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The Weekend Takeaway

Two teams hit milestones this weekend. The first-place Boston Red Sox reached the 70-win plateau thanks to a 9-1 win over the Tigers on Sunday afternoon. Chris Sale struck out nine and Jackie Bradley finished with three RBIs. Sale, who now has 197 strikeouts, pitched six innings and picked up his 11th win.

He did see his streak of games with at least 11 strikeouts end at five but nine K’s is nothing to sneeze at. Sale is a big reason for the Red Sox being five games ahead of the Yankees in the American League East standings. Another big reason, the Red Sox can beat bad teams.

Boston took two out of three against the Tigers and they start a three game series at Baltimore on Monday. The Red Sox are 9-1 against the lowly Orioles so far this season and I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that they’ll more than likely be 12-1 against the O’s by the time the series ends. Now don’t bet money on it because you never know what could happen—that whole you can’t predict baseball thing—but it’s probably going to happen.

Out west, the Seattle Mariners became the fourth team to reach the 60-win plateau on sunday with a win over the White Sox. Boston, Houston and the Yankees have all passed the 60-win mark. The somewhat surprising Mariners are 60-40 and are currently the AL’s second Wild Card team behind the Yankees.

On Sunday, Ryon Healy hit two three-run home runs for the M’s and Marco Gonzales pitched a gem as they beat the White Sox 8-2.

Gonzales didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning and finished his outing with one out in the seventh inning. He gave up two runs on four hits and struck out six on the way to his 11th win of the season.

The Mariners are still ahead of the A’s by three games for the second Wild Card but the A’s are keeping up and that race is far from over.

Quick Hits

It’s become a bit of a joke among baseball circles to make fun of the Mets for injuries that befall their players. It’s been going on for years on Twitter and across most social media platforms and Sunday’s news didn’t disappoint. The team announced that Noah Syndergaard had been diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease. Primarily a childhood disease, hand, foot and mouth disease is highly contagious and it seems Syndergaard contracted it after spending time at a kid’s camp over the All-Star break. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, feeling unwell, irritability, and loss of appetite. Blisters can also form and that happened to Syndergaard. The illness is spread through skin-to-skin contact, something as simple as a handshake and can also be caught through airborne respiratory droplets; sneezes and coughs.

The Mets are, of course, keeping an eye on other members of the team to make sure they don’t also fall victim to the illness. They expect Syndergaard to miss only one start but at least they now know the reason for his diminished velocity on Friday night against the Yankees.

***

Speaking of diminished velocity, Aroldis Chapman had one of his worst outings of the season on Saturday afternoon against the Mets. He walked three, hit a batter and gave up a single while only throwing three strikes in a 19-pitch outing. Also troubling for the Yankees, Chapman’s velocity readings; he was only hitting 97 on the gun and just looked bad.

The Yankees are saying that Chapman just had a bad day. They better hope that was all it was.

***

Brewers Infielder Hernan Perez hit Austin Barnes with a pitch in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ 11-2 win over Milwaukee on Sunday. Don’t feel bad for Barnes, the pitch was only 48-mph.

It’s both amusing to see a pitch that slow and watch as the batter doesn’t even make an effort to move. Barnes seemed fine with it. He took his base with no issue.

Brewers catcher Erik Kratz also had to pitch on Sunday. He and Perez pitched three scoreless innings combined.

Another story from the Dodgers/Brewers series, aside from Manny Machado’s debut is Matt Kemp’s resurgence. Kemp, who made the All-Star team, led off both the second and third innings of Sunday’s game with home runs.

Kemp is partying like it’s 2011, or something. Well, not quite. He nearly won the MVP in 2011. This year, he is hitting .316/.358/.542 with 17 home runs and 62 RBI. Remember when people were goofing on the Dodgers for acquiring him again? Who’s laughing now?

***

The Pirates beat up on Matt Harvey and the Reds on Sunday en route to their ninth win in a row. Harvey pitched 3 ⅔ innings and gave up eight runs on eight hits. Four of those hits were home runs.

Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte went back-to-back off Harvey in the second inning.

Dickerson has now hit a home run in four straight games and he went 4-5 on Sunday. Gregory Polanco and Sean Rodriguez also went deep for the Pirates in their 9-2 win.

But perhaps the most important hit of the game came off the bat of Pirates starter Ivan Nova.

Nova finally ended an 0-63 streak with a single in the top of the sixth.

***

Also in Pittsburgh:

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

***

There were four walk-off wins this weekend.

On Friday night, the Blue Jays walked off against the Orioles thanks to a Aledmys Diaz single in the bottom of the 10th.

Diaz had four hits including a home run in the Jays’ 8-7 victory over the Orioles.

Out in Oakland, the A’s capped off this weekend’s edition of the Bay Bridge series by winning both Saturday’s and Sunday’s game in walk-off fashion.

On Saturday, it took 11 innings for the A’s to walk off on Jonathan Lucroy’s walk-off single.

And on Sunday, after the A’s bullpen blew a lead and after the newly acquired Jeurys Familia’s impressive two-inning debut, Matt Chapman’s walk off gave the A’s the Bay Bridge Trophy.

Familia picked up his first win as an A just a day after being traded from the Mets.

And finally…

The Walk-off Grand Slam of the Weekend:

It seems as if someone is hitting a walk-off grand slam every weekend. Okay, fine, it has only been the past two weekends but this time the big hit came off the bat of Daniel Robertson of the Rays:

It was the first walk-off granny in franchise history and even better, it was a pinch hit, walk-off grand slam as Robertson had just come into the game to replace Adam Moore.

The Marlins had a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth it looked like they were well on their way to a series sweep. Reliever Kyle Barraclough replaced Brad Ziegler and it took the Rays 40 pitches to get it done but they scored five runs to win the game and salvage the last game of the series.

Defensive Play of the Weekend

Here’s a story about a guy named Trevor who made a jump throw to nail Nick Ahmad at first base in the second inning of Saturday’s game against the Diamondbacks.

What to watch on Monday

The Yankees who are four and a half games behind the 70-win Red Sox are in Tampa for the start of a three-game set. The last time these two teams met, the Rays swept the Yankees out of Tropicana Field. Luis Severino is set to take the mound for the Yankees and the Rays will counter with Hunter Wood.

The Dodgers are visiting Philadelphia with new acquisition Manny Machado in tow and in the first game of their three-game set it’s Ross Stripling vs. Zach Eflin. Philly was a team mentioned in the Manny Machado sweepstakes so it will be intriguing to see if he’ll be booed like he was in Milwaukee this weekend for something he couldn’t control.

The only west coast game on Monday night belongs to the Angels and White Sox. Lucas Giolito and Jaime Barria will be facing off against each other. Giolito is 6-8 while Barrias is trying to even his record at 6-6.

Thank you for reading

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