There’s nothing quite like a Dodgers-Padres series and an April win streak to generate some excitement. We also saw some excellent performances from around the league, and we’ll revisit them in the latest Week that Was!
A few eye-opening stories
It’s been 84 years. Well, maybe not that long ago. As of Sunday morning, the last time the Athletics lost a game was April 6, where they fell to the Dodgers. Since then, it’s been a string of wins for Oakland. The Orioles snapped the streak on Sunday, but the A’s 13-game win streak this month is the longest in baseball since 2017. When you remember that the A’s started the season at 1-7, this feat becomes all the more admirable. Their thirteenth win on Saturday night was fueled by Jed Lowrie’s three-run bomb, in tandem with a solid six-inning outing from starter Chris Bassitt. Lowrie is on a bit of a resurgence path himself. The 37-year-old's .367 on-base percentage is something to note, as well as his .874 OPS through 79 plate appearances this year.
Since returning to the Padres’ lineup after his shoulder dislocation, Fernando Tatis Jr. has resumed showing up in this column, as well as the history books by having back-to-back two-homer nights. On Friday, he continued the Tatis tradition by taking the Dodgers deep twice. On April 23, 1999, Fernando Tatis Sr. hit two grand slams in one inning at Dodger Stadium, only for his son to hit two home runs at Dodger Stadium years later, also on April 23.
As if that wasn’t enough, Tatis took Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer deep twice on Saturday night. Tatis playfully covered his eye after rounding first base during his trip around the bases, a not-so-subtle nod to Bauer’s spring training experiment of pitching with one eye closed to improve his command. When asked about his reaction to Tatis’ celebration, Bauer mentioned that he’s “all for it”, and such celebrations in baseball should be normalized.
Adolis Garcia is one of a handful of fantastic rookie stories so far this year; formerly of the Cardinals, the 28-year-old is in his first stint with Texas and has provided some excellent production at the plate. Garcia is a speedy defender with great hitting prowess; he went 2-for-4 and homered twice against the White Sox on Friday night. Garcia is a former Cuban national team star, who also spent some time with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball.
Kenley Jansen earned his fourth and fifth saves this week, on Tuesday vs. Seattle, and again on Saturday vs. San Diego. On Saturday, Jansen’s final out was nabbing Trent Grisham on a swinging strike, with a 94.9 mph cutter. Jansen’s fifth save of the year was a four-out save; he’s now almost halfway to his 2020 save total of 11. The 33-year-old closer now has a 1.93 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched over eight appearances.
Jazz Chisholm, Jr. is a player to watch and has had a heck of a week, with multi-hit games on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Friday, Chisholm’s solo shot homer was smoked at 110.5 mph. The 23-year-old rookie sensation appears to be locked-in as the Marlins' primary leadoff hitter moving forward. Through Saturday, he had four steals, four home runs, and a .293/.391/.586 batting line.
Gerrit Cole fanned 11 on Saturday vs. Cleveland, outdueling reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber as the Yankees won, 2-1. The only miscue was allowing Cleveland two consecutive hits. He now has a 2.45 ERA through five starts; Cole has struck out at least seven batters in each of his starts, and has a strikeout total of 50, second in all of MLB. Cole’s 14.9 K/9 rate leads the American League.
Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes continues to be absolutely unhittable - on Tuesday, Burnes recorded 10 strikeouts over six shutout innings in a win over the Padres. The 26-year-old became the first pitcher in major-league history to open a season with four consecutive starts with at least nine strikeouts and zero walks. He'll carry a microscopic 0.37 ERA, 0.33 WHIP and 40/0 K/BB ratio across 24 1/3 innings (four starts) into his next start on Monday.
As if Jacob deGrom’s dominance on the mound wasn’t enough, he can also dominate at the plate, too: he went 2-for-4 on Friday, with an RBI double and two runs scored. In case you want to know how he did pitching-wise, he struck out a career-high 15 batters while tossing his sixth career shutout as the Mets beat Nationals, 6-0. As for his numbers this season, deGrom is playing like someone’s The Show character: he’s allowed just one earned run in 29 innings, resulting in a 0.31 ERA and 50/3 K/BB ratio.
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Honor Roll: Lightning Round
Yoan Moncada (3-for-4, HR, BB, 3 RBI on Friday, three singles on Saturday), Kevin Gausman (8 IP, 1ER, 2H, 11K on Saturday), Buster Posey (3-for-4, 2 HR on Tuesday), Austin Meadows (3-for-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI on Tuesday), Salvador Perez (2-for-5, 1 RBI on Wednesday), Brady Singer (7 IP, 0R, 3H, 8K on Wednesday), Ryan O’Hearn (1-for-2 in season debut on Friday, 1 HR, 2 BB), Austin Hays (2 HR, 3 RBI on Sunday), Zac Gallen (9IP, 0R, 1H on Sunday), Kent Emanuel (8 2/3 IP in relief, 2R, 5H, 5K on Saturday), Michael Kopech (5IP, 4H, 1R, 10K on Sunday)
Mike Trout was hit on the elbow by a 93 mph fastball thrown by Astros right-hander Cristian Javier on Thursday, and was out of the lineup on Saturday; as of now, he’s considered day-to-day and is not expected to spend any time on the injured list. According to Angels manager Joe Maddon, Trout has not had any X-rays on the elbow.
Christian Yelich hasn’t played since April 11, and has been out due to lower back stiffness. The former NL MVP underwent an MRI on Saturday; according to manager Craig Counsell, "There's no news from the MRI that's going to change how we're proceeding. We're going to try to increase activity as we can." This may not be reassuring news to fantasy managers, but it sounds like Yelich will miss more games.
Miguel Sano of the Twins was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Wednesday with a right hamstring strain. Top prospect Alex Kirilloff was called up in a corresponding move and should see time between first base and the outfield while Sano is on the shelf.
Cody Bellinger has been on the IL since April 6 with a hairline fracture to his left fibula. There is no timetable for his return, though he did take batting practice on Thursday. While this is good news, there's still a bit of a ways to go before the former MVP will be cleared to do other things on the baseball field.
Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates aggravated his wrist injury on Thursday, as the discomfort crept back up after taking an awkward swing at a pitch. However, Hayes reported feeling much better Friday after visiting the doctor and receiving treatment. It sounds as if it should not be a major setback, and will be able to return to the lineup sooner than later.
Trea Turner was removed from Sunday’s game against the Mets after being hit on the elbow with a pitch from Taijuan Walker. He was sent for precautionary X-rays, which came back negative; he’ll be re-evaluated before the Nationals’ next game on Tuesday. As of right now it does not sound as if Turner will miss a prolonged amount of time.
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A restaurant in Chicago has paid a culinary tribute to 28-year-old rookie sensation Yermin Mercedes with a burger called the Yerminator. Freddie’s on 35th revealed via their Instagram that they formulated the burger’s recipe while thinking of Dominican-inspired flavors. The burger is topped with pickled onions, sweet peppers, cabbage, and chimichurri sauce, and the single option costs $4.85.
The White Sox released a video of Mercedes himself taking a bite of the burger and savoring it; given his reaction, it’s got his seal of approval. Mercedes’s first month of his rookie season has been just as delicious; his batting average leads the Major Leagues at .424, and he has five games so far with three or more hits.
This past Week that Was had everything we could hope for: eye-opening dingers, a historic win streak, rookies that rake, and the most important: hamburger endorsements. What will the Week to Be bring us? Find out next week!