MLB

MLB weekend winners and losers: Fernando Tatis Jr. clubs five homers vs. Dodgers; bad day for Braves’ bats

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, which included the Oakland Athletics‘ impressive winning streak, Fernando Tatis Jr.’s barrage of homers and a young fan playing hooky.

Winner: Oakland A’s

Technically, the A’s could be a loser as their 13-game winning streak was snapped on Sunday in Baltimore. But it was still a solid weekend for the A’s, who have completely turned things around. Not only did they go from last to first place in the American League West in the blink of an eye, but they recorded the 13-game streak in the process. 

The Athletics lost their first six games of the 2021 season, split their next two, and then rattled off 13 wins in a row. During the winning streak, Oakland outscored opponents 81-36 and out-homered teams 24-7. The A’s, of course, are most remembered for their ‘Moneyball’ winning streak back in 2002 when they went 20-0 in late August into early September.

Bonus winner of the weekend to Cleveland, whose 22-game winning streak from 2017 remains the longest MLB winning streak in more than 100 years.

Loser: Braves‘ Sunday bats

Bad news for the Atlanta Braves: They were held to one hit and did not score a run in a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Worse news for the Atlanta Braves: They had to play another game.

The Braves were unofficially no-hit by Madison Bumgarner across seven innings in the second game of Sunday’s twinbill. The veteran lefty allowed just one baserunner (on an error) and faced the minimum through seven frames. MLB doubleheaders are limited to a pair of seven-inning games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Bumgarner’s “no-hitter” won’t go in the Super Official MLB record books.

The Braves were officially horrendous at the plate on Sunday, however. In their pair of losses, they mustered just the one hit. Zac Gallen held the Braves hitless for the first five innings in Game 1 before Freddie Freeman singled in the sixth. That was the offensive peak of the day for Atlanta, which fell to 9-12 with the pair of losses.

Loser: Jays’ injuries

The Toronto Blue Jays have not quite had the start to the season they had hoped, starting with their big offseason get, George Springer. The center fielder has been sidelined with a quad injury and has still yet to make his season debut. There was optimism that Springer would make his debut this weekend, but it’s still not quite at 100 percent, manager Charlie Montoyo said, with running as Springer’s final hurdle before a potential return. Toronto’s also been without outfielder Teoscar Hernández, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. Beyond those major absences, the Blue Jays have struggled offensively all around.

All across the lineup, strikeouts are up and walks are down. The team’s overall on-base percentage of .299 is ranked for 24th in the league entering Sunday. It’s a trend the club is going to have to fix if they hope to stay relevant in the AL East. Aside from Randal Grichuk and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., there’s not anyone else performing at the plate. Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Rowdy Tellez and Danny Jansen are hitting far below .200.

The injuries are also piling up on the pitching front, too. Jays ace Hyun-Jin Ryu left his Sunday start with a glute injury, in the latest issue for a Toronto starter.

Winner: Fernando Tatis Jr.

Apparently, hitting home runs at Dodger Stadium is a family tradition for the Tatis kinsmen. During Friday night’s opener of another (!!) Padres-Dodgers series, San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. did something really cool. In fact, he did it twice.

Here’s his home run off Clayton Kershaw in the third inning to give the Padres a 2-0 lead:

He added another blast off Kershaw in the fifth:

The homers traveled 431 and 419 feet, respectively.

But that’s not even the cool part. Both of Tatis Jr.’s homers came 22-years to the day of when his father, Fernando Tatis Sr., hit two grand slams at Dodger Stadium in the same inning. They became the first father-son duo in MLB history to each record a multi-home run game at the same venue on the same calendar date. 

“Oh, I definitely knew this was the day,” Tatis told reporters. “I told myself, ‘If I could just hit two home runs today, that would be so crazy.’ I think the baseball gods were in my favor.”

Tatis really earned his winner of the weekend status with two more long balls on Saturday night off Trevor Bauer. Here’s a look at the first, which featured a one-eye celebration that mocked Bauer:

Bauer had pitched against the Padres in spring training with one eye closed, so after Tatis knew it was a goner, he covered one eye as a callback to Bauer’s antic. 

Oh, you thought he was done? Nah. Tatis took Bauer deep again in the same game. The solo homer tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning, though the Padres ultimately fell on Saturday night:

Tatis vs. Bauer spilled over to social media, where the Padres shortstop also had the last laugh.

Tatis punctuated his weekend in L.A. with another blast — his fifth of the weekend — on Sunday in the Padres’ 8-7, extra-inning victory.

Baseball is so much more fun with drama, intensity and personality, and we love when Tatis puts it on full display.

Loser: Zoom class attendance

File this in the latest edition of How Things Are Slowly Returning to Normal: School children are playing hooky again at the ballyard. Fans are back in attendance at every Major League Baseball stadium this season, and that includes this gradeschooler, who, instead of learning times tables via video chat, got a front-row seat to the Cubs‘ demolishing of the Brewers on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. 

The North Siders scored 10 runs in the first two innings of an eventual 15-2 win, making it easy for this young fan to calculate Milwaukee’s non-existent win probability.



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