Boston in full blast thanks to JD Martinez, Minnesota in the hard and a no-hitter for Joe Musgrove, return on what happened during this second week of regular season in MLB.
The Fit Team: Boston Red Sox
After being swept by the Orioles for their first series of the season, the Red Sox have adjusted, found their rhythm and are currently on a cloud. In the wake of a productive and regular attack (1re hits, 2e to theaverage and in OPS in particular), Boston went to seek three successes against Baltimore then three others against Minnesota to conclude its week. Add to that the sweep of the Rays last weekend and you have a streak of nine straight wins for the Massachusetts franchise, wide leaders in AL East and theAmerican League. For a franchise that disappointed last year and could be heading for a rebuild, it’s hard to do better to silence the critics.
The team that holds: Chicago Cubs
We have seen better days on the Wrigley Field. After a fairly average start (3-3 in the first week), the Cubs haven’t done much better this week. Against the Pirates, yet announced as the weakest franchise in the Major Leagues, David Ross’s players won only one meeting, before conceding two heavy losses (8-2 and 7-1 defeats). In the following series against the Brewers, same story with two big defeats (6-3 then 7-0) and only one small success. The Cubs are struggling with an ineffective attack image that ranks last in almost all offensive stat categories and displays a slashline absolutely disastrous (.163% AVG, .254% OBP, .307 SLG). We will have to pull ourselves together in Illinois, where the defending champion in the NL Central cannot be satisfied with such performance.
Man of the moment: JD Martinez (DH, Red Sox)
If you are wondering why Boston is in full swing right now, the answer may lie in JD Martinez. Disappointing last year, the Floridian made a great start to the season. Leader of the Major Leagues in the RBIs (16), third in the runs (17), to home runs (5) and slugging percentage (.867), it regains color and finally conforms to the expectations that surround it. Also author of a 3-home-run game this week, becoming the fifth player in history to achieve this with three different franchises, he shows he’s still one of the best designated hitter of the MLB and, for now, silenced some criticisms that had arisen in the wake of his 2020 fiscal year.
The Strong Arm: Joe Musgrove (SP, Padres)
Facing the Rangers this week, Joe Musgrove wrote the story of his new franchise. In what was only his second start with San Diego, the former pitcher of the Pirates made the first no-hitter in the history of the Padres, who will therefore have had to wait 8,205 games before seeing one of their players on the mound achieve this performance. Musgrove also becomes the eighth player in the modern era to achieve a no-hitter during one of his first two outings with a new franchise, the first since 2007. Note that the neo-Padre also obtained ten strikeouts in this part, enough to mark its territory for its first steps in California.
Action of the week: Verdugo and his victorious glove
What a catch by Alex Verdugo to ice the Red Sox ‘eighth straight win 👏
– SI MLB (@si_mlb) April 14, 2021
- Facing the Marlins on April 10, Jacob deGrom (SP, Mets) equaled his record of strikeouts on a match (14 K) in a loss. Moreover, it displays the best ERA of the Major Leagues since 2018 but is the only member of the top 4 of this ranking to have a negative win / loss ratio over the same period.
- For the second consecutive season, Shane Bieber (SP, Indians) put out 35 batters in his first three starts of the season. This performance places him third among pitchers with strikeout the most hitters in their first three games of the season, tying… Shane Bieber in 2020!
- Since the start of the season, Corbin Burnes (SP, Brewers) got 30 strikeouts without conceding the slightest base on balls. He is currently chasing Adam Wainright’s record (35K in 2013) for most strikeouts before conceding his first walk of the season.
- Hitting his sixth home run of the season, Ronald Acuña Jr. (OF, Braves) got his thirteenth extra-base hit in 2021. He thus equals Hank Aaron in the history of the Braves for this kind of performance after twelve games played.
- Last night, Carlos Rondónot (SP, White Sox) achieved the twentieth no-hitter of the history of the White Sox. Aside from the Dodgers (23), no franchise has done better in MLB history.
- Injured last week, James Paxton (SP, Mariners) will miss the entire 2021 season. Returning to Seattle for a season after playing in New York, he will have to undergo an operation following a Tommy John, a frequent injury among baseball pitchers.
- Yadier Molina (C, Cardinals) became a little more legendary this week by competing in his 2000e meeting with St Louis. He thus becomes the one and only player in his position to have played so many matches with the same jersey.
See you next week for a new update on the situation in MLB after three weeks of competition.
Image credits in one: Julio Cortez | AP