By Sam McPherson
Baseball is an equalizing sport, where even the worst teams still win one out of three, on average, over the course of the season. Using those expectations, though, it was an unusual week for both the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants, two of the worst teams this year in Major League Baseball.
First-place Rockies take four straight from last-place Giants
San Francisco is on pace for 100 losses, which would be the ugliest season for the team since 1985. It seems the Giants can do little right in 2017, after having so many things go their way from 2010-2016. Alas, the glow of those amazing seasons is starting to fade a bit, thanks to moments like these.
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The S.F. offense had come alive in the top of the ninth to take the lead and perhaps avoid the sweep on the road in Denver, but high-priced, free-agent closer Mark Melancon gave up four straight hits to the Colorado lineup in the bottom of the inning to take a painful loss for the Giants. San Francisco is now 19.5 games out of first place—and 18.5 games out of the second National League wild-card spot. And it’s not even July yet.
Last-place Athletics squeak out four consecutive wins against first-place Yankees
Oakland has the worst record in the American League, but somehow the A’s are just 4.5 games out of a playoff spot thanks to a lot of bunched mediocrity around them. The team did themselves a great service, though, by sweeping the New York Yankees—leaders of the AL East—at the Coliseum, winning the four games by a combined six runs total. The A’s registered a fun walk-off win Thursday to start the momentum rolling.
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Sometimes, you’d rather be lucky than good, but the Oakland club was both against the Bronx Bombers. Now, let’s see what the A’s can do with this win streak. After all, Oakland is 14.5 games out of first place in the AL West, despite the much-smaller wild-card deficit.
Mets are the “walking dead” team of 2017
Outfielder Juan Lagares became the latest member of the New York Mets to get seriously injured this season, and the pile of injuries bodies continues to mount for the 2015 NL champions. Somehow, though, the team is in second place among the NL East teams, although that’s not saying much considering New York’s 31-37 record this year.
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In alphabetical order, the Mets have lost the following players to injury this season: shortstop Asdrúbal Cabrera, closer Jeurys Familia, starter Matt Harvey, Lagares, starter Tommy Milone, starter Noah Syndergaard, second baseman Neil Walker and third baseman David Wright. Combined, these players have made 12 All-Star teams. That’s a lot of talent to lose to injury.
Twins score 20 runs in one game in an otherwise bad week for the team
The scoreboard could have read, “Vikings 20, Seahawks 7″, on Tuesday in Minneapolis. But it was the Twins that ripped off 28 hits to beat the Mariners with ease. Left fielder Eddie Rosario hit three home runs and drove in five, even though coming into the game, he had just five HRs and 16 RBI coming to the game.
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By the way, in their next six games that closed out the week, the Twins scored just 18 runs combined and got swept in a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians at home. Sometimes in baseball, you’d rather save some of those extra runs for the days ahead.
Cubs continue to experience a wild ride as defending champions
Chicago is currently playing .500 ball in the defense of its World Series title, and the Cubbies are fortunate to be just 2.5 games out of first place in the NL Central. They have no chance at the wild-card spot right now, either thanks to the dominance of the NL West teams in Arizona, Colorado and Los Angeles. Thus, every win matters for Chicago.
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The Cubs scored six runs on six hits in the top of the ninth on Friday night in Pittsburgh to grab a victory right out of the jaws of defeat. Chicago batted around in the inning, and if the defending champs make the postseason, this is a game everyone will remember as one reason why.