Major League Baseball keeps rolling along, and the storylines are quite interesting.
The baseball season is officially in full swing. With any luck, the off days and postponed games of early are over and we can start to enjoy baseball day-in and day-out, the way it’s meant to be enjoyed. Of course, in a lot of ways, baseball is already in midseason form. Injuries are starting to pile up quickly and benches have cleared a few times. Let’s take a look at some of the top MLB storylines of the past week.
The Mets have only lost twice this season, but somehow that’s the same number of catchers they put on the DL this week. Within less than 24 hours, the Mets lost Travis d’Arnaud to Tommy John surgery, effectively ending his season, and Kevin Plawecki, who suffered a broken hand that will likely cost him a month of action. The Mets had stashed veteran Jose Lobaton in the minors, so he figures to be the stopgap. However, there has already been speculation about the Mets acquiring a catcher elsewhere, with J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins and Wilson Ramos of the Rays being mentioned as possible trade candidates.
It didn’t take long for the bad blood between the Yankees and Red Sox to become evident. In just the second meeting between the teams this season, benches were cleared resulting in multiple suspensions. It started when Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin made contact with Brock Holt while sliding into second base.
Red Sox pitcher proceeded to plunk Austin with a pitch later in the game. Austin charged the mound and another Red Sox-Yankees fight ensued. Kelly claimed the pitch wasn’t intentional, but both he and Austin received suspensions. Oh, and the Red Sox took two of the three games in the series. We’ll see if things have cooled when the Red Sox visit the Bronx next month.
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Believe it or not, the Red Sox-Yankees fight wasn’t the best fight of the week. That honor goes to the Rockies and Padres. San Diego’s Luis Perdomo threw behind Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, and an irate Arenado charged the mound, resulting in a brouhaha that took a little longer than usual to get contained. As Arenado charged, Perdomo threw his glove at him, missing wildly and failing to keep Arenado from coming after him. Both players were suspended, as was Gerardo Parra, who was in the middle of the fight.
You have to feel for the Texas Rangers, who have been bitten by the injury bug a little more than most teams early in the year. Second baseman Rougned Odor was lost early in the year, and he’s been joined on the DL by shortstop Elvis Andrus, who will miss six to eight weeks with a broken elbow. If their middle infield wasn’t enough, center fielder Delino DeShields is also out until the middle of May with a broken hand. Pitchers Doug Fister and Tim Lincecum are also on the shelf. Prior to Saturday’s win, the Rangers had lost five in a row, dropping them to last in the AL West, with injuries being a big reason why.
With the Mets seeing their 9-game winning streak end Saturday night, the Angels are arguably the hottest team in baseball right now. The Halos have won seven in a row and 10 of their last 11 despite already having to use nine different starting pitchers because of injuries. The key has been getting regular contributions from nearly everyone in their lineup. Mike Trout and Justin Upton have been at the center of everything, but Andrelton Simmons has had a nice start to the season, while Luis Valbuena has bounced back after a rough 2017.
Even Albert Pujols looks rejuvenated and is having one a productive April. Of course, all eyes are on Shohei Ohtani any time he steps on the field. The season is still young, but Ohtani has lived up to the hype as both a pitcher and hitter, which is part of the reasons why the Angels are arguably the best team in baseball right now.
There are several teams who were projected as playoff teams who have started the season slowly, but special mention should be given to the Dodgers. While the Angels keep winning, “the other Los Angeles team” continues to struggle. The Dodgers are just 4-9 on the season, and if they don’t win Sunday, they will be swept by the Diamondbacks for the second time this year. Even in mid-April, it’s a shock to see the Dodgers last in the NL West, even behind the Padres.