodgers, don’t worry, he fits in just fine. Granderson, who joined the team this weekend, helped lead the Dodgers to their 88th win of the season on Monday night in Pittsburgh. It wasn’t easy and it took more than nine innings, but the Dodgers were celebrating in the end.
So how did they get there? Well, the Pirates had a 3-0 lead heading into the seventh inning with their starter Gerrit Cole still on the mound. They got their first run on a Corey Seager RBI single and then Cole loaded the bases for Granderson. The count was 2-1, and on his 112th pitch of the night, Cole hung a slider over the plate, which Granderson deposited it into right-center field for a go-ahead grand slam.
For Granderson it was his eighth career grand slam and his second in a week. He happened to hit one in his last at-bat as a Met in the last game of the Subway Series against the Yankees at Citi Field last Thursday.
The Dodgers were up 5-3, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long as the Pirates tied it up in the bottom of the eighth. Neither team would score until the top of the 12th inning, when your friend (and my friend) Yasiel Puig took matters into his own hands and took Pirates reliever Dovydas Neverauskas deep to start the inning.
Andrew McCutchen singled to start the bottom of the 12th and advanced to second, but that was all the Pirates would get as Ross Stripling closed it out for the unstoppable Dodgers, who celebrated their win by doing this:
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) August 22, 2017
When you have 88 wins on August 21, you can pretty much do anything.
The Red Sox and Indians, who could possibly meet in a postseason series, played what turned into a pretty crazy game.
It featured home runs by Andrew Benintendi …
Andrew Benintendi smacks a two-run home run over the right-field wall in the top of the 1st inning, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead
… Roberto Perez …
Roberto Perez hammers a three-run home run to center field in the bottom of the 2nd inning, giving the Indians a 3-2 lead
… and Hanley Ramirez.
Hanley Ramirez smashes a two-run home run over the left-field wall in the top of the 5th inning, giving the Red Sox a 4-3 lead
It featured an umpire getting hit by an errant warmup throw and having to leave the game.
Joe Kelly misses upstairs with a warmup pitch and hits the home plate umpire directly in the mask
It featured Andrew Miller re-injuring his bum right knee seven pitches into his appearance and having to leave the game.
Andrew Miller leaves the game with a right knee injury after facing only one batter in the top of the 7th inning
And it featured a miscue by Brock Holt that led to a walk-off victory for the Indians in the bottom of the ninth inning.
To be honest, the Red Sox have had too much good fortune lately, so it’s about time something like this happened to them. Let them experience what it’s like to be, say, the Phillies for a night. They’ll be fine.
The Rangers and Angels met in a battle between second place and fourth place in the American League West. I realize that doesn’t seem that important, but the three teams in the middle of the standings in the AL West are separated by one-and-a-half games and they’re all in the thick of things in the Wild Card race. Even Texas at 62-62 is only two games out of a Wild Card spot. It’s pretty insane how bunched up the AL Wild Card race is. If you love baseball and you love chaos, you will be rooting for a six-way tie at the end of the regular season because Rob Manfred will not know what to do.
Anyway, the Rangers and Angels met up in Anaheim and the Rangers won 5-3. Cole Hamels got his ninth win of the season, Adrian Beltre hit his 14th home run of the season, and Alex Claudio picked up his seventh save.
Here’s Beltre’s dinger:
Adrian Beltre launches a three-run home run to left field, giving the Rangers a 5-1 lead in the 3rd with his 14th homer of the year
The Angels were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and they didn’t have an extra-base hit all game.
Defensive Play of the Day
The Giants preserved a shutout against the Brewers on this play to nail Stephen Vogt at home, which was important because they were the last team in the majors to throw someone out at home.
What to Watch On Tuesday
Masahiro Tanaka (8-10) is making his return to the Yankees from the disabled list to start against Matthew Boyd (5-6) and the Tigers. The last time these two teams met it was in the Bronx and Detroit took two out of three, so the Yankees are looking to exact a little revenge. (7:10p ET)
Tanner Roark (9-8) and Charlie Morton (10-5) will be facing off as the Nationals and Astros are meeting up in a series this week. Both teams lead their respective divisions by rather large margins. The Nats are up by 14 games over the second-place Marlins, while the Astros are still sitting pretty 12.5 games over the second-place Angels. (8:10p ET)