For every gold glove caliber play, or fantastic buzzer beater there is at least one booted grounder or missed tackle. Sports knows the tumult that a day can bring better than most other professions, as good fortune can be reversed at the sight of a hat, and slumps can remain for weeks. Let’s take a look at the best, and worst out of this week in sports.
- Salazar and Stroman have an old fashioned duel: Cleveland has, at long last, gotten Danny Salazar back from the DL to inject some new blood into a rotation that’s a bit uncertain after Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Salazar got to work immediately, retiring the Jays on 12 pitches in the first inning. Marcus Stroman was up to the task of facing Salazar as the two matched zeroes until Josh Donaldson booted a would-be double play ball, allowing Lindor to score. Salazar held Toronto to one harmless hit over seven scoreless innings and no walks. Justin Smoak tied the game in the eighth off of Andrew Miller, but Fransisco Lindor got to play hero with his first career walk off homer.
- Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper destroyed two baseballs: On friday night in Safeco field Aaron Judge almost put a ball out of the stadium, not just over the fence, but he mashed one into the last row of Safeco field. His Yankees teammates have taken to calling it “the home run that broke statcast,” as the ball was hit so high, it couldn’t be tracked by statcast. The next night, not to be outdone, Bryce Harper took rookie D-Backs pitcher Anthony Banda way out to right center. The ball, which to my knowledge did nothing to deserve it, went over the swimming pool in Chase Field. If you haven’t seen them, take a look.
- Federer makes history with another Wimbledon victory: Roger Federer has won Wimbledon for a record setting eighth time firmly ensconcing him in tennis history. Federer beat Marin Cilic, who played on an injured foot, in just 101 minutes, for his also record-setting 19th major victory. Federer did not lose a single set in the match, cruising to the victory, losing just eight games.
- Four Walk-Offs, One Night: Saturday brought, not only Harper’s stacast breaking homer, but also four nail biters across the MLB, with four contests ending in walk-off fashion. The Giants and Padres needed 12 innings before Nick Hundley smoked a single into left field to score Kelby Tomlinson, this was the second extra inning game between the California clubs in as many days. The Yankees and Mariners played a tightly contested game, needing 10 innings with the teams scoring in the bottom of the eighth and top of the ninth. In the bottom of the tenth, Nelson Cruz scored Ben Gamel with an rbi single to walk the game off. The Mets came back from being down 5-0 to the A’s to put up five unanswered runs late in the game to tie it up. Then in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, one-time Mets hero Wilmer Flores smacked a walk-off homer to left field to put the game on ice. Last, but far from least, after the pitchers duel between Stroman and Salazar, that game also went into the tenth inning, where Fransisco Lindor got to play hero with the first walk-off trot of his career. Lindor crushed the final pitch of the game deep into right field for the win.
- Jackie Bradley Jr. is unstoppable in Center: Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of the premier defensive centerfielder’s in the game. However, he plays in the same position, in the same division as Kevin Keirmaier and Kevin Pillar, so he doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, but this week he made a couple of monster plays, one to rob Aaron Judge of a homer at the center field wall in Fenway. The other catch saw Bradley absolutely rob Yunel Escobar of extra bases with a frankly absurd catch in the gap. Get this man a gold glove.
- Sale nets 200th K of Season: Another highlight from the same game, but still important, as the AL All-Star starter, and Cy Young favorite, recorded his 200th strikeout of the season in just his 20th start. Sale joined Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to notch 200 K this early in the season.
- Bellinger hits for the Cycle: Cody Bellinger has been a monster for a monster of a team in the LA Dodgers. Already hitting 26 homers on the season and being a near shoo-in for NL Rookie of the Year, Bellinger also hit for the cycle in Miami, becoming the first Dodgers rookie to hit for the cycle.
The Inferior Few
- Kyrie Requests Trade: The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a state of disarray at the moment as, on top of the departure of GM David Mills, All-Star point guard and one of the heads of the monster that is the Cleveland team, Kyrie Irving has asked to be traded. He listed the Timberwolves, Heat, Spurs, and (for some reason) the Knicks. Irving sighted wanting to carry more of the weight of the team as a reason for wanting to be dealt, also not having to play in Lebron’s shadow. Things aren’t looking especially great for the Cavs.
- Colin Moran Injured on Fluke foul ball: After hitting a home run in his first career game on Friday, Colin Moran played again on Saturday. In the sixth inning of the game against Baltimore, Moran fouled the pitch off but it came back and hit him in the face, right below the left eye. Moran was unable to walk off the field, having instead to be carted. He will be placed on the DL. The game ended up fine for the Astros as Marwin Gonzalez, who came in to replace Moran, hit a go ahead home run. The Astros won the game, but we hope for the best for Moran.
- Pablo Sandoval back to the Bay: This finds a place on the bad list just given Sandoval’s production, or lack thereof since signing a monster contract with Boston. About two and a half years removed from signing the deal, Sandoval returns to San Fransisco where he started his career. But which Sandoval are they getting, the 2012 World Series MVP, or the Boston 3B, who was mired in the low .200’s for most of the season?
- Brewers hanging on by their fingernails: Baseball fans have been waiting for the defending Champion Chicago Cubs to finally wake up this year after a lackluster first half. The Brewers shocked all of baseball by being a few years ahead of schedule on their rebuild and sat in first place in the NL Central come the all-star break, but the Cubbies have won seven of their last 10, while Milwaukee has won only four of its last 10. Will the Brewers continue to hang around, or has the magic run out?
- Sergio Romo experiment finished in LA: The Dodgers signed Sergio Romo away from the rival Giants during the offseason to help be a sturdy bridge to lights out closer Kenley Jansen. Things didn’t exactly pan out that way as Romo is once again on the move, this time to an opposite coast as the Dodgers have shipped him to Tampa Bay along with cash for a player to be named later. Romo had pitched to a 1-1 record, with a 6.12 ERA in 30 appearances.
Header Photo: Raj Mehta- USA Today