The New York Yankees have lost three games in a row for the first time this season after a 6-4 defeat against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

Making the win even more impressive for the Orioles was the fact that Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was on the mound, and superstar Aaron Judge blasted a first-inning home run.

Jose Trevino doubled the Yankees' lead with an RBI single in the second frame, before Cole began to struggle in the third.

Orioles batters Ramon Urias and Robinson Chirinos kicked off the third inning with back-to-back doubles, before Austin Hays drove in two with his base hit and Ryan Mountcastle made it 4-2 with an RBI fielder's choice.

Cole woke up after that, striking out the next five Orioles batters, and when Judge stepped up in the fifth inning and tied the game with his second home run, it appeared the Yankees were going to take over down the stretch.

But the Orioles would not go away, with Urias blasting his own home run off Cole to put his side up 5-4, and they were able to add an extra insurance run in the top of the last inning.

Judge's two home runs take his tally to 17 for the season – five more than any other player.

The Yankees still hold a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers as the best team in baseball, now 29-13.

Dodgers win with small-ball

The Los Angeles Dodgers piled on 10 runs without a home run as they defeated the Washington Nationals 10-1.

Of the Dodgers' 10 runs, one was driven in through a ground-out, four through singles with runners in scoring position, four with doubles, and one via a Christian Taylor triple.

Trea Turner finished with a game-high three RBIs, while Freddie Freeman collected a game-high three hits from five at-bats.

Tyler Anderson was superb on the mound for the Dodgers, pitching eight full innings for eight strikeouts while giving up no runs, no walks and five hits.

Goldschmidt delivers in extra innings

St. Louis Cardinals first-baseman Paul Goldschmidt continued his historic hitting streak in style, capping off his side's 7-3 win against the Toronto Blue Jays with a walk-off grand slam in extra innings.

With the game tied at 3-3 after nine innings, the Cardinals were able to hold the Blue Jays scoreless in the top of the 10th, before two walks loaded the bases for Goldschmidt.

He blasted the fourth pitch of the at-bat 366 feet over the left-field wall to give his side the win, and extend his hitting streak to 15 games.

Since RBIs became an official stat in 1920, no player has ever matched Goldschmidt's numbers of 28 hits, 12 doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs over a 15-game stretch.

The New York Mets treated their home crowd to a thrilling extra-innings walk-off victory, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 7-6 on Thursday.

With their top-three pitchers – Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill – all out injured, the Mets gave starter Chris Bassitt some early run-support as a Pete Alonso base hit and a Jeff McNeil fielder's choice made it 2-0 in the opening frame.

St. Louis fought back with a towering 414-foot solo home run to Juan Yepez in the second inning, and then tied it up with another solo shot from Paul Goldschmidt an inning later, before Goldschmidt made it 3-2 with a RBI double in the fifth frame.

McNiel drove in another two Mets runs in the bottom of the fifth, opening up a 5-3 lead, but Goldschmidt would again come through for the Cardinals, grounding out to drive in one in the seventh, before tying the game at 5-5 with an infield single in the ninth to force extra innings.

After future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols gave the Cardinals a lead, Pete Alonso closed the show for the Mets in the bottom of the 10th inning, crushing a 447-foot bomb into the left-field bleachers to win the game.

Bassitt pitched six-and-a-third innings for four earned runs and three strikeouts, helping the Mets move to the third-best record in the league at 26-14.

Santander delivers against Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles had a memorable 9-6 win against the New York Yankees thanks to a three-run Anthony Santander walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.

After a back-and-forth battle, the Yankees tied the game 6-6 at the top of the ninth inning with a D.J. LeMahieu single, but the New York bullpen could not send it to extra innings.

An error and a base hit got two Orioles on base, and with Santander just needing a single to win the game, he instead launched a shot over the left-field fence for a dramatic walk-off win.

Trevor writes his own story    

Trevor Story played his best game as a Boston Red Sox player in his side's 12-6 win against the Seattle Mariners, hitting three home runs.

Story, 29, was the Red Sox's biggest off-season acquisition, but has struggled to start the season, with only two home runs entering Thursday's game. He turned that around in a big way with a 402-foot two-run home run in the second inning, and a 403-foot two-run bomb an inning later.

After a single in the sixth inning, Story capped off his day in the eighth frame with a 358-foot three-run shot, giving him seven RBIs in the game. 

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Matt Harvey has been given a 60-game suspension for violating MLB's drugs program when he provided drugs to the late Tyler Skaggs.

Harvey was a Los Angeles Angels team-mate of Skaggs' prior to his death in 2019.

The 2013 All-Star admitted he provided drugs to Skaggs during the trial of ex-Angels employee Eric Kay, who was convicted in February of giving the player the oxycodone that led to his death.

Kay is scheduled to be sentenced in June, and MLB has now confirmed Harvey's suspension without pay, which is retroactive to April 29.

Harvey re-signed with the Orioles last month on a minor-league contract.

"We support all aspects of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and their ruling in this particular case," Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said.

"I am glad that Matt now has the opportunity to put this part of his past behind him and pursue another shot with our organisation after serving his suspension."

Boston Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi made unwanted history after becoming the third pitcher in major league history to allow five home runs in an inning as the Houston Astros won 13-4 on Tuesday.

Eovaldi allowed homers to Yuli Gurriel, Michael Brantley, Jeremy Pena, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez in the second inning as the Astros raced to a 9-1 lead.

The 32-year-old Red Sox right-hander lasted only one and two-third innings, allowing eight hits and six earned runs with no strikeouts.

It was the first time in Astros franchise history that they have had a five-homer inning.

"They did an outstanding job hitting mistakes," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

"We didn't get any swings and misses. Obviously, it's surprising. Now, we just have to move onto the next one."

Cora added on Eovaldi: "He's a strikethrower, right? He was in the zone, and they had a gameplan. They got good pitches to hit. I think that's the bottom line."

Eovaldi has allowed 14 homers this season for the Red Sox, who have a 14-22 record.

 

Judge takes season HR tally to 14

Aaron Judge continued his big-hitting form with two homers taking his season tally to 14 in the New York Yankees' 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Judge homered in both the third and fifth innings, finishing the game with four hits and three RBIs. The game marked Judge’s third multi-homer game of the season and the 19th of his career.

It could have been three homers for Judge, with his first-inning drive smacking into the top of the 13-foot barrier, before he was thrown out at third base.

 

Rookie Morel blasts first at-bat

Rookie Christopher Morel created some positive history when he became the first Cub to homer in his first big-league at-bat since Willson Contreras in 2016 in the Chicago Cubs' 7-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The prospect added an exclamation point to the big win when he was sent in for a pinch-hit with his side 6-0 up in the eighth inning, delivering a blast over left field from Chase De Jong.

"I've known this guy for a really long time, and he makes me proud," Contreras said. "It was amazing. He told me [he would homer], and I felt like he was going to get something done… Once I saw the ball going out, I was like, that was a no-doubt. That kid has some pop in his bat."

The New York Yankees continued their red-hot start to the season with a 6-2 away win against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

With the win, the Yankees are now 26-9, and sit three games clear atop the standings.

As has been the story with the Pinstripes this season, their power was again the driving force in their success, with every run scoring as a result of an extra-base hit.

New York took the lead in the third inning through a Giancarlo Stanton RBI double, before Jose Trevino gave the Yanks some breathing room with a three-run homer an inning later.

Anthony Santander launched his own long-ball in response for the Orioles, making it 4-1 later in the fourth inning, and that score would hold all the way through to the ninth frame.

After Luis Severino pitched six terrific innings, allowing just one hit – Santander's home run – with two walks, the big bats came back to the plate to put the icing on the cake.

Josh Donaldson blasted the longest shot of the night for a 395-foot solo shot, before Rizzo topped it as the very next batter, sending his solo home run 406 feet through the Baltimore sky.

In a consolation for the home fans who stuck around, Santander hit his second bomb of the night in the bottom of the ninth.


Cubs go crazy in first inning

The Chicago Cubs wasted no time putting their 9-0 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates to bed, jumping out to a 8-0 lead in the first inning.

Pirates starting pitcher Dillon Peters was only able to get two outs before being pulled from the game as the Cubs piled on eight hits and two walks for their eight runs, highlighted by a grand-slam from Willson Contreras in his second plate appearance of the inning.

Cubs pitcher Wade Miley was lights-out, retiring 12 straight batters through the fourth inning, and finished with just one hit allowed, and no walks, through seven complete frames.

Brewers battle for 1-0 win

A wild pitch was the only thing that could bring in a run in the Milwaukee Brewers' 1-0 win against the Atlanta Braves.

Freddy Peralta was spectacular on the mound for the Brewers, striking out 10 batters in seven full innings, conceding just two hits and one walk.

Ian Anderson was not much worse for the Braves, giving up four hits and two walks in his six innings, but a costly wild pitch in the sixth inning while a runner was on third base gifted the Brewers the game's only run, and the win. 

It was a rare joyous day at the ballpark for Detroit Tigers fans on Friday as future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cabrera put on a show in their 4-2 home win against the Baltimore Orioles.

There was also a glimpse into the future of the franchise as their brightest young talents came through in big spots.

Cabrera, 39, brought home the game's first run with an RBI double in the third inning, before he doubled his side's advantage when he connected with his second home run of the season from his next plate appearance in the sixth inning.

Later in the sixth inning, exciting 25-year-old Puerto Rican Willi Castro made it 3-0 with his own RBI double, before one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Spencer Torkelson, drove Castro in to make it 4-0.

The Orioles threatened a comeback in the eighth frame as Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander hit a pair of solo home runs, but that would be all as Will Vest came in to collect the save.

It was a great starting pitching performance from Eduardo Rodriguez, who was the Tigers' big off-season signing from the Boston Red Sox, going six complete innings while giving up five hits and four walks for no runs.

Rodriguez has not allowed any more than four runs in any start this season, but this was the first time he was credited with a win, despite it being officially his third 'quality start'.

 

Big-swinging Yankees stay hot

Having their best start to a season since 2003, the New York Yankees banked another win with a 10-4 road victory against the Chicago White Sox.

On the back of a strong start by ace pitcher Gerrit Cole, striking out nine while giving up three runs in six-and-a-third innings, sluggers Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton all hit home runs in a devastating demonstration of power.

The win moves the Yankees' league-best record to 24-8. The eight previous times they have had at least 22 wins from their first 30 games, which was the case this season, they have gone on to make the World Series.

Angels debutant pitches a gem

Chase Silseth became the second pitcher in Los Angeles Angels history to go six full innings and allow one or fewer hits in his major league debut as his side shut-out the Oakland Athletics 2-0.

The 21-year-old rookie also gave up just two walks for three total baserunners, while striking out four.

He joins Rudy May, who accomplished the feat in April 1965.

Gerrit Cole was once again in impressive form for the New York Yankees, as they beat the Kansas City Royals 3-0 on Saturday.

The 2021 Cy Young runner-up claimed his second win in as many starts this season, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out six in 91 pitches over a dominant six innings.

Cole's performance on the mound was particularly important, given his team did not hit any home runs this time around.

The Yankees (29) only trail the Toronto Blue Jays (30) for home runs this season, and the top of the order in DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo claimed one hit out of a combined 11 at-bats.

Aroldis Chapman worked a hitless ninth for his fifth save of the season, moving the Yankees to 15-6 and the top of the American League East.

Undermanned Giants still make light work of Washington

The San Francisco Giants are keeping pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West despite a number of Covid-19 enforced absences, claiming a 9-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

Not scoring a home run before this series against the Nats, Jason Vosler went deep for the second consecutive day – hitting the famous Bay at Oracle Park - while Darin Ruf had three hits from five at-bats.

The hitting performance came at an ideal time, with Giants starter Logan Webb giving up a career-high 11 hits and striking out three in 95 pitches over six innings.

Orioles break losing streak in extra innings

The Baltimore Orioles claimed a shock win in extra innings, defeating the Boston Red Sox 2-1 at home to end a five-game losing streak.

Jorge Mateo scored the winning run for the Orioles, after a Robinson Chirinos bunt with runners on first and second forced an error from Red Sox pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura, launching the ball past third baseman Rafael Devers.

Orioles reliever Jorge Lopez came up big, pitching two hitless innings before retiring Alex Verdugo in the extra inning with two outs and runners on first and third.

Tensions between the St Louis Cardinals and New York Mets boiled over on Wednesday as the benches cleared for a brawl, before the Cardinals won 10-5.

J.D. Davis had to leave at the top of the eighth inning after he was hit in the foot by a Genesis Cabrera pitch, making for the 19th time a Mets hitter has struck by a pitch this season, the most in MLB so far.

Mets reliever Yoan Lopez retaliated against Nolan Arenado later in the eighth inning, launching a fastball near the Cardinals DH's head. Arenado demanded he do it again, before the benches cleared, and he was ejected from the game.

The 31-year-old nine-time Gold Glove winner had an otherwise great day out for the Cardinals, claiming three hits and three RBIs in as many at-bats.

Mets starter Carlos Carrasco had one to forget, though, giving up eight hits and as many runs in 78 pitches, not making it past the fourth inning.

Stanton propels Pinstripes to victory

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 350th career home run, as well as the go-ahead sacrifice fly, with the New York Yankees defeating the Baltimore Orioles 5-2.

Stanton ended a 14-game drought with a two-run drive off Tyler Wells in the first inning, while Joey Gallo notched his third straight game with an RBI, and homered for the second consecutive game.

Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery gave up four hits and two runs over 71 pitches, before making way for Michael King in the sixth inning.

Gallen gives Diamondbacks a shock win

Zac Gallen pitched six scoreless innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed an upset 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 26-year-old starter allowed only two hits and managed five strikeouts with 90 pitches in those six innings.

D-Backs short stop Nick Ahmed homered in the fifth inning, while Mark Melancon claimed his fourth save, not giving up a hit in the final frame.

In-form Anthony Rizzo produced the first three-home run game of his career while Joey Gallo blasted his first of the season as the New York Yankees won 12-8 over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.

Rizzo opened the scoring with a three-run homer in the third inning, before Gallo slugging a two-run blast in the fourth inning to end his lean run to start the season.

Rizzo added a two-run shot in the fifth inning to put the Yankees up 6-0, while Aaron Judge also got in on the act with a homer on his 30th birthday.

The Orioles closed the gap to 11-8 before Rizzo completed a treble of home runs with a third in the eighth inning.

Rizzo sits on top of the majors charts with eight home runs this season, while he has 13 runs, 17 hits and 18 RBIs.

Twins walk-off miracle

The Minnesota Twins miraculously defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-4 after two wild walkoff runs after catcher Eric Haase's errant throw.

At the bottom of the ninth with two out, the Twins trailed 4-3 when Miguel Sano's hit to right field led to a baserunning blunder.

However, the Twins were bailed out when Haase lobbed a throw too high to third base, allowing Trevor Larnach and Gio Urshela to correct their mix-up and both get home for victory.

Trout homers in Angels win

Mike Trout homered for the fifth time this season as the Los Angeles Angels won 4-1 over the Cleveland Guardians. Trout had two hits for three RBIs in the win.

The Arizona Diamondbacks rallied from 3-0 down to win 5-3 over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were left to rue sloppy fielding from Cody Bellinger before David Peralta's two-run eighth-inning homer.

Carlos Rodon had nine strikeouts with three hits across six innings as the San Francisco Giants improved to 13-5 with an 8-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

After seven consecutive road games to start their season, the New York Mets put on a show for their home crowd at Citi Field in a 10-3 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Making his second start of the season, Chris Bassitt was lights out again for the Mets, pitching six full innings for six strikeouts while only giving up one run and four total baserunners.

After Pete Alonso drove in the first two runs through two sacrifice-fly balls, Robinson Cano delivered the first big shot of the day with a solo home run in the third inning, before Francisco Lindor bombed a two-run jack in the fifth frame.

Starling Marte would get in on the action in the eighth inning, connecting on a 391-foot three-run homer, before Lindor added his second long ball of the day in the very next at-bat.

 

 

 

Orioles walk-off with a walk

The New York Yankees went down 2-1 in extra innings against the Baltimore Orioles as the winning run was gifted home plate with a walk.

Giancarlo Stanton was the lone bright spot for the Yankees on the offensive side of the ball, getting three hits from five at-bats and driving in New York's only run.

The two starting pitchers – Jordan Montgomery for the Yankees and Jordan Lyles for the Orioles – combined for 10 innings of work for only one earned run.

Juan Soto made history with his 100th career home run in the Washington Nationals' 16-4 loss to world champions, the Atlanta Braves, on Tuesday.

Soto, 23, became the youngest player in franchise history to reach 100 career home runs with a moon shot at the top of the sixth inning.

The homer, which travelled 451 feet according to Statcast to right-center field, was the fourth longest of his career.

"It just comes to me. I never tried to hit a homer, or anything like that," Soto told reporters. "I’m one of the guys who just tries to hit singles every day. So for me to become consistent hitting homers, it’s just impressive and it tells how good I’ve been working on my body and everything."

Soto is the seventh active player to blast 100 homers at age 23 or younger, having first homered as a 19-year-old in 2018.

The Braves ultimately got the win after 10 runs in three innings to open up a 10-1 lead after four innings, but Soto finished with two hits, one run, one walk and one RBI.

Ozzie Albies, who finished with three hits, two runs and three RBIs, blasted his first homer of the 2022 season in the fourth inning.

Giancarlo Stanton continued his remarkable home-run hitting form against the Boston Red Sox as the New York Yankees won 4-2 on Saturday.

Yankees slugger Stanton homered for the sixth consecutive game against the Red Sox, hitting the go-ahead two-run homer to left center field in the sixth inning.

Boston had gone ahead in the second inning from Alex Verdugo's two-run homer, before Anthony Rizzo equalled the feat in the fourth inning to level the game up.

The victory means the Yankees have begun the new season with a 2-0 start, ahead of the third and final game of their series against the Red Sox on Sunday.

"I can’t say it’s the rivalry or anything," Stanton said about his record against the Red Sox. "I’m doing my homework and getting the ball over the plate."

 

Dodgers offense shut down

The Los Angeles Dodgers struggled on offense as they slumped to a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, who were sparked by an eighth-inning Connor Joe homer.

Rockies closer Daniel Bard shut down the Dodgers in the ninth inning to round out the win, striking out Justin Turner, Edwin Rios and Cody Bellinger.

Austin Barnes had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, while Mookie Betts had an eighth-inning RBI single to tie the game up, before Joe's go-ahead blast.

 

Alonso hits career-first grand slam

Pete Alonso clubbed a fifth-inning grand slam to lead the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 5-0. That marked 27-year-old's first career grand slam and comes after Alonso had been left with a bloodied lip after being struck by a Mason Thompson fastball earlier in the series.

The benches cleared in the Chicago Cubs' 9-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers after tempers flared between the division rivals when right-hander Keegan Thompson hit Andrew McCutchen in the hip with a fastball.

Dylan Cease stepped in for the Chicago White Sox with eight strikeouts across five innings in their 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Cease remarkably boasts a 9-0 record against the Tigers in 10 starts.

 

Saturday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox 5-2 Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Minnesota Twins
St Louis Cardinals 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs 9-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Texas Rangers
Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 Oakland Athletics
Miami Marlins 2-1 San Francisco Giants
New York Yankees 4-2 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 1-0 Cleveland Guardians
New York Mets 5-0 Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres 5-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels 2-0 Houston Astros

 

Astros at Angels

The Los Angeles Angels take on the Houston Astros in the final game of their thrilling four-game series, with Shohei Ohtani potentially back on the mound after being rested for the past two games.

After a chaotic offseason, which included a lockout and pushing back Opening Day, baseball is almost back.

With a new collective bargaining agreement in place, two new playoff spots up for grabs and plenty of big-name player movement, it is shaping up to be an enthralling MLB season.

The defending champion Atlanta Braves may have improved, despite losing star Freddie Freeman to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Yankees' position as the best team in New York could soon be under threat. 

With so many storylines, the most logical place to begin is right at the very top.

 

Can the Braves go back-to-back?

As is often the case, the World Series race is wide open, but Atlanta is at least in the mix as far as the pre-season odds go.

Some would consider the Braves' run last season a fluke – they won 88 games in the regular season, while the 91-win Toronto Blue Jays and 90-win Seattle Mariners missed out on playoff berths entirely.

However, they were missing superstar Ronald Acuna Jr for a large chunk of the year, and made meaningful additions at the trade deadline including Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson, and their playoff surge indicated that the record was not an accurate reflection of their talent.

While they lost franchise legend Freeman to the Dodgers, the Braves are arguably getting an upgrade at first base in the form of Matt Olson, who is four years younger and was a two-time Gold Glove winner with the Oakland Athletics before being traded for a four-player package of young Braves prospects.

Max Fried and Charlie Morton comprise a stout top of the rotation while Mike Soroka is out injured, and they have some strong bullpen arms including Tyler Matzek and Collin McHugh.

The Braves are a team without a clear weakness and will be full of confidence, so expect them to be fighting it out at the top of the NL East against the second-most expensive team in baseball, the New York Mets, as they bid to become the first team to win consecutive World Series since the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

 

Are the Mets the best team in New York?

Since 2001, the New York Mets have only finished with a better record than the Yankees twice, in 2015 and 2016.

During that span, the Mets have never had a more expensive payroll than their local rivals – until this year.

The Mets are projected to come into Opening Day trailing only the Dodgers with the second-highest payroll in the league at $251million, while the Yankees are third at $239m.

It represents more than just deep pockets for second-year owner Steve Cohen, it shows that the Mets are no longer the 'little brother', and are willing to spend what it takes to be taken seriously against the most decorated franchise in major league history.

Buck Showalter will be the man tasked with turning the money into wins in his first year in the role, the former three-time AL Manager of the Year known for maximising talent on a limited budget with the Baltimore Orioles from 2010 to 2018, a stint that included a playoff series win over the Yankees.

Ultimately, what the Mets' season will hinge on is the health of their starting pitchers, with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer (who turns 38 this season) comprising the best one-two punch in baseball after Marcus Stroman left as a free agent to join the Chicago Cubs. DeGrom has already been sidelined for four weeks with a shoulder injury.

The rotation also includes 2021 All-Star Taijuan Walker, who tailed off late last season, but showed impressive ability when fresh.

Francisco Lindor remains the young jewel of the franchise – now two seasons into a 10-year, $341m contract extension – and along with power-hitting Pete Alonso and rangy center-fielder Starling Marte, there is plenty of quality stepping into the batters' box.

The Yankees will have one of the highest-ceiling batting line-ups when they roll out sluggers Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo, but they also play in the league's toughest division in the AL East, and could be candidates for regression after losing pitcher Corey Kluber and trading away bats Gio Urshela and Luke Voit.

 

 

Did the best team in baseball not make the playoffs in 2021?

It may be hard to believe, but given the meat grinder that is the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays are bookmakers' second-favourite to win the World Series despite not making the playoffs this past season.

The Blue Jays were top three in runs scored in 2021 and should again be one of the most explosive teams in the league this time around.

Toronto will also be able to enjoy a homecoming season, returning to Rogers Centre after the Blue Jays were forced to play their 2021 home games in Buffalo due to pandemic restrictions.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette are franchise cornerstones, last year's big signing George Springer was enormous in an injury-shortened debut campaign, and they have the luxury of adding Matt Chapman this season, who has two Platinum Gloves to his name as one of the best defensive players in the league.

Pitching remains the question mark in Toronto, with AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray departing for Seattle in a serious blow to a rotation with plenty to prove.

Nobody should be surprised if the Blue Jays jump up from fourth in their division all the way to the top, and are one of the teams with real World Series aspirations this season.

 

Which top prospect will establish themselves as a star? 

There will be some elite prospects finding their way in the majors this season, but will any of them burst onto the scene as a star?

In 2017, Judge did more than just win Rookie of the Year, he led the AL in home runs and finished second in AL MVP voting.

While there is always a chance that an unheralded rookie emerges as the premier prospect, there is a relatively clear top-tier consisting of three players entering the season.

Kansas City Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr, Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman and Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez.

Rutschman will hit for average from both sides of the plate while projecting as an elite defensive catcher, Witt is the five-tool stud who will make eye-popping plays with his glove at shortstop, and Rodriguez is the big, power-hitting corner outfielder.

At 24 years old, Rutschman is the senior of the class, while the other two are considerably younger at 21, but all three will have a chance to prove themselves early in the year as franchise-altering stars – and potentially become the biggest story of this season.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet in the American League (AL) Wild Card showdown after winning late to deny the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

Four teams were vying for two AL Wild Card berths on a chaotic finale to the MLB's regular season, with the possibility of a four-way tie.

While the Mariners went down to the Los Angeles Angels 7-3, the Blue Jays crushed the lowly Baltimore Orioles 12-4 to give themselves a chance of forcing a Game 163 as they watched the Yankees and Red Sox contests anxiously.

But the Yankees and Red Sox produced two clutch hits to secure their spot in the play-offs.

Aaron Judge drove home the winning run in the ninth inning of the Yankees' 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Red Sox overturned a 5-1 deficit to trump the Washington Nationals 7-5 behind Rafael Devers' two-run homer in the ninth.

 

Giants win NL West on final day

The San Francisco Giants clinched the National League (NL) West title for the first time since 2012 with a 11-4 rout of the San Diego Padres. San Francisco denied World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to their franchise-record 107th victory of the season, eclipsing the 1904 New York team. The Dodgers topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 to settle for an NL Wild Card meeting with the St Louis Cardinals.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (48) – alongside Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals – and Padres sensation Fernando Tatis Jr. (42) ended the regular season as the home run leaders in their respective leagues. It is the first time in AL-NL history both leagues were led by players aged 22 or younger thanks to Guerrero and Tatis.

Dodgers star Trea Turner became the first NL player to lead the league in hits in back-to-back seasons since Terry Pendleton in 1991 and 1992. On the back of his second grand slam in 48 hours, Turner finished with 195 hits. He also won the NL batting title (.328), ahead of Washington's Juan Soto. Yuli Gurriel (.319) of the Houston Astros claimed the AL title.

Corbin Burnes became the first Brewers pitcher to earn an ERA title, having topped the NL at 2.43, beating Dodgers starters Max Scherzer (2.46) and Walker Buehler (2.47) to the honour. Toronto's Robbie Ray (2.84) led the AL's ERA standings.

 

Injury worries

The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers all have injury concerns heading into the Wild Card round. Yankees star DJ LeMahieu landed on the injured list due to a hip/groin problem ahead of Sunday's game. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez exited in the sixth inning with a sprained left ankle. Meanwhile, Dodgers slugger Max Muncy is "very unlikely" to feature in the NL Wild Card Game because of a left elbow injury sustained in the third inning.

 

Guerrero breaks record

Having earned a share of the AL home run title, Guerrero made history. His 48 homers are the most in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, eclipsing Eddie Matthews (47 in 1953).

 

 

Sunday's results

Los Angeles Angels 7-3 Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox 7-5 Washington Nationals
Cincinnati Reds 6-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians 6-0 Texas Rangers
San Francisco Giants 11-4 San Diego Padres
New York Yankees 1-0 Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays 12-4 Baltimore Orioles
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers 5-2 Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers 10-3 Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins 7-3 Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros 7-6 Oakland Athletics
Miami Marlins 5-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Cubs 3-2 St Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Braves 5-0 New York Mets

 

Yankees at Red Sox

The famous Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will take centre stage for Tuesday's AL Wild Card blockbuster in Boston. Gerrit Cole will face Nathan Eovaldi in a mouth-watering pitching matchup. The winner will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series (ALDS), starting Wednesday.

The American League (AL) Wild Card race is set for a chaotic conclusion after the New York Yankees failed to clinch as the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners all won in MLB action on Saturday.

In New York, the Yankees were prevented from securing their Wild Card berth following a 12-2 rout at the hands of AL East champions the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brandon Lowe hit three home runs to thwart the Yankees, who are now level with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL Wild Card standings heading into Sunday's regular-season finale.

The Red Sox topped the Washington Nationals 5-3, while the Blue Jays and Mariners – who have celebrated 90-plus wins for the first time since 2003 – are a game adrift following respective wins over the Baltimore Orioles (10-1) and Los Angeles Angels (6-4).

There is a chance for a four-way tie if the Yankees (91-70) and Red Sox (91-70) both lose and the Blue Jays (90-71) and Mariners (90-71) win, which would leave the quartet with 91 victories apiece.

The 2021 AL East is the second division ever with four 90-plus win teams (the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays) and first time since the split to three divisions per league.

 

Urias keeps Dodgers alive in NL West battle

Julio Urias became the first pitcher in his age-24 season or younger to win 20-plus games in a campaign since future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw in 2011 after leading World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8-3 success against the Milwaukee Brewers. Urias pitched one-run ball into the seventh inning to help the Dodgers (105-56) remain in the hunt for a ninth successive National League (NL) West title after leaders the San Francisco Giants (106-55) lost 3-2 to the San Diego Padres. The 2021 NL West is the first ever division to have two teams with 105 or more wins in a season.

Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease became the second set of Chicago White Sox team-mates to each record 200-plus strikeouts in a season, joining Tom Bradley (206) and Wilbur Wood (210) in 1971. The White Sox edged the Detroit Tigers 5-4.

 

Blackburn battered

Paul Blackburn was put to the sword as the Houston Astros secured home-field advantage in the AL Division Series (ALDS) with a 10-4 win at home to the Oakland Athletics. A's pitcher Blackburn was tagged for a season-high six runs on seven hits in just two innings.

 

Blue Jays set franchise record

With their 258th home run, the Blue Jays set a new single-season franchise record for homers in the win over the lowly Orioles. Danny Jansen's bomb in the bottom of the fifth inning broke the team's record. Blue Jays star and MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also equalled the record for most home runs in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, joining Eddie Matthews (1953), with his 47th homer. Seven Blue Jays players have 20-plus home runs this season, tying a team record.

 

 

Saturday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 12-2 New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays 10-1 Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox 5-3 Washington Nationals
San Diego Padres 3-2 San Francisco Giants
Miami Marlins 3-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 Cincinnati Reds
Texas Rangers 7-2 Cleveland Indians
Chicago White Sox 5-4 Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins 4-0 Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros 10-4 Oakland Athletics
Chicago Cubs 6-5 St Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Braves 6-5 New York Mets
Arizona Diamondbacks 11-2 Colorado Rockies
Seattle Mariners 6-4 Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 Milwaukee Brewers

 

NL West title in balance

The NL West champion will be crowned on Sunday as the Dodgers host the Brewers on the final day of the regular season, while the Giants entertain the Padres. The Dodgers must win and hope the Giants lose to tie for the title and force a deciding Game 163 in San Francisco on Monday.

Page 1 of 12
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.