MLB weekend recap: Yankees wipe out Cubs to maintain incredible pace; The troubles of the Dodgers get worse against the Giants

We are in mid-June, which means “winter” sports are gearing up and there will be a window before football season where it’s all baseball among America’s major professional men’s sports. In our world, it is simply the season of grinding. We know this is a 162-game marathon with ups and downs.

What did this weekend bring us? Let’s take a look.

Highlight of the weekend

Let’s see those moves, Randy Arozarena:

Pretty impressive stuff there and great call from the MLB social media person with the Twister reference. Do people still play it? Hmm …

Either way, the Rays would end up prevailing Sunday in Minnesota to save one in three before a big series coming next week (we’ll get to that in a bit).

The giants finish the sweep of the Dodgers

It has been tough sleighing for the Dodgers for the past two weeks or so, and they have to hope this weekend against the Giants was a minimum. The Dodgers have been swept away in three games – San Francisco won final 2-0 on Sunday – and also lost ace Walker Buehler to an elbow injury. He will miss her a long time.

Los Angeles went 2 of 24 with the runners in scoring position in the three games, prompting manager Dave Roberts to say his bout lacked a “first team mentality”. Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski scored solo home runs against Julio Urías in Sunday’s first inning, and Carlos Rodón and the Giants bullpen raised the two points to complete the sweep.

The Dodgers are 37-23 and have lost nine of their last 13 games. They are still leading the NL West, even though their lead is reduced mid-game over the Padres. The Giants, meanwhile, are 33-26 and 3 1/2 games in the division.

José is a racing car

José Ramírez, third baseman of the Guardians, has been one of baseball’s best players for some time and may very well have a career year. At least as far as production is concerned, it is. He was on display on Sunday. A had a 1-0 lead at the top of the first inning, but Ramírez’s brace with two RBI in the lower half brought Cleveland to the table. Ramírez scored on Thursday and Friday and then drove in three races on Sunday for a streak of five RBI while the Guardians took three out of four. They won 10 out of 13 and moved a short distance from the Twins in AL Central.

Ramírez now has 59 RBI in 56 Guardians games. No player has taken home more points than his team has played games in a full schedule from Manny Ramirez’s 165 RBI in 1999. And, indeed, this is his only such season since the schedule was expanded to 162 games. There is a long way to go here, but it deserves our attention.

Going to sign

The weekend saw some pretty long winning streaks, both on the bright side and the bad side. The As had a 10-game losing streak with a win on Saturday. The Brewers scored an eight-game losing streak with Sunday’s win. The Phillies had won nine straight wins before finally losing on Sunday. The Braves emerged from the weekend with their series intact, however, having won 11 in a row.

Those long streaks of three contenders (at least would-be contenders) are a good example of how quickly things can change when playing every single day.

It’s not entirely surprising that the Yankees completed a three-game sweep against the Cubs. They are the very best team. They needed 13 innings on Friday before finally giving up on things, but then they wiped out the Cubs 8-0 on Saturday and completely bullied them in Sunday’s 18-4 win. Again, not shocking.

It’s noteworthy, though, because the Yankees are playing at a ridiculous pace. They are now 44-16, which is a 162-game pace of 119 wins. The record for victories in one season is 116, shared by the Cubs of 1906 and the Mariners of 2001. Remember the Yankees dynasty at the turn of the century? The largest number of games won by the group in a regular season was 114, in 1998. This is also the franchise’s record for victories.

Perhaps also noteworthy: the Yankees have won at least 105 games five times in franchise history. All five of these teams have won the World Series.

On the bridge

Rays at Yankees (three games starting Tuesday) / Yankees at Blue Jays (three games starting Friday): The AL East race is not close. Right now, the Yankees have an 8 1/2 playing advantage over the Blue Jays and they are nine over the Rays. There is an opportunity here, it just depends on who takes it. The Yankees could really hurt the Rays and Jays by winning both series and pushing this thing into double figures. On the other hand, if both teams in the queue win the series, the division picture gets mixed up as the Yankees get back into the group a bit.

Brewers at Mets (three games starting Tuesday): It’s a possible preview of the playoffs, so it’s always worth highlighting. These two teams in particular, however, deserve to be seen right now. The Brewers have just landed an eight-game losing streak. During that streak, they lost their hold on first place. The Mets are still leading the NL East, but the wave of the Braves has made it a race again instead of a breakaway. There is the potential for a fun series here with many more keeping an eye on things.

Angels at Dodgers (two games starting Tuesday): It’s Los Angeles versus “Los Angeles”, right? Whatever you want to call this series, it’s a fun interleague match with tons of starpower. The Angels have recently suffered a crippling losing streak while the Dodgers have also not played well, but this remains a streak not to be missed.

Cardinals to the Red Sox: Another World Series preview? It seems like a long thing at this point, but the Braves of 2021 and the Nationals of 2019 are two recent examples of why it would be madness to leave out a team like these Red Sox. These two teams are also currently in playoff position. We have seen the matchup in the Fall Classic twice recently, in 2004 and 2013. It also happened in 1946 and 1967.

White Sox to Astros: It’s a rematch of last season’s ALDS, but much more noteworthy would be keeping an eye on how things are going for the White Sox. They have been one of the most disappointing teams this season and manager Tony La Russa is about to start listen to the choirs of the home crowd in favor of his dismissal. This is still a tough series, but will the White Sox play for La Russa’s job?

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