(CBS New York) — The MLB season is moving right along. In a little more than a week, June will be a memory, and teams will start to reach their schedule’s halfway point. The All-Star game and the dog days of summer will follow soon after.
There’s plenty of good (and bad) baseball to be played. And that could include races across most divisions in the American and National League. The New York Yankees, who won Sunday on a game-ending triple play, are starting to show their contender stripes. The Washington Nationals, with the help of a recent Kyle Schwarber power surge, have won eight of ten games. Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks continue to lose and set records.
This week’s Baseball Report looks at the Yankees latest triple play, Schwarber’s big weekend and the Diamondbacks’ losing ways.
Yankees Win On Triple Play
It wasn’t Aroldis Chapman‘s best outing. He was brought in Sunday afternoon in the ninth inning to preserve a 2-1 lead over the Oakland A’s. But he walked the first two batters he faced — Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder — on a grand total of nine pitches. With the go-ahead run now on first, a trainer paid him a visit to check out a broken nail on his left hand. It wasn’t bad enough to end his afternoon.
Chapman promptly threw another ball, this time to Sean Murphy. On the next pitch, Murphy lined a hard grounder down the third-base line, which Gio Urshela picked up next to the bag. He stepped on third and threw it to DJ LeMahieu at second, who threw it to Chris Gittens at first for the triple play.
Just ending the game on our daily triple play 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/Hwt7C8hRqj
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 20, 2021
That ended the game and gave Chapman his 16th save of the season.
It was the Yankee’s second triple play in four days. The other retired the Blue Jays in Buffalo last Thursday. It was also the Yankee’s third triple play of the last month, the shortest span for three triple plays in league history. That is two more than the team has ever had in a single season and also ties the major league record before the season’s midpoint. (The Chicago White Sox most recently had three triple plays during the 2016 campaign.) It was the Yankees’ first walk-off triple play in over a century.
The Yankees, at 38-33, sit in third place in the American League East, behind the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. They start a three-game mid-week series against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
Kyle Schwarber Hits 5 Home Runs
Kyle Schwarber is on a tear. The Nationals left fielder hit five home runs in two games this weekend against the New York Mets. That tied an MLB record, and gave him nine home runs in the last 10 games, which ties a team record.
The first two home runs came Saturday night in the second half of a doubleheader. Those two solo shots helped the Nats to a 6-2 win over the New York Mets after dropping the afternoon game. He had four RBI on Saturday.
The power surge continued Sunday in the Nationals’ 5-2 win. Schwarber led off the game with a longball, his fourth leadoff home run of the season, and then launched another in the fifth inning. Two innings later, with a runner on second, he hit his third of the game. Schwarber was pulled from the game in the eighth inning due to knee soreness. Otherwise, he would’ve had a chance at a fourth HR. Schwarber finished the afternoon with four more RBI.
— MLB (@MLB) June 20, 2021
Schwarber now has 18 home runs on the season to go along with 40 RBI. He’s batting only .240, however. The Nationals won three of four over the division-leading Mets, but still trail by five games in the crowded National League East. The Nats meet the Phillies Tuesday for the first of two games.
Diamondbacks Continue Losing Ways
While Washington is on fire, Arizona most certainly is not. The Diamondbacks lost their 23rd road game in a row last Thursday, setting the kind of record no one wants to set. The previous record of 22 straight losses was held by the Philadelphia Athletics (1943) and the New York Mets (1963).
Arizona then returned home Friday for six games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers. While the road losing streak was on pause, the overall losing streak continued over the weekend. Friday’s loss gave them a franchise record of 15 straight. The Dodgers ended up sweeping the three-game series from the Diamondbacks, leaving them with 17 straight losses.
The Diamondbacks, at 20-53, don’t seem likely to climb out of the National League West cellar anytime soon. They are currently 26.5 games behind the division-leading San Francisco Giants. They’ll attempt to end the futility once again Monday night, this time against the Brewers.