We'll be taking a look at the most interesting takeaways every week this MLB season so check back every Sunday for our recap. Now, here's what we learned from the last seven days in MLB:
Yankees' Gardner proving age is just a number
Yankees centerfielder Brett Gardner hit four home runs this past week, good for second most in baseball over that span. Gardner recorded eight RBI, a .690 slugging percentage and .897 OPS to go along with the four homers. He just turned 36-years-old last month, and his durability and power this season have proved to be huge for the injury-battered Yankees. Gardner's last 13 hits include seven home runs, three singles, two doubles and one triple. In Saturday's 13-3 win over the Blue Jays, Gardner finished 3-for-5 with five RBI and two home runs, it was his second multi-homer game on the year and just the ninth of his 12-year MLB career.
"I feel like the older I get, the smarter I get," Gardner told MLB.com's Jordan Horrobin. "I take better care of myself." The longest-tenured Yankee wasn't necessarily thought to play as big a part on this year's team before the season started, but he's arguably been one of the most valuable players to this first-place team, both on the field and in the clubhouse. He's said that he expects to play next season, and if he keeps this up, the Yankees are likely to offer him another one-year deal at this season's end.
Overall this season, Gardner's hit a career-high 25 home runs (he's only surpassed the 20-homer mark twice before), hit career-high marks for slugging (.500) and OPS (.823), is tied for his career-high RBI mark of 66 and he's also nearing his career-high mark of 120 OPS+.
Yankees Age-35 or Older with 25+ HR, 10+ Steals and 5+ Triples in a Season:— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) September 14, 2019
Brett Gardner (2019)
Babe Ruth (1930)
"He's durable, he's really competitive -- he hasn't stopped being a good player," manager Aaron Boone said of Gardner via Horrobin. "We wouldn't be this well off without him, that's for sure."
Alonso nearing Judge's rookie HR record
Mets rookie Pete Alonso hit his 46th and 47th home runs of the season in the Mets 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks last Monday. The 24-year-old has held onto the MLB-lead for homers, ahead of Angels' Mike Trout and Reds' Eugenio Surarez. With just a little more than a week left in the regular season, Alonso needs five more homers to tie the single-season rookie record. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge set it when he crushed 52 homers in his 2017 rookie season. He went on to take home the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
After Alonso drew a bases-loaded walk-off walk against the Phillies this past week, the first baseman wasn't shy about letting his goal of catching Judge's rookie record be known in his post-game interview with MLB Network. "Maybe," he says when asked if he's trying to track down Judge's record at the 2:28 mark.
It helps that the Mets will play their final road trip at Coors Field and Great American Ballpark, two stadiums that are known for being homer-friendly. Alonso has already set the Mets record for most homers in a season, andAnd just as Judge became the face of the Yankees franchise during his rookie season, Alonso seems to be doing the same for the Mets.
Yelich's injury reshapes the NL MVP race
On Tuesday, Brewers outfielder and reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich after fouling a pitch off his right knee. Milwaukee announced that Yelich would miss the remainder of the season, ending any chance of Yelich helping to guide his team back to the postseason. Yelich's historic season getting cut short with an unfortunate and unlucky injury is not only tough for Brewers fans, but it's also bad news for fans who were looking forward to watching how the between Yelich and Dodgers' Cody Bellinger would shake out.
While Yelich's chances of winning back-to-back MVP awards aren't completely erased with his absence in these final weeks of the regular season, it certainly doesn't help. Especially when Bellinger holds the lead in wins above replacement. Before the injury, Yelich was hitting .329/.429/.671 and led MLB in slugging percentage and OPS.
Christian Yelich (80 HR, 207 RBIs, 52 SB since 2018) is the fourth player in @MLB history with 80+ home runs, 200+ RBIs, and 50+ stolen bases over a two-season span, joining Willie Mays (1955-56), Barry Bonds (1992-93, 1993-94, 1996-97), & Alex Rodriguez (1998-99). #ThisIsMyCrew— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) September 8, 2019
Now, the Brewers will try to make a run to the playoffs with their MVP. Entering Sunday, Milwaukee is one game back of the final NL wild card spot.may help them grab hold of the spot.