By Sam McPherson
Every week brings new wonders to the world of baseball, and the last seven days were no exception. Records were set, a lot of games were won, and there were some losses, too, of course. Here are some highlights from last week’s MLB action—in case you missed them.
Three Oakland rookies hit first MLB home runs in the same game
The Athletics had an interesting week, getting swept at home by the Houston Astros before going on the road to sweep the Chicago White Sox. In Saturday’s 10-2 win over the South Sider squad, the A’s made some history, accomplishing something that hadn’t been done since 1914: three players on Oakland’s roster each hit their first career home runs in the same game.
Shortstop Franklin Barreto, center fielder Jaycob Brugman and right fielder Matt Olson each went deep at Guaranteed Rate Field as Oakland matched the feat of the Federal League’s Kansas City Packers over 103 years ago. Coincidentally, that other occurrence happened in Chicago, too: Weeghman Park was the site, however, now known as Wrigley Field.
Baltimore pitching sets a record it didn’t want
After a 15-8 start to the season, the Orioles have fallen on hard times, winning just 22 of 52 games since then. One of the biggest issues has been the pitching, where Baltimore just went 20 straight games giving up at least five runs each time out to the opponent. From June 3 to June 23, the Orioles gave up 160 runs over 20 games, and to no one’s surprise, Baltimore lost 14 of those games.
The 1924 Philadelphia Phillies also had a 20-game stretch of pitching futility, and the Orioles were spared the horror of owning the record all by themselves on Saturday when they beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3. However, on Sunday, Baltimore pitching reverted to form despite winning the game, 8-5.
Dodgers put together impressive 10-game win streak
We thought double-digit victory runs were somewhat rare, but the Los Angeles Dodgers become the third MLB team this year to accomplish the feat with a 12-6 win over the Colorado Rockies. Overall, L.A. has won 16 of its last 17 games to take over first place in the National League West Division.
Strangely, the Dodgers scored four times on wild pitches by Colorado pitchers, a statistic so odd that fans would think the game was played at Coors Field. Los Angeles now owns the best record in the NL with its 51-26 mark. The Dodgers lost the NL Championship Series last year to the eventual champions, but this looks like it could be L.A.’s year.
Cody Bellinger sets record for fastest player to 21 HRs
One of the reasons the Dodgers have been so good is rookie first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger, who became the fastest player in MLB history to hit 21 HRs last Monday. Bellinger tied the record for hitting his 20th homer in his 51st game, but he added a second deep ball to break the next record.
By the end of the week, Bellinger was up to 24 HRs in just 240 plate appearances. At this rate, the Dodgers rookie will end up with 60 home runs, which would break the all-time rookie record (49) held by Oakland’s Mark McGwire, set back in 1987. However, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has 26 HRs as a rookie right now, albeit in 71 more plate appearances than Bellinger. Anyone up for a rookie HR record chase?
What a difference a year makes in San Francisco
Last year in late June, the Giants were on their way to 57 wins at the All-Star break with the best record in baseball. Since then, however, the San Francisco organization has been in a tailspin, winning just 57 games and losing 93 games in regular-season play. After dominating the first half last season, the Giants were the first MLB team to suffer 50 losses in 2017.
With a 27-51 record through Sunday’s game, San Francisco is in last place among NL West teams. The Giants are 24.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers, even though S.F. has won six of the ten matchups between the two teams this year. It’s going to be a long summer at AT&T Park.