The Yankees had a tough task ahead of them this weekend with a four-game set against the Astros, and in other years, a split might have been fine considering how much of a nuisance Houston can be. At this point in this underwhelming season though, splits aren’t good enough and considering how many runners were stranded in yesterday’s loss, it’s unacceptable.
Instead of a hard-fought series victory, the Yankees had to take a split and as a result are now 4.5 games out of a playoff spot. Other teams might be heating up, but Aaron Boone’s club has dug its own grave. We’ll start this Rivalry Roundup off with the most devastating blow beyond the Yankees’ own actions.
Toronto Blue Jays (63-50) 13, Boston Red Sox (57-54) 1
The Jays entered Fenway on a mission this weekend and made a clean sweep out of taking care of business. The finale was done in a hurry, as relievers Chris Murphy and Mauricio Llovera got pummeled for 11 runs on 10 hits in a combined 3.2 innings following opener Brennan Bernardino. With four in the third, two in the fourth, and five in the fifth, Toronto was relentless and only needed one homer to tally up all those runs, the second from rookie Davis Schneider in three days.
That was one of four hits for Schneider, and each of Brandon Belt, George Springer, Matt Chapman, and Kevin Kiermaier joined him on the multi-hit parade. Kiermaier did have to leave early, as he needed stitches on his elbow after making a leaping catch at the wall in the sixth.
Chris Bassitt was the benefactor of all those runs, and he scattered 10 baserunners in 7 innings of work with only a Triston Casas solo shot against his record. The Jays are only half a game behind Houston for the second Wild Card spot after the sweep, and each of the Yankees and Red Sox are reeling in their wake. Only the Mariners are holding serve.
Tampa Bay Rays (68-46) 10, Detroit Tigers (49-62) 6
I suppose we should be grateful that Detroit took even a single game in this set against the Rays, and that came on Saturday. Josh Lowe singled in a three-run first off Matt Manning, and an inning later, Yandy Díaz launched a two-run bomb to give the Rays a quick 5-0 lead.
Erasmo Ramírez was working on three days’ rest and thus only went three innings, so Detroit did get a chance to fight back into this game against a shaky Rays bullpen. By the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers had allowed three more runs but had scored enough so that Kerry Carpenter’s two-run shot against Jason Adam made it an 8-6 ballgame.
That was the last gasp for the Tigers, though. Wander Franco countered with his own two-run homer to bring the advantage back to four runs at 10-6, deflating Detroit.
Baltimore Orioles (70-42) 2, New York Mets (50-61) 0
Speaking of sweeps, the O’s dusted off the Mets for their 70th win of 2023, becoming the first American League team to reach that mark this year. They continue to post the AL’s best record in what’s looking like their best season in decades; they’re on pace for even greater heights than the feats of the mid-2010s teams helmed by the guy in the other dugout in this series, Buck Showalter.
It was a group effort on the pitching side for Baltimore on Sunday, as starter Kyle Bradish walked five and put nine baserunners on in 4.2 innings. With the bases loaded in a scoreless game in the fifth, manager Brandon Hyde called on Cionel Pérez for the big out, and the lefty escaped on a grounder by DJ Stewart.
José Quintana did about as much as he could for the Mets. The O’s never registered an RBI hit, but a Jorge Mateo triple in the fifth led to a grounder from Adley Rutschman that scored the former Baby Bomber with the game’s first run. Two innings later, James McCann was at it again in torching his old team by leading off with a double. A fielder’s choice brought him home and it was 2-0.
The Baltimore bullpen blanked the Mets, with Cole Irvin, Shintaro Fujinami, and Félix Bautista chipping in. Bautista fanned Daniel Vogelbach as the tying run to secure the victory.
Texas Rangers (66-46) 6, Miami Marlins (58-55) 0
This was one of those unfortunate days for the Rangers that will go down as a win on the schedule but a loss in another way. On the bright side, Andrew Heaney outpitched Sandy Alcantara with 5.2 shutout frames to prolong the Marlins’ painful second half. They’re now 5-16 as the regression monster is hitting them hard, though they’re still only half a game out in the NL Wild Card race. (The Cubs and Reds have overtaken them.)
It was bombs away for Texas, as Nathaniel Lowe, Marcus Semien, Ezequiel Duran, and Adolis García all went deep to give the Rangers a commanding lead. But in the fifth, a scorching drive by Jorge Soler struck third baseman Josh Jung on the thumb:
Jung deserves credit for somehow turning the double play anyway, but he had to depart and Bruce Bochy revealed in the postgame that the All-Star had broken his thumb. He might be gone for six-to-eight weeks. That’s a tough blow for a Rangers team trying as hard as it can to hold off the Astros in the AL West. At the very least, this was their sixth win in a row and they’re 2.5 up on Houston.
Seattle Mariners (60-52) 3, Los Angeles Angels (56-57) 2 (10 innings)
It’s all come crashing down for the Halos. They still haven’t won a single game since their busy Trade Deadline and got swept four in a row by the Mariners, who happen to be ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. J.P. Crawford led off the game with a dinger, and while a Matt Thaiss homer in the seventh eventually sent this to extras, Eugenio Suárez singled in the zombie runner and C.J. Cron struck out to end it. The Halos are riding an L6 and now a distant seven games back of Toronto.
AL Central Rock Fight
The D-backs aren’t as far out of a playoff spot as the Angels, but they’re also riding an L6 and heartbreak. Christian Walker hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth, only for the Twins to come back on a game-tying blast by Max Kepler and a walk-off dinger from Matt Wallner.
Meanwhile, the Guardians can’t be dropping series to the White Sox if they hope to remain in this race, and they absolutely can’t be blowing games in the ninth with their All-Star closer. But that’s what happened to Emmanuel Clase, as third baseman Bryan Rocchio made two errors behind him to help Chicago tie the game before Elvis Andrus knocked a go-ahead two-run single. Minnesota now leads Cleveland by 4.5 games.