By Sam McPherson
The month of July is always an exciting one in baseball, as America celebrates its birthday along with its national pastime. England may have Wimbledon in July, but nothing matches baseball for excitement in the United States every summer. Here are the highlights from last week’s MLB action!
Oakland trades Doolittle and Madson to Washington while sweeping Cleveland at Coliseum
After beating the defending American League champions on both Friday and Saturday evenings, the Athletics announced a trade on Sunday morning. The Oakland organization sent its best two relief pitchers—Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson—to the Washington Nationals in exchange for middling prospects. The A’s on the field responded by completing their sweep of the Tribe on Sunday afternoon.
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Doolittle was the last remaining player on Oakland’s roster from the 2012-2014 playoff squads, and his trade marks the end of an era at the Coliseum. Along with former catcher Stephen Vogt, the A’s fans now have lost two of their favorite players in the last month or so as the A’s rebuild their roster … again.
Madison Bumgarner returns to the San Francisco Giants, but team still loses series in San Diego
The Giants ace made his first start since April on Saturday at PetCo Park, but despite the excitement surrounding MadBum’s presence on the mound, San Francisco lost to the Padres, 5-3. However, Bumgarner looked decent in his comeback after hurting himself in a biking accident earlier this season.
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It’s way too late for the Giants to make a run at October this season, especially with starter Johnny Cueto going on the disabled list to make room for MadBum on the roster. After losing on Sunday to San Diego as well, the Giants remain 29 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West Division.
Halos get Trout back from injury and look to make run at postseason
Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, and the Los Angeles Angels were thankful for his return to the lineup Friday night after he suffered a thumb injury earlier this year. However, Trout struck out to end the game Friday night, showing that even the reigning AL MVP may need some time to get his game back.
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The Angels lost two of three over the weekend to the Tampa Bay Rays, but L.A. is just 3.5 games out of the final AL wild-card spot for October. Perhaps Trout can jump-start his teammates and start making up that ground now that he is back healthy again. If so, he could end up with his third MVP nod this fall despite missing 40 games with his injury.
Canó wins All-Star Game for AL with extra-inning HR
Pitching dominated the Midsummer Classic for nine innings, as the two teams went into the 10th inning tied, 1-1. With Chicago Cubs closer Wade Davis on the mound, Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Canó—an eight-time All-Star selection and a former Home Run Derby champ—came to the plate.
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Cleveland’s Andrew Miller closed out the NL in the bottom of 10th to preserve the win, which gives the AL home-field advantage again in the World Series this October. This was the fifth consecutive victory in the All-Star Game for the AL, and overall now, each league has won 43 Midsummer Classics since the start of the tradition back in 1933.
Aaron Judge wins the Home Run Derby
The New York Yankees rookie outfielder has been lighting up scoreboards across the sport with his prodigious power, as he leads the majors with 30 HRs. Therefore, it was only fitting that he illuminated the skies above Marlins Park with his long bombs while winning the Midsummer Classic’s annual contest.
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Overall, Judge put 47 balls into the stands during the Home Run Derby, and his longest shot went 513 feet. The 47 HRs in the Derby were the second-most bombs in the history of the contest, and Judge joined Tino Martinez (1997), Jason Giambi (2002) and Canó (2011) as Bronx Bombers to win the event.