The baseball season is tense right now. Few years see so many division races still alive in mid-August. Everything is set up for a dramatic, perhaps surprising, end to the regular season.
With such drama comes individual brilliance, which we have highlighted in our weekly awards throughout the campaign…
Performance of the Week
The Athletics – at the time of writing on Saturday afternoon – are tied with the Astros in the West. Yes, that’s every bit as remarkable as it sounds. Winning the first two games of the series in Oakland this weekend was massive. They rode their luck, but managed to keep themselves in the game
Just a run behind in the bottom of the ninth, Houston turned to lefty Tony Sipp, who hadn’t given up a homer to a lefty all year, to face Matt Olson. With a runner on first, a groundball would have ended the game. Olson avoided that, though, and launched a walk-off bomb over the right field wall. The Athletics are legitimate, and it was fitting to see one of their young stars have such a big moment.
Start of the Week
The Mets will look to contend in 2019, but if they don’t, we should expect a monster trade for deGrom. The right-hander has a case as the best pitcher in the game right now as he proved again this week.
Defensive Play of the Week
Sure, there were probably better individual plays than this one, but Harrison Bader deserves some recognition. The centre fielder is one of the best defenders in the game right now. These catches are almost routine.
They have leapfrogged Milwaukee for the second NL Wild Card spot. 👀 pic.twitter.com/Sb99i47fcf
— MLB (@MLB) August 19, 2018
Bader is combining elite defence with a serviceable bat, with an on-base percentage over .350, a few home runs and 12 stolen bases. The Cardinals have had an up and down year, but Bader has been a huge positive.
Nightmare of the Week
The Dodgers’ bullpen has been all over the place since Kenley Jansen went on the disabled list. Los Angeles are in the top three for blown saves in all of baseball, but their balk-off loss to the Mariners might be the most painful of the lot.
Edwin Diaz had blown his first save in his last 29 opportunities, but Seattle loaded the bases with the game tied in the 10th. Dylan Floro came set, before stepping off the mound. A balk was called and the Dodger bullpen cost their team another (potential) win.