Just like in TV, this was sweeps week. Three of the 5 series played were sweeps. 1 was a 3 out of 4, and 1 was a split.
The first sweep was somewhat improbably, as Robert swept Rich, who to this point has been right in the playoff picture in Division 1. In game 1, Rich managed to score 3 runs despite gathering only 2 hits – thank you, Jake deGrom (16-5). Robert scored 3 runs in the first and held on to win, 5-3. Game 2 was the identical score. Robert scored 3 runs in the first two innings and Patrick Corbin (8-11) and Aaron Bummer (8th save) held Rich to 3 hits and 3 runs. Robert continued the trend of jumping out to an early lead in game 4, scoring 6 runs in the first three innings and cruising to an 8-4 victory behind Marcus Stroman (11-10). Julio Teheran (8-9) only lasted into the 3rd inning for Rich. Game 4 had a bit of a different flavor. Hyun-jin Ryu (9-9) was cruising along with a 3-1 lead until he ran into trouble in the 9th. He walked Jarrod Dyson, and gave up a * single to Nelson Cruz. Joey Gallo hit into a force at second, though, and Miguel Sano struck out looking. Fernando Tatis singled in Dyson to bring the score to 3-2. Ryu was lifted in favor of Ken Giles, who immediately threw a pitch that Mitch Garver couldn’t handle, scoring Gallo and tying the game. Eugenio Suarez then blasted a show into the upper deck to give Robert a 5-3 lead. Brandon Workman (4-3) pitched a scoreless 9th to secure the sweep.
The second sweep was less improbable, as Chris swept Paul. Game 1 was a high-scoring affair (common for Paul lately). Joey Lucchesi (1-13) gave up 13 hits and 10 runs in 5 innings pitched for Paul. Paul scored 2 runs in the 8th and 2 in the 9th, and Carson Kelly had 2 homers, but Paul was unable to go any further, dropping the game 10-8 to Stephen Strasburg (10-10). Paul was ahead in game 2, 4-3 when Chris exploded for 6 runs in the bottom of the 7th. Cody Bellinger had a single, a triple, and a homer in the game to make a winner of Liam Hendriks (5-1) over Brandon Woodruff (4-13). Game 3 was a nail-biter. Both teams had no issues scoring, including Cody Bellinger’s 35th homer, and Paul tied the game at 6 with a solo homer by pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores (his 8th). In the 9th, however, Chris loaded the bases and David Dahl delivered the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly. Zack Britton gave up a couple of baserunners, but managed to slam the door for Chris. The loss seemed to break the spirit of Paul’s team, and Chris walked over them in game 4, 12-3, behind Madison Bumgarner (8-6). Willson Contreras had 4 hits, a homer (21), and 3 RBI for Chris. Chris’ sweep allowed him to keep pace with Robert, and he remains 1 game out of first.
The third sweep was improbable, as Tim swept Bob. The idea that Tim’s team could win 4 in a row against Bob’s pitching fairly boggles the mind. In game 1, Bryan Reynolds led off the game with a homer, and Brad Keller (10-9) acted like Gerrit Cole and defeated Gerrit Cole (7-12), 3-0. Colin Poche picked up his 11th save. Game 2 was a pitchers’ duel between Rick Porcello (of all people) and Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka was ahead, 1-0, until the 8th, when Pedro Severino led off with a homer (his 8th) to tie the game. The game went into extras, and Andrelton Simmons hit a ball 316 feet to left field that scraped the back of the fence on the way down. It was the 7th homer for Simmons and Adam Ottavino (2-2) made it stand up. Game 3 looked like a laugher, as Tim put up 5 runs in the first off of Jose Berrios (7-16), who lasted just 2/3 of an inning. The outburst was highlighted by a 3-run shot by Manny Machado (his 6th). Bob scored 1 run in the 3rd on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. homer (his 10th) and 3 more in the 5th on Bradley, Jr.’s second homer of the day (his 11th), but could not get over the hump and dropped the decision, 5-4. Sandy Alcantara (8-7) picked up the win and Colin Poche snagged his 12th save. Game 4 was another nail-biter. Aaron Nola (10-8) matched up with Dustin German and the score was tied at 1 after 6. Tim loaded the bases and managed 3 runs in the 8th, however, to clinch the sweep with a 4-1 win.
The split was between Phil and Mark. In game 1, Jake Odorizzi (7-13) was particularly stingy, giving up no runs in 7 innings to outduel Zack Wheeler (8-7). Phil managed a single run in the 8th on Trevor Story’s 12th homer, but Mark held on to win, 3-1. Freddie Freeman hit his 24th homer in the win. Phil struck back with power in the 2nd game. He spotted Mark an early 2-0 lead, but then thundered back with 4 runs in the third and 4 more in the 5th and cruised to a 9-2 victory behind Jeff Samardzija (11-4) over Lance Lynn (10-8). Mark took notes and retaliated in game 3, spotting Phil an early 3-0 lead, then scratching back with single runs in the 3rd and 4th before breaking things open with 4 runs in the 7th and adding 2 in the 9th for the 8-4 win. Freddie Freeman (25), Paul DeJong (13), Gio Urshela (22) homered for Mark, while Trevor Story (14) homered for Phil. Luis Castillo (11-10) took the victory over Justin Verlander (16-4). Clayton Kershaw (8-7) took the mound on a mission in game 4 and pitched 8 shutout innings to clinch the split over Mike Leake (10-9) by the score of 2-0. Robert Stephenson picked up his 6th save. Following the split, Phil is 2 games behind John for first place, and 5 games ahead of Rich for playoff position.
John finished things up by taking 3 of 4 from Dougald’s team, who is sliding into obscurity down the stretch. Game 1 was a slugfest. John scored in all but 2 innings and managed to outlast Dougald, 11-7 behind Walker Buehler (7-12). Zack Greinke (10-7) took the loss. Dougald outslugged John, 10-8, to win game 2 for Roberto Osuna (5-3). Shane Bieber only lasted 1/3 of an inning, as John put up 3 quick runs, but Dougald scored 3 in the 4th and 6 more over the 6th, 7th, and 8th to secure the game. Bryce Harper hit his 24th homer for Dougald. Lucas Giolito (8-9) took control of game 3 and pitched 8 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts. Matt Boyd (10-7) was almost as good, pitching 6 innings and giving up only a JD Martinez solo homer (his 12th). John added one in the 8th on a Rhys Hoskins double to take the 2-0 win. Game 4 was knotted at 5 through 9 innings. Without the ghost runners of today, the game dragged into the 12th until Ketel Marte hit a walk-off homer (his 27th). Jorge Soler had 2 homers in the game, as well. Following this series, Dougald falls to 10 games out of playoff position.