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:
Reigning World Series champs look strong
Things finally seem to be clicking for the Red Sox, and at the right time as they try to pull ahead in a tight American League wild card race. The reigning World Series champions crushed the Yankees , and their lineup looked as strong as it has all season. Boston picked up some much needed wins against division rivals in the Rays and Yankees this past week, and Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts seems to have found his second-half groove at the plate. In Friday's win over the Yankees, Betts finished the night with three home runs, five RBI and a double. It's his fifth career three-home run game.
Betts worked with Red Sox hitting coaches to work on a minor adjustment to his stance, reports The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey. The reigning AL MVP moved his hands higher, and cut out the routine of moving his hands down then backward before swinging, instead Betts now moves his hands backward and up. Not only is Betts looking great offensively, but so is the rest of the lineup. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez are also hitting much better as of late. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts in Boston's lineup.
The Red Sox might finally be ready to put their sluggish start to the season behind them, and string together enough wins to secure a wild card spot and try to defend their title in October.
St. Louis getting hot in tight NL Central race
The Cardinals' offensive surge this past week has led them to sole possession of first place in the National League Central, entering Sunday's set of games. St. Louis (56-48) has a tough upcoming schedule, but it was critical for the Cards to get these July wins.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been a little slow to adjust with his new team, but he's currently on a hot streak at the plate. Goldschmidt's offensive success is a great sign for a team that's trying to fight its way against the Cubs and Brewers for the division title. The veteran had a knack for crushing homers this past week, as he hit one every game during the team's six-game winning streak:
Shortstop Paul DeJong and second baseman Kolten Wong have also been solid this past week. DeJong hit .304/.433/.870 in the club's last seven games while Wong notched a five-game hitting streak in that stretch with had three doubles and four RBI.
We still don't know the outlook on some of the Cardinals players on the injured list, but if August and September see healthy, strong returns from players like Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and Jedd Gyorko, then this team may very well be able to continue this hot streak into October.
Still waiting on this year's blockbuster trade
, and while we've seen some minor trades that could potentially be impactful for some contending teams, we're still waiting on a blockbuster trade. A theme for this year's trade deadline is pitching. Almost every team that's buying needs to add pitching, both for the rotation and bullpen.
This new single trade deadline was supposed to inspire more early activity and ultimately result in more trades. But with the way things have been this past week, there's a chance that any big trades that were hopeful to get done at the deadline will be forced to the winter. Everything could easily change in the next few days, but for now, we're still waiting for a blockbuster trade.
In the meantime, CBS Sports will have a regularly updated trade deadline rumors post every day until then. We also took a look at the 50 best trade candidates, including the top 10 pitchers and top 10 hitters on the market. And if you're interested in which prospects could be switching systems before July 31, we have you covered there too.