This was the first week featuring 5-game series. There was one 4-game series, and Dougald mopped the floor with Tim’s team, sweeping all four games. In game 1, Dougald’s pitching shut Tim down behind 6 innings of 2-hit baseball by Zack Greinke (11-7). John Means followed Greinke and didn’t allow a hit in 3 innings to pick up his 9th save and preserve the 3-0 win. Game 2 was tied, 1-1 after 9 full innings, thanks to a Kolten Wong error that allowed the tying run to score in the top of the 9th. The score remained knotted through 12, but in the top of the 13th, Dougald exploded for 5 runs. Tim managed 2 runs in the bottom of the 13th but fell, 6-3. The series moved to Dougald’s park, where Dougald overcame a 2-0 deficit to win, 4-2. Matt Boyd (11-7) picked up the win and Rick Porcello (4-11) took the L. Kolten Wong made another error, his 3rd in 2 games. In game 4, Dougald jumped on Sandy Alcantara (8-8) for 5 runs in the first two innings and cruised to a 6-1 victory behind Kyle Hendricks (10-9) to clinch the sweep and to try to stay in the playoff hunt.
Directly above Dougald in the standings is Chris, who hoped to make up ground on first place in his 5-game series against Bob. Bob started fast, holding a 6-1 lead going to the top of the 9th (with Gerritt Cole pitching a no-hitter through 5), but then things started to unravel. Aaron Judge doubled off of Steve Cishek. Cishek settled down and got Contreras on a lineout and Bogaerts on a groundout, but Michael Brantley singled in Judge. Then David Dahl cracked his 17th homer to make the score 6-4. Bob ambled to the mound and waved in Josh Hader to face Adam Frazier. Frazier ran the count full before taking a called strike three on the outside corner and Bob took game 1. Chris started game 2 quickly, scoring 2 runs in the first when Cody Bellinger led off with a double and George Springer smoked a homer off of Masahiro Tanaka (11-9). Bob came right back against Charlie Morton (12-3), and scored 2 runs of his own in the first. Bob added 2 more runs in the 3rd, and Tanaka and Cishek held strong to win game 2, 6-3. In game 3, Bob took an early 1-0 lead in the first and Jose Berrios (7-17) held Chris scoreless until the 4th when the floodgates opened. Chris put up 4 runs in the 4th, highlighted by an Adam Frazier 2-run shot, and 3 more runs in the 5th and then cruised to the 8-1 victory. Bob took the early 1-0 lead in game 4, but Chris tied it in the 2nd. Eduardo Escobar hit his 17th homer to lead off the bottom of the 3rd, and Bob tacked on two more. The score remained 4-1 until the 7th when Bob put up 4 more runs, including Pete Alonso’s 3-run shot (his 34th). Chris scored 4 runs of his own in the top of the 8th, but couldn’t get any closer and fell, 9-5. Chris removed all doubt in game 5 by putting up 6 runs in the top of the first off of Gerritt Cole (8-13). Stephen Strasburg (11-11) cruised through 8 innings and Chris won, 6-1. Following the series, Chris is 7.5 games ahead of Dougald for playoff position.
By losing 3 of 5, Chris left the door open for Robert to put some distance between them for first place. Robert was home against Mark, and did just that. It didn’t start out well, though, as Jacob deGrom had a very rare poor outing, giving up 10 hits and 7 runs in 4 2/3 innings. He didn’t lose, however, as Robert tied the game at 7 in the bottom of the 9th with an incredible two-run homer by Jarrod Dyson (his 6th). Jeff McNeil spoiled the comeback for Robert, though, by hitting his own 2-run shot in the 10th off of Giovanni Gallegos to win the game for Mark, 9-7. Game 2 was a nail biter – Mark scored two runs in the third, but Robert scored single runs in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Mark scored 1 in the 8th, but couldn’t get closer, and Robert took the 4-3 win. Aaron Bummer (4-3) got the win, and Lance Lynn (10-9) took the loss. Robert didn’t take any chances in game 3, scoring early and often off of Luis Castillo (11-11) to win, 8-2 for Marcus Stroman (12-10). Stroman pitched out of trouble all day, as Mark left 12 runners on base. Robert continued to stomp in game 4, but had to overcome 3 early Mark runs. Robert put up 4 runs in the 3rd and 6 more in the 8th and took the 12-5 win for Mike Minor (12-9). Mike Leake (10-10) took the loss. Mark started game 5 fast, scoring 3 runs off of Jacob deGrom (17-5) in the top of the first on homers by Nolan Arenado (his 27th) and Jeff McNeil (his 17th), but Robert returned serve with a fury, scoring 8 runs in the bottom of the first off of Jake Odorizzi (7-14). Mark then pecked away at the lead, scoring single runs in the 2nd, 5th, and 6th, but couldn’t make up the difference, and Robert held on to win, 8-6. Following his 4-1 series, Robert extended his lead over Chris to 3 games.
The lead in the other division was also at stake, as Phil traveled to play 5 games at John’s park. Both teams wanted it, and game 1 showed how much. Phil put up 2 runs in the top of the first when Yordano Alvarez hit his 20th homer of the year, this one off of Walker Buehler. John came back, though, scoring 1 run in the 3rd (Jorge Polanco homer, his 12th), 2 runs in the 4th, and 1 run in the 5th (Jorge Soler’s 25th homer). Phil tied the game with 2 runs in the 7th and the score remained knotted until the bottom of the 15th, when Victor Robles successfully squeezed in Victor Reyes from 3rd to win the game. Zack Wheeler (9-7) gave Phil a strong start in game 2, going 5 2/3 and giving up only 1 run to beat Mike Soroka (10-6), 5-1. Game 3 was another extra innings affair – the score was tied at 2 after 9 full and went to the 12th. Yoan Moncada walked it off for John with his 14th homer, making a loser of Tyler Webb (2-3). In game 4, Lucas Giolito (9-9), walked between the raindrops, scattering 7 hits through 8 innings but not allowing a single run. Justin Verlander (16-5) gave up only 3 hits, but lost, 2-0 on 2 unearned runs. Game 5 was yet another extended affair, with umpires nervously checking their watches as the game approached the local curfew. Clayton Kershaw hooked up against Walker Buehler in a beauty, and after 9 the score was tied, 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the 17th inning (!) when Phil scored a run on a Nick Anderson wild pitch. John was not to be denied, however, and tied the score when Josh Bell singled in Elvis Andrus. The game went until the 19th when Elvis Andrus walked it off with his 4th homer of the year. This was the longest game of the year by 3 innings, and John’s win extended his lead over Phil to 5 games for first place.
Rich’s team was doing a bit of scoreboard watching in his series against Paul. They saw a real opportunity when Phil dropped 4 of 5 and started things off on the right foot, cruising to a 5-1 victory behind Jack Flaherty (9-8) over Joe Musgrove (4-9). The win broke a 5 game losing streak for Rich. Game 2 was the type of game that Paul has found himself in lately – a game where special teams really makes the difference. Rich put up 6 runs in the second inning off of Joey Lucchesi, highlighted by homers by Mitch Garver (his 22nd) and Juan Soto (his 24th). Paul’s team, however, did not go gently into that good night, and put up 8 runs of their own in the 4th on homers by Carson Kelly (22nd), Tommy La Stella (17th), Christian Yelich (29th), and Starling Marte (15th). Rich then tied the game with 2 runs in the bottom of the 4th on a homer by Juan Soto (his 25th and second of the game). Rich then went ahead with 2 more runs in the 5th on a Gleybar Torres homer (37th). The teams traded single runs in the 7th (Gleybar Torres hitting his 2nd homer of the game for Rich, his 38th), and Paul scored a single runs in the 8th and 9th to tie it (Javier Baez’s 27th homer in the 9th), so the score was tied going to the bottom of the 9th. With one out, Carlos Correa blasted his 20th homer to win the game for Rich. Kenta Maeda (13-2) got the win, Kenley Jansen (3-5) picked up the loss. Gleybar Torres hit two more homers for Rich in game 3, to increase his league-leading total to 40, and Josh Donaldson added 2 of his own (his 21st and 22nd) but Paul’s offense was up to the challenge, and the game was tied at 7 after 9 innings. Both teams scored a single run in the 11th, but Whit Merrifield blasted a 3-run shot in the 12th to win the game for Paul, 11-8. Paul’s offense continued to romp in game 4, as he put up 8 runs for Max Scherzer (8-10) to beat Rich, 8-4, despite Mike Trout hitting 2 homers (36 and 37). Julio Teheran (8-10) took the loss. Game 5 was close early, but Rich put up 4 runs in the 6th to blow it open. Max Kepler continued the streak of Rich’s batters with two homers, hitting his 29th and 30th. John Flaherty (10-8) got the win, while Anthony deSclafani (5-11) took the loss. Following his 3-2 series, Rich is now 3 games behind Phil for playoff position.
4 weeks left in the season! Should be a fun pennant race. Should we play the playoffs in person?