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The Trailing Runner: May 22-May 28

Take a look at this past week's best moments.

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.

 

Trevor Story and the Surging Red Sox

 

The Red Sox haven’t had much to celebrate this season. They currently possess an under .500 record at 21-24, and sit 11.5 games off the pace of the New York Yankees. But, as many members of Red Sox nation will tell you, they’re in the hunt for the third wild card spot.

Currently, they sit only four games out of a Wild Card spot. With nearly 70% of the season remaining, this leaves plenty of opportunities for them to catch up. So let’s take a look into just how the Red Sox have caught up. First, they have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox, sweeping the Mariners, and taking two of three from the Astros.

While the Mariners have been a disappointment this season, the White Sox and Astros have proven to be challenging teams to beat, and yet the Red Sox took both series. Also of note: Boston’s record is much more complicated than it appears. They have played the second-most teams that are above .500, playing 29 of their 45 games against teams above .500. Only the Orioles have faced more challenging opponents. Couple this with the three teams that are ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card standings, the Rays, Blue Jays, and Angels, all playing less than half of their games against .500 teams, and the Red Sox have an opportunity to even the equilibrium in the coming months. But let’s stop with the hopeful thoughts and assess just how the Red Sox have gotten here.

I will spare you the cliche “Storybook” puns, but Trevor Story has been a complete fantasy. This month, Story has hit nine home runs, three doubles, and has 32 RBI. For reference, that’s more home runs in a month than NL MVP candidate Manny Machado has all season. And Story hasn’t been the only one contributing to Boston’s hot surge.

Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez are all having stellar offensive years. Perhaps no one more than Martinez, who is having an inconceivable year, slashing .379/.436./.600. Martinez is in the top 5% in XBA, XSLG, WOBA, and XWOBA. All of these stats illustrate that Martinez’ stellar year is here to stay, as both his expected numbers and actual numbers are off the charts.

 

Mookie Betts 

 

That’s it, that’s the headline. Mookie has all but guaranteed his victory of NL Player of the Week with the monumental week he has had. In the past seven games he is slashing .500/.594/.1.192.

He has hit five home runs in that stretch and driven in 11. The Dodgers are hardly a team that needs any more offensive help, as they lead the league in OBP, SLG, and OPS, but having a player returning to MVP form can’t hurt, right? Similar to Betts’ former teammate, Betts is in the top 3% in WOBA, and top 10% in XSLG. On Friday night, he hit his National League leading 13th home run, his 10th, yes, 10th, in the month of May.

While Aaron Judge seems fated to lead the league in home runs this year, Betts seems to be ready to lead MLB in everything else. Since May 4, he leads MLB in home runs, RBI, runs, and slugging.

 

The Injury Bug has Arrived in New York

 

The Yankees have been firing on all cylinders, with seemingly nothing ready to stop them. Enter: the unwelcome injury bug. The Yankees ended last week with an announcement that promising young pitcher Luis Gil would undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the 2022 season. That seemed to open the floodgates.

Since that announcement, Aroldis Chapman was placed on the IL with an Achilles injury. The next day, teammates Giancarlo Stanton and Jonathan Loáisiga joined the injured list; Stanton with ankle inflammation and Loaisiga with the unwelcome generalized injury of “shoulder discomfort.” Then, on Friday, the Yankees transferred Josh Donaldson from the COVID IL to the 10-day IL with right shoulder inflammation.

Of the remaining Yankees eligible to play, both DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks avoid the injured list, yet remain day to day with wrist and hamstring injuries, respectively. If fans were expecting the injuries to thwart the Yankees’ pennant hopes, they will be disappointed, as the Yankees continue to win.

Over in the next borough, the New York Mets have not had much better luck. Tylor Megill and Max Scherzer remain on the injured list, while Megill has made progress and played long toss on Monday. Mets fans were given some hope this week, as Jacob deGrom was seen playing catch on Friday, and could begin throwing bullpen sessions this weekend, the New York Daily News reported.

https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/1530346496314462212s=20&t=swKOpK42DrHPMZHo0qZHtg

 

Around the League

 

  • The New York Yankees continue to hold a tight grasp on the best record in baseball with 33 wins and 13 losses.
  • Marcus Semien has shown some signs of life at the plate, hitting .286 in the past week. He finally got on the board with his first home run in a Ranger uniform Saturday night, as he hit one against his former team, the Oakland A’s.
  • The Colorado Rockies unveiled their Nike City Connect Uniforms, which continue to be a fun variation on the usual uniforms we have seen across MLB.

 

Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Christa Lamia

Christa Lamia is a diehard baseball fan that loves the Mets. She is enjoying the new energy and hope that Steve Cohen has given her for the once doomed franchise.

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