Shohei's Photographic Week

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Somebody please turn the Nickelback off, Shohei’s got this. Shohei Ohtani broke the Angels’ 14-game losing streak with a fantastic pitching performance and effort at the dish on Thursday night. Ohtani hit a two-run home run, and threw seven masterful innings for a 5-2 win against the Boston Red Sox. In the midst of that 14-game spiral that finally ended Thursday, the Angels fired manager Joe Maddon, and also made a comical attempt to streak bust by replacing all walk up music with Nickelback songs.

In his pitching performance, Ohtani reached speeds of up to 101 MPH and gave up just one earned run off four hits, walking two, and striking out six. At the plate, Ohtani went deep in the fourth inning for a two-run bomb, to give the Angels the lead, and the eventual win.

“He carried us on his back,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said of Ohtani. As an added touch, Ohtani gave Nevin the game ball to mark his first-ever win as Angels manager.

The two-way sensation will carry forth a strong 3.64 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 71/13 K/BB ratio in 54 1/3 innings over 10 starts; at the plate, he’s slashing .255/.333/.476 including 13 homers, 41 runs scored, and 37 RBI.

Jared Walsh also hit for the cycle on Saturday - It was just the ninth cycle in the history of the Angels franchise. Walsh joins some esteemed company in Shohei Ohtani in 2019, and Mike Trout in 2013. Trout and Ohtani were the last Angels before Walsh to hit for the cycle. After his massive offensive performance, Walsh is now hitting .260/.309/.474 with 11 homers and 36 RBI on the season.

Also going through the washing machine was Eduardo Escobar on Monday, in a victory over the Padres. Escobar went 4-for-5, including a home run, a triple, a double, and six RBI. Escobar’s cycle was the first one by a Mets player since 2012.

Notable Performances

The Yankees hit six home runs on Saturday, in a package deal during an 8-0 outing of the Cubs. Aaron Judge hit two round-trippers for his major-league leading 24 homers. Giancarlo Stanton also launched one with a 119.8 mph rocket to the second level of Yankee Stadium. Stanton has been absolutely clobbering the ball; his homer on Saturday was the hardest-hit ball in the Majors this season. Power has been just one of the Yankees’ reliable mainstays. Judge holds a ridiculous ​​163 wRC+ and .378 ISO; Stanton is not too far behind with a 142 wRC+ and .253 ISO.

Well-done, Burger: Jake Burger clobbered a 429-foot bomb on Saturday in the fourth inning, finishing the day 2-for-5, including a single. Burger has been one of the more productive hitters on the White Sox; on the season, he's slashing a healthy .280/.326/.528 to go along with eight homers and 22 RBI in only 135 plate appearances.

Byron Buxton has been on quite the hot streak lately; he’s gone deep six times over his last seven games. The 28-year-old is hitting .236/.317/.594 with 35 runs scored, 17 round-trippers, 30 RBI and one stolen base across 186 plate appearances. He was back in the lineup for Sunday’s game, and went 0-for-4 at the dish, but is still an overall strong fantasy contributor. His teammate, Luis Arraez, has hit two homers in his last three games, including a grand slam on Saturday, versus Tampa Bay.

Marcus Semien is showing signs of life lately, after a slow start to the season. On Saturday, Semien went 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs, and also reached base safely in four out of six plate appearances. He’s raised his triple-slash line to .223/.285/.354 including six homers, 24 RBI and 10 stolen bases. In his last 15 games, he’s slashing .281/.361/.594, with six homers, 13 RBI, and five steals.

Sandy Alcantara absolutely dealt against the Nationals on Wednesday, pitching nine shutout frames. Unfortunately, Alcantara walked away with the no-decision, but he’s been absolutely wonderful. He’s gone seven or more innings in his last six starts; his pitching line exudes that excellence, too. He holds a 1.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 77/24 K/BB ratio over 12 starts.

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Injury Report

Some disheartening news for Dodgers fans; Walker Buehler will be out for about three months, perhaps longer. Buehler left his start on Friday with what was then known as right elbow discomfort. An MRI later revealed a flexor strain in Buehler’s right forearm. The good news is that Buehler won’t need surgery, but still a blow to the Dodgers starting rotation. Clayton Kershaw just returned after being out for a month, and Andrew Heaney is looking to begin a rehab start soon.

Brutal news for the Tigers starting rotation: Casey Mize will undergo Tommy John surgery, according to manager A.J. Hinch. Mize has had issues with his elbow since April, and was recently transferred to the 60-day IL. The former first overall pick is expected to miss the remainder of the 2022 season and most of the 2023 campaign.

Michael Kopech, one of the bright spots in the White Sox rotation, exited Sunday’s game early with was later diagnosed as right knee discomfort. This was after throwing just 12 pitches; Kopech attempted to throw a warm up pitch after the injury surfaced, but was unable to continue. Kopech will undergo further evaluation, and is listed as day-to-day for the time being.

Mike Zunino was placed on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation. He’s been dealing with the injury for about a month; no word on how long he expects to be out. Zunino also dealt with a shoulder problem late in spring training, though it’s unclear whether that is related to this injury.

Taylor Ward has been a fantasy surprise for the Angels, but has run into a series of maladies. Ward left Friday's game due to tightness in his right hamstring; however treatment seems to be doing the trick as he’s much better now and looks to return to the lineup on Tuesday, beyond any setbacks. He’s put up an incredible .333/.443/.644 triple-slash line with 10 homers and 26 RBI.

Wander Franco continues to recover from a right quad strain that sent him to the injured list for just the second time in his career back in the later weeks of May. Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters that it's unlikely Franco will return next week as he has not resumed baseball activities. The Rays won’t rush anything here; the 21-year-old’s target return is looking to be more towards the end of June, at this point.

Honor Roll

Hunter Greene (5 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K on Saturday), Darin Ruf (3-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI on Friday), José Berríos (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K on Friday), Paul Blackburn (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K on Friday), Miles Mikolas (8.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K on Thursday), Joey Gallo (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI on Thursday), Kyle Schwarber (4-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R on Wednesday), Aaron Nola (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 6 K, 0 BB on Wednesday), Ronald Acuña Jr. (2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI on Tuesday), Alek Manoah (6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K on Tuesday), Carlos Carrasco (7 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 10 K on Monday), Cal Raleigh (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI on Monday), Zach Plesac (6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K on Sunday), Eugenio Suárez (3-for-4, HR , 2B, 4 RBI, R, BB on Sunday)

Batting Around

The Braves are on an 11 game winning streak as of Sunday, and if there’s anything that keeps the good vibes going in a clubhouse, it’s players making good-natured fun of one another. On Friday, catcher William Contreras attempted to measure Ozzie Albies’ bat by saying it was bigger than Albies. “34 and a half inches and 32 ounces,” Contreras mentioned. “It’s your size,” Contreras said as he held the bat up to Albies.

Two cycles, a great two-way pitching performance, a losing streak ending, and a winning streak endures in this Week that Was. Join us next week as we recall updates, stories, and more from around the world of Major League Baseball.