Another weekend of Major League Baseball is in the books. We're coming together every Sunday to award winners and losers after each weekend of MLB action this season. Here are the big winners and losers from the last few days, including Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, and some family relationships.
Winner: Vintage Scherzer
With that, it marks Scherzer's 100th time in which he's struck out 10 or more batters. He became just the fifth pitcher to reach that mark, as he joins Nolan Ryan (215), Randy Johnson (212), Roger Clemens (110), and Pedro Martinez (100). The outing was also Scherzer's 11th career game with 14 or more strikeouts. On top of all that, Scherzer on Saturday moved past Mickey Lolich and into 20th place on the all-time strikeout list with 2,845 punch outs. Scherzer, at 36 years old, is moving further away from his peak, but in 2021, he's continuing to perform at vintage level.
Winner: Walk-off Bronx Bombers
The month of May has been much nicer than the month of April in the 2021 season for the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers won twice this weekend, including after all those strikeouts vs. Scherzer, to take their series against the Nationals and improve to 6-2 on the month. Gleyber Torres smacked a walk-off single on Saturday before finally adding his first homer of the season in Sunday's win. Giancarlo Stanton had walk-off honors in the series finale:
Aaron Boone's club is also getting one of its biggest bats back this week, too. First baseman Luke Voit is set to make his season debut on Tuesday against the Rays.
Loser: MLB hitters
Friday night saw the fourth no-hitter of this young season when Cincinnati Reds southpaw Wade Miley blanked the Cleveland ball club. Miley, of course, is a winner for his performance on the mound (9 IP, 1 BB, 8 K, 114 pitches), but in this case, we're going to flip this to make note of something else: the striking lack of offense this year. It's obviously still very early in the 162-game marathon, but Major League Baseball offenses are lagging. Entering Sunday, the league batting average is .234, down from .245 in 2020 (60 games) and .252 in 2019. The home run per batted ball rate is dropping while the strikeout rate is rising. So it seems highly unlikely that we've seen our final no-no of 2021.
Loser: Jacob deGrom
While it's a bad time to be a hitter in Major League Baseball right now, the weekend was not kind to the best pitcher in the sport. Jacob deGrom returned to the mound Sunday after missing his last start due to a lat issue. In the early going, deGrom looked, well, like deGrom. He was consistently hitting 100 mph on the radar gun and was breezing through the Diamondbacks lineup. That was until the fifth inning. DeGrom had uncharacteristic struggles with his command in that frame, but managed to only allow one run. During his warmup for the sixth inning, however, deGrom looked uncomfortable and left the game after talking to the Mets' trainer.
DeGrom is set to undergo his second MRI in a less than a week, and the Mets are categorizing his injury as "right side tightness." An injured list stint could be next for deGrom as the Mets will not want to take any chances with the two-time Cy Young winner.
Winner: MLB brothers
In baseball, there's a long history of brothers -- the Alou, Boone, Giambi, Ripken brothers -- playing against each other at the big-league level, but it's still always a really special moment whenever it happens. Baseball runs in the family for a few particular sets of current MLB brothers.
This weekend's Blue Jays-Astros series featured brothers, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Toronto) and Yuli Gurriel (Houston) playing against each other. Lourdes is 27 years old and in his fourth MLB season, while Yuli is a six-year MLB veteran at 36 years old.
Brothers William Contreras (Braves) and Willson Contreras (Cubs), weren't playing against each other this weekend, but the elder Willson gave his younger brother a shout out for his part in Atlanta's Saturday comeback win.
Winner: MLB mothers
OK, OK, enough about siblings. Let's talk about the real winning family members of the weekend: mothers. Yes, Sunday marked Mother's Day, and Major League Baseball celebrated accordingly. Here's a look at some of the Astros' moms throwing out first pitches in Houston on Sunday:
Finally, a wholesome moment where the Astros knew what pitch was coming.
Also at Minute Maid Park was the mother of the aforementioned Gurriel brothers. She donned a *perfect* Mother's Day outfit.
And, to be clear, all mothers are winners this weekend.
Winner: Clutch Panda (and other Braves)
Saturday night's 12-inning Braves-Phillies game included a ridiculous comeback from Atlanta to snag a win over a division rival. In the ninth inning, the Braves were one strike from losing the ball game. Until 34-year-old Pablo Sandoval, who was a non-roster invitee, crushed his fourth pinch-hit, home run of the season, Sandoval had the game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth.
The Braves tied it back up after the Phillies took a one-run lead in the 11th, and then won it in the 12th inning after falling behind by three. Ehire Adrianza's walk-off single completed the wild comeback.
So to quickly recap, Atlanta overcame deficits of 3-1 in the ninth and 4-3 in the 11th before rallying from a 7-4 hole in the 12th. Nine runs were scored in the 12th inning. Remember, MLB has kept the runner on second in extras rule around this season after experimenting with it during the abbreviated 2020 season.
Take a look at how the craziness played out in terms of each team's chances of winning the game, courtesy of Fangraphs' win expectancy chart:
The Phillies' five-game winning streak ended with this loss, and the NL East looks like it could be fun all season.