Every Sunday, The Trailing Runner recaps the past week’s biggest headlines and most exciting performances. On Mondays, keep an eye out for The Leadoff, which breaks down the week ahead.
The City That Never Sleeps (or Loses)
Coming into the season, many thought that the AL East would be a contender for the toughest division. With the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays all fielding competitive teams, it seemed like the AL East would be a fight until the very end. The New York Yankees may be ruining that expectation.
The Yanks are currently 49-16. You read that right. We’re sitting in the middle of June and the Yankees have only lost 16 games. To add to that, they’re currently riding a nine-game win streak with wins over the Twins, Cubs, Rays, and Blue Jays. Performances like this from Jameson Taillon have certainly helped:
8 K day for JT. @JTaillon50 👏 pic.twitter.com/OSIqxrFTYP
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 18, 2022
They’re firing on all cylinders. The rotation of Taillon, Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Severino has been nasty. Aaron Judge is batting .325 with 25 homers, 49 RBI, and 54 runs in June. Matt Carpenter is suddenly mashing homers? That bullpen is nasty. It’s all coming up Yankees, and they currently hold a 12-game lead in the AL East. Four teams in the AL east are above .500 and the Yanks are still 12 games ahead.
Insane. Keep your eye on the Bronx, because they don’t look to be slowing down.
History in Houston
Just because the Yankees are dominating doesn’t mean we can ignore another contender for the American League Pennant. The Houston Astros are 40-25 and continue to be a well-oiled machine of baseball proficiency. Yordan Alvarez is MASHING and Jeremy Peña is making Astros’ fans feel better about losing Carlos Correa. But on Wednesday, it was the players on the mound who etched Houston in history books.
In the bottom of the second inning, Luis Garcia threw an immaculate inning against the Texas Rangers, which is always a fun sight to see:
LUIS GARCIA IS IMMACULATE. pic.twitter.com/9YwSW06uIp
— Houston Astros (@astros) June 15, 2022
Then, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Phil Maton decided he wanted to join in on the fun and throw an immaculate inning himself
SAME GAME. SAME BATTERS.
PHIL MATON IS IMMACULATE. pic.twitter.com/xg53FGAJ02
— Houston Astros (@astros) June 15, 2022
That was Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran, and Brad Miller at the plate both times. For the first time in history, a team threw two immaculate innings in a game against the exact same batters. Baseball is full of wacky events and records, and this is one to remember for trivia someday. I love this sport.
So Close, Yet So Far
Miles Mikolas and Tyler Anderson have both been great stories in the 2022 season. At age 33 and 32 respectively, these two pitchers have been around the block a few times and seemed to serve as dependable arms in the middle of their team’s rotation. The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers have gotten that and more.
Mikolas has a 2.62 ERA through 82.1 IP. Anderson has a 2.82 ERA In 67 IP. These two arms have entered the 2022 Club of Wonderful Surprises. This past week, they also joined the Club of Almost No-Hitters.
Facing the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, June 14th, Mikolas was 8.2 innings in with 128 pitches and 0 hits. And with only one strike between him and this great accomplishment, Cal Mitchell happened:
Miles Mikolas loses a no hitter with two strikes in the 9th inning pic.twitter.com/GuPSZSAt8v
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 15, 2022
Then, on Thursday, June 16th, Anderson was gliding through 8.1 innings with 0 hits against the Los Angeles Angels when Shohei Ohtani came to the plate and did, well, Ohtani things:
shohei ohtani breaking up tyler anderson’s no-hitter with a triple in the 9th inning pic.twitter.com/SxWP9V2GNn
— shohei ohtani doing things (@shodoingthings) June 16, 2022
While it’s always a bummer to barely miss out on a no-hitter, I think it’s important to include both of these great pitching performances and highlight two wonderful seasons from arms that people may have underestimated coming into the season. At the end of the day, they helped their team to a win, and that’s what will matter once the end of the season rolls around.
Players of the Week:
A few highlights from around the league:
- Rafael Devers is on FIRE, with 9 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, and 1 SB. He batted .316 with a 1.466 OPS this week.
- Paul Goldschmidt cannot be stopped. .440 average, 1.550 OPS (WHAT), with 6 R, 4 HR, and 9 RBI.
- Ryan Mountcastle had a great week with 4 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R, and a .387 average/1.290 OPS.
- Josh Bell hit 5 HOMERS this week with 10 RBI.
- Bryan Reynolds might be back, especially with 7 R, 3 HR, and 7 RBI this week with a .417 average and 1.361 OPS.
- Keep an eye on Mike Trout and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as well, as both of these superstars had averages over .310 and a respective OPS over 1.200 this week.
And on the mound:
- Zack Wheeler: 13 IP, 11 K, .69 ERA, 2 QS
- Tyler Mahle: 9 IP, 12 K, 0.0 ERA, 1 QS
- Robbie Ray: 14 IP, 14 K, .64 ERA, 2 QS
- Charlie Morton (!): 13 IP, 21 K, 2.77 ERA, 1 QS
- Carlos Rodón: 14 IP, 16 K, 0.0 ERA, 2 QS
Around the League
- The New York Yankees are atop in the AL East with an AL-best 49-16 record. The Minnesota Twins lead the Central with a 37-29 record but the Cleveland Guardians are only 1.5 games back. The Houston Astros hold the top of the AL West with a 40-25 record.
- The New York Mets continue to control the NL East title with an NL-best 44-23 record. The St. Louis Cardinals have overtaken the top of the NL Central with a 38-29 record, but the Milwaukee Brewers are only 1 game back. The Los Angeles Dodgers are atop the NL West with a 40-24 record, but the San Diego Padres are threatening and only .5 games back.
- Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres has retaken the fWAR hitter crown with 4.0 fWAR.
- Kevin Gausman of the Toronto Blue Jays continues to lead all pitchers with 3.1 fWAR.
Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)