1. This Labor Day weekend was Grand Slam Palooza
Where to start?
It may have been the best-ever weekend for grand slams, and maybe the most ever, too. It’s up for debate, but the centerpiece had to be this — the walk-off winner from Dan Vogelbach, with the great Bob Uecker on the call in Milwaukee:
Then, the inside-the-park grand slam (officially a triple and two errors) from Nelson Cruz at Fenway Park, to get the Rays right back in a game they’d been getting blown out in, and came back to win in extras.
The Cubs vs. Pirates game on Sunday had three grand slams.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit one in the epic in Toronto on Friday, to tie the game:
And then Marcus Semien, the final blow in a complete shutdown of the Yankees yesterday afternoon:
Jean Segura had one yesterday, too, in a blowout win for the Phillies in Milwaukee.
And Gary Sanchez, on Sunday:
2. An update to the MLB standings
A huge weekend in baseball, with just a few weeks to go, and here are the standings as of this Tuesday afternoon — the Blue Jays on the rise, Yankees slipping, Rays keeping their huge lead, the A’s starting to fall apart, the Mariners maybe getting in the mix, the Braves slipping with Mets and Phillies charging fast in the NL East.
3. The plays of the weekend: Gamel, Swanson, Crawford
Ben Gamel, with an absolute gem of a catch at Wrigley Field on Sunday:
And then Dansby Swanson, to end the game in Colorado:
And on Friday night, the first game of that hugely important series in San Francisco, Brandon Crawford threw out Justin Turner at the plate:
4. Vladdy Jr. and Salvador Perez join the 40 home run club
Shohei Ohtani has company.
5. Albert Pujols can still run, kinda, sorta
This clip has to make any and every baseball montage at the end of the season. What a highlight.
6. The Rays had one of the wildest, best games of the year
Down 7–1 early at Fenway, and the team with the most comeback wins in baseball did it yet again. Winning 11–10 in extras, with a chipping-away rally inning after inning, tying it finally in the ninth with an inside-the-park home run by Austin Meadows.
The AL East is all but done with now, Rays on top.
7. And Wander Franco continued his on-base streak, tying Mickey Mantle
With this game being the best of all in the streak.
Four hits, including a triple and double, as he’s playing like one of the best hitters in all of baseball over the last month.
8. Javy Baez had six straight hits, and the “Thumbs Down Gang” turned the team around this week completely
Disaster, last Sunday, all around. And now, the Mets went on a win streak, Javy Baez took off, Lindor took off, and suddenly they’re right back in it — despite an ugly late-game loss yesterday.
9. The ragtag no-name Cubs have won seven games in a row
Frank Schwindel (who?) has become a sensation in Chicago. With a grand slam one day, multiple game-winning hits, and a walk-off slide into first base just around and under the tag.
10. Collin McHugh made an intentional balk yesterday to avoid getting his signs stolen
Have seen it before, from Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen — but it’s still one of the strangest (but sensible) things to see in a game.
11. The moonshot home run of the weekend: Tyler O’Neill
Into the parking lot in Milwaukee.
12. And lastly: Larry Walker and Derek Jeter will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame tomorrow
It’s been more than two years since the a ceremonial induction took place in Cooperstown, and it should be a good one.