Five weeks into the 2022 season, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the major league baseball landscape. The Teams have played roughly 14 percent of their schedules with the books in another weekend. Sample sizes are getting larger and hopefully gained or lost by fan base across baseball.
As teams travel to start a new week, we wanted to recap the weekend with some of the best moments from the last three days in baseball, as well as what’s on deck this coming week. Let’s get to it.
Highlight of the Weekend
We’re suckers for clever baserunning, so it should come as no surprise that we’re giving the nod to Randy Arozarena’s savvy play on Friday night that saw him score from second base for the Rays against the Mariners without leaving the ball.
Arozarena was stationed at second when Harold Ramirez hit a dribbler toward third base. Eugenio Suárez fielded the ball and attempted to make a play, but instead accidentally rolled to a grounder to second base. By the time the Mariners defense could recover, Arozarena had made it home halfway and was able to slide safely.
Take a look:
Arozarena’s run would tie the contest, 5-5, and the Rays would later win the game thanks to a timely home run from Manuel Margot.
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Mother’s Day comeback / walk-off wins
It seems well within the realm of the possibility that a good number of fans will be in attendance on Sunday by virtue of Mother’s Day. MLB tickets remain an excellent gift idea and spending time at the ballpark for a day game is always a good family experience, after all. The home team prevailed in 13 of the 18 scheduled games, so that was fun.
What’s more, four of the wins were especially exciting for the home fans remaining in attendance in the ninth.
The Guardians got things started. They were down, 3-2, to the Blue Jays with just five outs left on the table. An Owen Miller home run tied things up. Then, with two outs, the Guardians mounted a rally and took the lead on an Oscar Mercado single. Emmanuel Clase closed things down and Cleveland is now 14-14.
That was the least-dramatic win we’re going to highlight here.
The Padres trailed a good portion of the game, falling 1-0 in the fourth with the Marlins tacking on another in the sixth. It was still 2-0 with the Marlins on two outs and one on the ninth when CJ Abrams singled to extend the game and bring the winning run to the plate in the form of Jorge Alfaro. And then, boom. Walk-off number one.
Seattle was in a bad way. After an 11-6 start, the Mariners had lost 10 of their last 11, including a heartbreaker on Friday night. They were on the verge of being swept and dropping their seventh straight, trailing 1-0 heading to the ninth. With one out, however, Abraham Toro went deep to tie the game.
In the 10th, the Mariners held the Rays off the board, despite the presence of the automatic runner. That made things a bit more simple for the Mariners in the bottom half, as they bunted the auto runner to third. After an intentional walk to Adam Frazier, Ty France came through the clutch.
Also of note here: The Mariners debuted pitching prospect George Kirby. The 2019 first-round pick (20th overall) jumped all the way up from Double-A, where he had a 1.82 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings. Skipping that level didn’t create any problems on Sunday, as he worked six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven against no walks.
The Angels were in danger of dropping a series to the Nationals last-place. It was 4-2 Nats heading to the ninth. After a one-out walk, Taylor Ward singled and it looked like the Angels were cooking with Mike Trout coming to the plate as the winning run. Trout struck out, though, and when Shohei Ohtani swung through the first pitch with two outs, things started to feel a bit dire. But then Ohtani delivered a game-tying double. Anthony Rendon would follow with the winning knock.
The Angels hold onto first place at 19-11.
An additional, fun wrinkle is that these three walk-off wins happened within about 15 minutes of each other.
Harper, Phillies hand scherzer rare loss
Give Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper this much: he knows how to make the most of a holiday. Harper was sporting a customized pair of cleats on Sunday to honor Mother’s Day. Take a look:
Predictably, he brought more attention to hitting his gear by hitting a home run in the first inning of the first two games on Sunday against the Mets. The blast gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead and earned Harper’s mother a shoutout:
That was Harper’s sixth home run of the season, for that keeping track. He entered the day batting .240 / .297 / .490 (127 OPS +) in his first 111 plate appearances. Harper later made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the third inning.
The Phillies went on to win by a 3-2 final (box score), handing Mets ace Max Scherzer his first loss since – believe it or not – almost a year ago, or May 30, 2021. Scherzer had not been credited. (or blamed) with a loss in any of his last 24 starts, including his first five this year.
Last-place Red Sox lose fifth in a row
The Red Sox entered Sunday with the worst record and run differential in the American League East. Unfortunately for Boston, an early game against the White Sox won’t change that. Instead, the Red Sox lost their fifth game in a row (box score).
Scheduled starter Michael Wacha was placed on the injured list to prioritize the game, forcing manager Alex Cora to give nod to Tanner Houck. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits. Boston’s bullpen did provide six-plus innings of scoreless relief, but the Red Sox ‘lineup couldn’t make it count.
Dallas Keuchel and a collection of relievers held Boston for two runs on nine hits and a walk. Collectively, they struck out 10 batters, with Keuchel recording five of them. Sunday marked the first time this season Keuchel worked more than five frames.
The Red Sox will have a five-game road trip that will include two games versus Monday The Braves and then three against the Rangers.
Rays at Angels (three games starting Monday): The Angels and Rays will enter the week with two of the better run differentials in the American League, making this a plausible playoff preview. If that doesn’t do it for you, then we’ll note that Wednesday’s probable matchup will be pit Shohei Ohtani against Shane McClanahan. That ‘s good viewing, folks.
Blue Jays at Yankees (two games starting Tuesday): The Yankees and Blue Jays will meet for a third time this season on Tuesday, albeit in an abbreviated two-game series. New York has held the advantage so far, winning four of the seven contests and outscoring Toronto by a 24-14 margin.
Astros at Twins (three games beginning Tuesday): It’s unclear if Carlos Correa will play in these games – he didn’t suffer a broken finger, as he was feared – but if he does mark his first time in his career he’ll be suiting up against the Astros. Correa, of course, spent the first seven years of his big-league career with Houston, making two All-Star Games and winning a World Series along the way. Even if Correa is unable to go, this should be another fun series between potential playoff teams.