We're just over 2 months into the 2021 MLB season, and there's been plenty of exciting storylines to go around. Between the crackdown on "sticky-stuff" (see Will Tondo's article here), a red-hot resurgence for the Red Sox, and a new generation of "baby bombers" making their mark on the game, it's refreshing to see baseball back on the minds of sports fans nationwide.
Let's look back on the week and recap what went down in baseball.
Yankees back on track after subpar start; turn their 3RD(!!!!!) triple play of the year
It's a rarity for a team to turn a triple play EVER...let alone THREE TIMES in one season! Enter the New York Yankees, who have desperately been needing things to go their way after quite literally limping their squad into June. After spinning a triple-play against the Blue Jays earlier in the week, the Bronx Bombers found themselves in quite the pickle against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday; runners on 1st and 2nd, nobody out, and a wild Aroldis Chapman on the mound. Then, some luck struck:
The Yankees become only the 8th team of all time to turn 3 triple plays in one season; most recently, the 2016 White Sox accomplished that feat (courtesy of SABR). After a 2-7 skid featuring losses to the Rays, Phillies, and a sweep against their sworn enemies in the Boston Red Sox, many in the Bronx turned to panic. But since then, the Yanks have turned it around to go 5-1 on the strength of a sweep of the Blue Jays and a gritty 2-1 series win against the red-hot Oakland A's.
Kyle Schwarber (Nationals) homers 5 in 2 games
The Chicago Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber in December, allowing him to hit free-agency for the first time in his fairly youthful career. While many inquired about the hard-hitting & versatile left-handed outfielder, the Washington Nationals won the sweepstakes.
The way Schwarber has been playing lately will have the Cubs tossing & turning for not putting a bit more effort into re-signing him. Despite hitting a measly .232 overall, he's registered 15 homers and 38 RBI's, including a monster 5-homer weekend against the Mets.
The Nats put Schwarber in the leadoff hole just a few weeks ago. It's been 13 games since they made the lineup change; and he's homered a total of SEVEN times with 14 RBI's. Some splits for a lefty power hitter...
Shohei Ohtani stays red-hot
If you're known as "Japan's Babe Ruth," you'd be best served having weekends like the 26-year-old Shohei Ohtani has been putting up. The left-handed slugger has also been dominating all year as a right-handed starting pitcher, and this week was no exception.
If you lost count, that's 6 homers he slugged...the same amount of innings pitched that it took for him to strikeout 5 guys, allow 1 earned run, and get the win for the Angels. How's that for fireworks?!
A few months ago, Ohtani quite literally did something that no one had done in 100 years: he was the first player to toe the mound while also leading the MLB in home runs. The last player to do that? Babe Ruth (no kidding), who did it in 1921. Sit back and enjoy the "Sho."
Positivity Corner (like we do on the pod!): Joey Votto makes up for a young fan
Everyone loves Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto; a true class-act who has been reliable from first base while always upholding the standards of the game. But everyone has their moments, and in the 1st inning of Saturday's game against the San Diego Padres, Votto was ejected after a scuffle with both the 3rd-base and home plate umpires.
No Reds fan was more disappointed than six-year-old Abigail Courtney, who was excited to see Votto in action in her hometown ballpark, but crushed to see him leave.
But Votto, a known friend of his fans, was quick to rectify the situation. After Abigail had the opportunity to relax over some popcorn, Votto signed a ball for Abigail and had it delivered to her seat.
Be like Votto!