Things got worse for the Angels, who blew a big lead in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon
Nearly two months into the 2022 season, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the Major League Baseball landscape. Teams have played roughly a third of their schedules with another weekend in the books. Sample sizes are getting larger and hope is being gained or lost by fan bases across baseball.
As teams travel to start a new week, we wanted to recap the weekend with some of the best moments from the last three days in baseball, as well as what’s on deck this coming week. Let’s get to it.
Highlight of the Weekend
It’s not everyday that a player becomes just the 10th in MLB history to accomplish a feat. That’s what Albert Pujols, the Cardinals slugger in his final season, did on Saturday by appearing in his 3,000th career game.
Pujols’ appearance on Sunday tied him with Cal Ripken Jr. for ninth all-time, with 3,001 games played. It’s not hard to envision him climbing into at least fifth place over time, either. He’s a handful of appearances away from moving ahead of Willie Mays for eighth, and a few weeks from edging out Stan Musial and Eddie Murray. Pujols will top Ty Cobb with his 3,035th appearance.
The Cardinals will have 107 games remaining on their schedule come Monday, giving Pujols ample time to move as high as fourth place. That spot currently belongs to Rickey Henderson, with 3,081 games played.
Angels’ losing streak hits 11
The Angels appeared to be in good position to snap their 10-game losing streak on Sunday against the Phillies. Unfortunately for Joe Maddon’s crew, they couldn’t get the job done — not even after building a 5-0 lead in the middle innings.
The Angels led by a 6-2 margin heading into the bottom of the eighth, yet closer Raisel Iglesias surrendered a game-tying grand slam to Bryce Harper. The Angels then took the lead again in the top of the ninth, and had the Phillies down to their final out. It didn’t matter. Rooke infielder Bryson Stott launched a home run of his own to give the Phillies a 9-7 victory (box score).
To make matters worse, the Angels suffered another loss on Sunday, albeit not of the won-lost variety. Rather, they placed Taylor Ward on the injured list with a hamstring issue. Ward had been their most productive hitter this season statistically. Jo Adell was recalled from the minors to take his place on the active roster.
Yankees win sixth in a row
The Yankees extended the longest active winning streak in MLB to six games on Sunday, downing the Tigers 5-4 in extra innings (box score).
As has become a pattern, the Yankees received a strong start. This time it was from lefty Jordan Montgomery, who held the Tigers to two runs on five hits across 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five batters and threw 60 of his 90 pitches for strikes.
Offensively, the Yankees had just one player record multiple knocks. It didn’t matter. Joey Gallo hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to tie the game at 2-2. DJ LeMahieu later helped the Yankees take a 3-2 lead by accepting a bases-loaded walk. In the 10th, it was Josh Donaldson who hit a walk-off sacrifice fly.
The Yankees will have Monday off before heading to Minnesota for three against the Twins.
Springer hits 50th leadoff home run
George Springer and the Blue Jays fell to the Twins by an 8-6 margin on Sunday (box score). Still, that didn’t stop Springer from popping the 50th leadoff home run of his career.
Springer ranks fourth all-time in leadoff home runs, according to Sarah Langs. He’s three short of tying Craig Biggio for third most, and four away from pulling even with Alfonso Soriano. Matching or exceeding Rickey Henderson for the top spot will prove to be more challenging: Henderson, widely held as the best leadoff hitter of all-time, finished his career with 81 such homers.
Yankees at Twins (three games beginning Tuesday): We have a simple rule of thumb. If two first-place teams are squaring off, then we’re probably going to highlight the series. The Yankees have dominated the Twins over the years; we’ll see if Minnesota has what it takes to stop New York’s red-hot rotation.
Cardinals at Rays (three games beginning Tuesday): We’re disappointed that Matthew Liberatore won’t get a chance to face Randy Arozarena, as the two were once the key pieces in a trade. The Cardinals may have a different young pitcher going, however, as former first-round pick Zack Thompson is expected to get his first big-league start on Wednesday.
Dodgers at Giants (three games beginning Friday): It’s June and the Dodgers and Giants have played twice all season. That will change soon: in addition to these three games next weekend, the two sides will play 14 more times between now and the season’s end.