By Sam McPherson
As the playoffs await all baseball fans just a week from now, here’s a look back at what happened in Major League Baseball last week. Hint: There were some home runs hit!
MLB collectively sets all-time HR record
Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon has hit 160 homers during his 11-year career, and he even hit one in 2015 World Series when the Royals won the MLB title. However, we think he might remember this home run from last week the most when his career is all said and done.
Gordon’s home run on Wednesday night was the 5,694th long ball this season, setting a new MLB record for the most HRs hit in a single season, collectively. The previous record was set in 2000, when Gordon was just 16 years old. There are a lot of interesting details about these homers in 2017, such the 18 inside-the-park HRs that had been hit through last Wednesday.
Stanton needs a big week to reach 60 HRs
Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton sits on 57 home runs right now, with six games left to play. He is certainly capable of launching a lot of balls into the sky and out of the park in a hurry, so he has a chance to reach the big milestone in the final week of the regular season.
Obviously, the Marlins slugger had a big week last week, but who says he cannot do it again? He has two games at Colorado this week, where the Rockies are pushing for a playoff spot—and may pitch around him. But those final four games at home against Atlanta could be very interesting.
Arizona, New York clinch probable home games for the postseason wild-card matchups
The last time the Diamondbacks made the playoffs was in 2011 when they were the surprise winners of the National League West. Overall, Arizona has just two postseason appearances since 2002 after winning the World Series the prior October. However, the club can celebrate now, as its win on Sunday clinched the top NL wild-card spot.
Over in the American League, the Yankees also clinched a postseason spot, just the team’s second playoff berth since the 2012 season. Remember when New York was an October mainstay, qualifying for the postseason 13 straight Octobers from 1995-2007? Four more consecutive playoffs appearances followed from 2009-2012, so it’s been a bit of a dry spell in the Bronx lately.
Oakland wins seven straight to earn season-best streak
This month started with the A’s amid an eight-game losing streak, their worst of the season. Last week ended with an Oakland-best seven straight victories, highlighted by a three-game sweep at the Coliseum of the Texas Rangers, which all but eliminated the defending AL West champs from the postseason chase. In the three games, A’s pitching held the Texas offense to just two combined runs in the three wins.
The first four wins in the streak came on the road in Philadelphia and Detroit, but overall, Oakland struggled this season away from home, posting just 27 wins against 50 losses (so far). Are the A’s sure they want a new stadium?
A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell brings anthem protest to MLB
Oakland and the Bay Area have a strong history of civil rights demonstration, and Oakland rookie Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to protest racial inequality in the United States during the playing of the national anthem when he took a knee on Saturday night before the game at the Coliseum.
Maxwell isn’t a star like the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry or former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. However, in exercising his right to free speech as a form of protest during the anthem, Maxwell joins a long line of athletes in the Bay Area community willing to do what he feels is right. MLB issued a statement supporting Maxwell’s right to express himself peacefully.