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USATSI

Another eventful weekend of baseball has come and gone. We're coming together every Sunday where we'll award winners and losers after each weekend of MLB action this season. Here are the big winners and losers from the last few days:

Winner: Musgrove and Caratini

One of the San Diego Padres offseason pitching acquisitions threw the first no-hitter in franchise history this past Friday night. No, it wasn't Yu Darvish. Nope, not Blake Snell either. It was a more unexpected pitcher in right-hander Joe Musgrove. Against the Texas Rangers, Musgrove ditched his fastball and mostly relied on his secondary pitches, which proved to be a great decision. Of his 112-pitch outing, 77 pitches were strikes. In particular, he dominated with his slider, which counted for eight of his 10 strikeouts:

For Musgrove, it was a storybook night. He's a San Diego native and grew up a Padres fan, even choosing No. 44 because of former Padres starter Jake Peavy. Musgrove said throwing the first no-hitter in Padres history wasn't even on his radar when he was traded to the club this offseason, but it sure felt good for the hometown pitcher.

Musgrove's cap from his no-hitter and a ball from the game are headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame. A secondary winner to come out of Musgrove's no-hitter is his catcher Victor Caratini. Caratini was also behind the plate for the most recent no-hitter in MLB last season with Alec Mills when he was on the Cubs. He's the first starting catcher in MLB history to catch consecutive no-hitters for different teams.

For the Padres, this is a great sign for their new and improved (top half) rotation. While it is very early in the season, Musgrove throwing his breaking stuff confidently and dominantly can only bode well for the remainder of his 2021 starts. A healthy 1-2-3 of Darvish, Snell and Musgrove will help San Diego immensely in their quest to dethrone the Dodgers.

Loser: New York teams

Both the Mets and Yankees struggled this weekend. Again, it's still so early in the season but if we're reviewing this second weekend of MLB play, it didn't go particularly well for either of the New York squads. The Yankees lost a series against the Rays in Tampa and the Mets wasted yet another gem from Jacob deGrom. Let's take a closer look at some of each clubs' issues from this past weekend. 

For the Mets, let's be clear, this is the smallest of small sample sizes. They've played just five games over the 2021 season's first 11 days after Sunday's questionable rainout. But, there is already a clear and disturbing trend with this ball club. In Jacob deGrom's second start of the season, the Mets offense gave him absolutely zero support, and they lost 3-0 to the Marlins. Despite a career-high tying 14-strikeout performance, deGrom stayed winless. The Mets, somehow, are 0-2 in deGrom starts this year despite a 0.64 ERA through two starts from the two-time Cy Young winner. The Mets offense just has to do better than that. On Saturday, the lineup finished 3 for 28. 

The Yankees have issues of their own. Some of which include an unusual infield situation that's getting a bit chaotic. For this weekend's games, the infield varied for all three games. Luke Voit, the club's primary first baseman, is still going to be out for another month or so after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee.

Friday's infield was: DJ LeMahieu at third base, Jay Bruce at first, Tyler Wade at second and Gleyber Torres at shortstop. Saturday shook out with Gio Urshela at third base, LeMahieu at second, Bruce at first and Torres at short. Then, Sunday was LeMahieu at first base, Torres at shortstop, Urshela at third and the newly acquired Rougned Odor at second base. As a result of Odor officially activated, the Yankees optioned Wade to Triple-A, joining the Yankees' taxi squad going forward.

Then there's also right-handed starter Domingo German's struggles on the mound (7 ER in 7 IP), which led to his option to Triple-A on Saturday

Winner: Byron Buxton

Both Byron Buxton and the Minnesota Twins are off to a hot start this year. Buxton is finally playing to his potential after years of disjointed performance due to injuries and inconsistency. Since his debut in June of 2015, Buxton has played in just 53 percent of the Twins' games. But he's appeared in eight of the Twins' nine games so far in 2021 and he's been one of the best hitters in baseball.

Through nine games, Buxton is hitting .481 with a 1.734 OPS. Furthermore, he owns the league lead in OPS, wRC+ (322) and wOBA (.645). In Sunday's game against the Mariners, Buxton had two extra-base hits which brought his season total to nine XBH  (four doubles and five homers) on the season, tying Cristian Guzman (2001) for the most in the team's first nine games of a season in franchise history. The 27-year-old seems like he's healthy, confident and ready to finally put it all together for the Twins.

Loser: Nationals

It's been a bit of a tumultuous start to the Washington Nationals' 2021 MLB season. Earlier this month, Washington had four players test positive for COVID-19 which resulted in their opening series vs. the Mets getting canceled. Then, five additional Nats players were put in quarantine because they were close contacts of the infected four. The COVID-19 related roster losses meant nine players, including Patrick Corbin and Kyle Schwarber, were missing to start the season. A really unfortunate situation for the 2019 champs. 

Once the Nationals were cleared to start their season, they got off to a shaky start, with both the Braves and the Dodgers winning series against them. Superstar outfielder Juan Soto has been a bright spot in the Nats lineup, and he did his best to keep the Nats in Saturday's game against the Dodgers with two home runs and three RBI. But Soto was outstanding last year, but the Nats still finished tied for last in the NL East. He'll need more help in 2021.