MLB AL East wrap up – 7/1/21
Jim Davis/Globe Staff
BOSTON RED SOX
The Red Sox entered the series with the Royals looking to take the series. Garrett Richards’ struggles continued as he gave up five runs in 5.2 innings. Hirokazu Sawamura and Josh Taylor kept the Royal offense quiet to let the Sox offense take the lead. Hunter Renfroe was 2-for-4 with three RBI for the night and two home runs. Bobby Dalbec hit his 19th home run of the season and went 2-for-4. Matt Barnes got his 17th save of the season.
Game two was not easy either as Nick Pivetta gave up six runs in 4.1 innings. Yacksel Rios, Darwinson Hernandez, and Adam Ottavino shut down the Royals offense and Barnes got his 18th save of the season. J.D. Martinez went 2-for-2 with two walks and four RBI. He was pretty much the reason why the Sox were able to win. The lead changed back and forth about six times until the Red Sox held onto the lead in the sixth inning.
J.D. Martinez had 4 RBI in last night’s win. Since joining the Red Sox, he has recorded 4+ RBI in a game 13 times, more than any other player in the majors during that time.
— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) June 30, 2021
SEVEN GAME SWEEP
The Sox took the next two games, sweeping the Royals before heading to the west coast. This completes the seven-game sweep against the Yankees and Royals. Martinez hit his 16th and 17th home runs resulting in eight RBI in two games. He had his 20th consecutive game reaching on base in Thursday’s game with a walk in his first at-bat. Nathan Eovaldi pitched another gem on Thursday, going seven innings and not giving up any runs.
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 1, 2021
The Sox now head to Oakland to face the A’s over the weekend.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
After an off-day on Monday, the Rays faced the Nationals in D.C. Rich Hill went six innings and gave up four runs. That was enough for the Nationals to win game one of the short series. The Rays were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. Wander Franco went 1-for-4.
Game two was a laugher for the Nationals as they beat the Rays 15-6. The Rays went with their opener strategy but it didn’t work this time. Wander Franco went 2-for-5 and Manuel Margot went 2-for-4 with a walk.
The Rays head to Buffalo to try to gain some ground against the Blue Jays this weekend.
NEW YORK YANKEES
After being swept against the Red Sox, the Yankees faced Shohei Ohtani and the Angels for four games. The Yanks reinstated Darren O’Day from the IL and optioned Kriske. The first game was pretty frustrating for fans as the pitching and offensive woes continued. Gio Urshela and Giancarlo Stanton both hit home runs in the game but it wasn’t enough to win. Michael King gave up three runs in 4.1 innings. Lucas Luetge and Chad Green each gave up a run as well.
Going, going, GONE-carlo. pic.twitter.com/MsyleoqFpK
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 29, 2021
Tuesday’s game was much better for the offense but Jameson Taillon still gave up five runs in 5.1 innings. Two of the home runs given were hit by Ohtani. Gary Sanchez gave the team the lead in the bottom of the first with a solo home run. After the lead was blown in the second inning, the offense rallied to grab the lead again. Aaron Judge added on a couple of more runs with a 2-run home run, his 18th of the season.
In the fourth inning, the offense added five more runs and an extra run in the sixth with Miguel Andujar’s home run. With 11 hits the offense scored 11 runs and it was enough for the team to break their four-game losing streak. Nestor Cortes and Albert Abreu did their jobs keeping the Angels quiet. After the game, the Yankees optioned Abreu and called up Justin Wilson.
WHAT IS GOING ON
Wednesday’s game was one many fans were looking forward to. Aaron Boone decided to give Judge a much-needed day off. The offense seemed to not mind that move because they scored four runs off of Ohtani in the first inning. Ohtani was removed from the game after two outs and walked Brett Gardner to load the bases again. This also meant they removed his bat from the lineup but that didn’t hurt the Angels at all. Two rain delays happened during the game with the second one not long after resuming from the first.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 30, 2021
Aroldis Chapman was brought on in the 9th inning to close the game and he was just wild. He couldn’t find the strike zone at all. This is known to be a problem when he has too long of a rest. His last game was on June 23rd. That isn’t the main reason for his struggle on Wednesday night.
Since June 10th, Chapman’s ERA is 17.47 and opponents are hitting .464 against him. Chapman needs to figure out what is going on because he is the closer and will be used often. The Yankees have “demoted” Chapman in order for him to figure out what’s going on before. Zack Britton took over the closer spot but since he is on the IL, it could be Chad Green to take over should the Yankees decide to try that out.
MENTAL DAY OFF
Game four of the series was postponed due to weather. It will be made up on August 16th. The Yankees can use the postponed game as a mental day off before the Mets visit the Bronx over the weekend. They can feel a bit better knowing they will not be facing deGrom as he pitched against the Braves on Thursday night. Jordan Montgomery will be facing Taijuan Walker tonight. Gerrit Cole will be pitching on Saturday against Marcus Stroman.
In needing outfield help with Aaron Hicks out for the season, the team announced they have acquired OF Tim Locastro from the Diamondbacks for RHP Keegan Curtis. He is an outfielder to play center field and provide speed for the team. They also announced that they acquired OF Aldenis Sanchez from the Rays as their player to be named from the June 17th trade for Mike Ford.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
The Jays faced the Mariners this week in hopes to add to their spot in third place in the standings. Robbie Ray went six innings and gave up three runs on Tuesday which gave up the lead the Jays had. The offense responded with another three runs and added another three runs to secure the win. Marcus Semien went 3-for-5 with five RBI and hit his 19th home run. Bo Bichette hit his 15th home run and went 2-for-5 with three RBI.
The Jays ended up losing the series to the Mariners. Steven Matz only pitched 2.2 innings during Wednesday’s game and gave up four runs. The Jays tied the game in the 9th and brought the game into extra innings but Patrick Murphy gave up three runs to give the Mariners the win. During Thursday’s game, Hyun Jin Ryu pitched four innings and gave up five runs with four of them earned. Marcus Semien went 3-for-4 with his 20th home run in the first inning and Bo Bichette went 2-for-4.
The Jays face the Rays in Buffalo as they try to inch closer to second place. Should be an interesting weekend for them. The team announced they have acquired Corey Dickerson and Adam Cimber from the Marlins for Joe Panik and Andrew McInvale.
The Orioles faced the Astros on Monday in Houston. Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays went 3-for-5 for the night. The offense scored three runs off of Zack Greinke in the five innings he pitched. Thomas Eshelman pitched five innings and gave up two runs. It was enough to win the first game against the Astros, who entered this series on a great run.
The O’s continued their hitting in game two as they scored 13 runs. Travis Lakins Sr. went 1.1 innings and gave up a run and three walks. Alexander Wells got the win with 2.2 innings pitched and gave up two runs. Mullins went 4-for-5 on Tuesday night hitting his 14th home run. Maikel Franco went 3-for-5 with three RBI.
The O’s ended up sweeping the Astros as Matt Harvey pitched 4.1 innings and gave up two runs. Those were the only runs given up to the Astros as the O’s scored five runs. Franco went 3-for-4 and Hays hit his eighth home run.
The Orioles look to continue their win streak as they head west to face the Angels over the weekend.
LET’S SPIN IT
The Yankees need to click together. I have said this before but it continues to be the theme of their series every week. They have time to get a playoff spot and need to start improving now. The Red Sox remain hot with their offense making sure they win games. The Orioles have a little pep in their step as they swept the Astros. The Jays still have to play better consistently and the Rays are slowly looking like their two/three-month window of hot baseball is dying down. The Jays and Rays can be switching places soon if the Rays don’t play better.
The infield starters for the American League during the All-Star Game will be represented by the AL East. Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will be representing the Red Sox. Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.will represent the Blue Jays. Aaron Judge will represent the Yankees and Teoscar Hernandez will represent the Blue Jays as starters for the outfield.
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