Another week of Major League Baseball is in the books and this one was a doozy. This week we saw a struggling team go into one of the hardest places to play against one of the best teams in baseball and take a huge series. We also saw a masterful performance at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field from a seasoned veteran who is starting to cement his case for the HOF. We will start however, with our team of the week who is playing an amazing brand of baseball right now and is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Seattle Mariners are the most underrated team in Major League Baseball. They do not play on Sunday night, they are not the head story on MLB Network and they are certainly overshadowed by a team in the same division who happens to be the defending world champions. That being said, what if I told you that the Seattle Mariners were 17 games over .500 and were tied for first place in the AL West. This team is no fluke, and the national media needs to start talking about them. The Mariners went to Tampa this weekend for a four game set with the Rays and they knew that going cross country in the majors is never an easy thing to do. That being said, it is a tad easier when you have guys like Dee Gordon, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in your lineup on a nightly basis. The Mariners bats showed no signs of cooling off over the weekend and thanks to a 10 strikeout performance by ace James Paxton on Sunday, the Mariners got out of Tampa taking 3 out of 4 games. Am I saying that this team is talented enough to compete with the Astros down the stretch, no. But I am saying that this team is legit and postseason baseball will be coming back to the great city of Seattle this October.
The Chicago White Sox shipped up to Boston this weekend as one of the worst teams in baseball. They have a weak starting rotation, a mediocre bullpen and a lineup that can make you sick. The same can not be said for their dancing partners over the weekend, the Boston Red Sox. The Sox were coming into the weekend with one of the best records in baseball, a lethal offense and had seemingly been unbeatable at home to start the year. This had the makings of a sweep written all over it. On Friday during the series opener, the Red Sox sent out their ace Chris Sale, one of the best left handers in all of baseball. Opposing him for the White Sox would be right handed pitcher, Dylan Covey who had only won 2 games in his professional career. The Sox knew if they had any chance of defeating Sale, they would need a sensational performance from Covey, something that is very uncommon for the 26 year old. Covey however defied his own stereotype and pitched the game of his life. He threw 6 shutout innings to go along with 7 strikeouts. The unfortunate thing for the White Sox was that Chris Sale was having a dominant performance himself, shutting their offense down inning by inning while averaging a fastball of 98 MPH. The White Sox managed to scrape a run off of Sale in the 7th inning with a Trayce Thompson single and that was all they needed. The bullpen came in for 3 shutdown innings of relief and the White Sox had stunned the Red Sox, defeating Chris Sale and taking the series opener by the score of 1-0. The confidence carried over throughout the weekend and although they dropped a game on Saturday, they came back and took the series with a huge, series clinching 5-2 win. In a season that has already featured so many lows, it is good to see that the White Sox had finally gave their fans something to cheer about. As for the Red Sox this series loss is not only embarrassing but unacceptable and it will be interesting to see how they will bounce back.
After a slow start to the season, the Cubs are finally starting to play up to their potential and are starting to establish themselves as one of the best teams in the National League. This recent success is due to not only their potent offense but also phenomenal pitching by their starting pitching staff and a perfect example was shown on Saturday afternoon. Getting the start on Saturday for the Cubbies was veteran pitcher, Jon Lester. Lester is the ace of the Cubs staff and if the team is going to be successful, it is going to start with him. Lester had his stuff early and often and was retiring Pirate batters left and right. It even looked like he had the chance to do something special. Lester gave up a triple in the third inning but that was the only taste of hitting that the Pirates were going to get. Lester finished the day with 7.0 IP, 5 SO and 2 BB. Heading into the 8th inning the only scoring of the ball game came in the bottom of the 1st inning, when the Cubs scratched 2 runs across the plate. To finish the game, the Cubs called Justin Wilson and Steve Cishek to shut down the door. They did just that and the Cubs won the game by the score of 2-0. Lester got the win and improved his record to 7-2 on the year to go along with a 2.22 ERA. On a Saturday afternoon at Wrigley that was filled with passionate Cubs fans, a dominating pitching performance by an ace sent the fans home happy and sent the cheers of “Go Cubs Go” fill the Chicago sky, a tune that is in hopes of being sung all summer long.