Weekend MLB recap: Red Sox defeated by Blue Jays; Aaron Judge extends lead with home run; The little ones sweep Phyllis

With the first weekend of the second half in the books and the MLB trade deadline just over a week away, the next few days will be busy in baseball. Let’s dive into what you need to know about this weekend’s action.

Weekend highlight: The four most interesting runs scored by the Blue Jays against the Red Sox

Here’s a simple rule for this feature: If a player hits an inside-the-park grand slam, as Blue Jays outfielder Raimel Tapia did Friday night against the Red Sox, then he gets the all-important weekend honor, no questions asked.

Of course, it would be reasonable to question exactly what Red Sox outfielder Jaron Duran was thinking during the streak, which you can watch below:

Duran lost Tapia’s routine fly ball in the sky. He turned and saw the ball bounce off the wall, and instead of chasing it, he took a step or two and stood there as left fielder Alex Verdugo came over to recover and return the ball to the infield. By then, Tapia (and three other Blue Jays) were able to jump the plate and extend their lead to the maximum allowed.

“I just lost it in the twilight,” Duran told the Boston Herald after the game. “I mean Dougie was already right there. Obviously I should have taken a step or two, but he was already going to beat me to the ball, so I just didn’t want to get in his way. What if I sprinted towards her and ran into him or something? But next time I know I have to take a step or two, but he would already be beating me on the ball.”

The Blue Jays beat the Red Sox on Friday, among others, scoring 28 runs en route to setting new franchise records for himself (runs scored) and the Red Sox (runs allowed). The Red Sox have lost five straight games by a combined score of 67-13. The minus-54 differential is the worst by any team over a five-game stretch since at least 1901.

The Phillies entered the All-Star Break on a high note, sweeping the Miami Marlins in three games. Unfortunately, they went the other way to start the second half. On Sunday, the Phillies fell to the Chicago Cubs by a score of 4-3 (box score), completing a three-game sweep in the process.

Cubs catcher Yan Gomez hit two home runs, giving him five on the year. Rookie Nelson Velasquez also launched his fifth home run of the season. Starter Drew Smillie, meanwhile, held the Phillies to two runs (one earned) on four hits over six innings. He struck out four batters.

Including Friday and Saturday’s games, the Phillies were outscored 25-7 by the Cubs, or an average of six runs per game. That is, to quote former Phillies skipper Joe Girardi, not what you want.

The Phillies, 49-46 on the season, are a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the third and final wild card spot in the National League.

Judge extends the lead on a home run

Yankees shortstop Aaron Judge had a great weekend against the Orioles upstart. He went 8 for 13 with two doubles and three home runs in the three games. Judge drives in eight runs. Sunday’s homer was a 456-foot blast over the new left field wall at Camden Yards:

Sunday’s homer was also Judge’s 37th of the season. No other player has more than 30 homers. Judge has a chance to become the first player to enter August with 40 home runs since Barry Bonds and Luis Gonzalez did it in 2001. The Yankees have a day off on Monday before playing six games (two against the Mets and four against the Royals before the calendar to turn to August 1.

Angels blow out Braves to end drought

The Los Angeles Angels crushed the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, winning by a 9-1 final ( score ). Along the way, the Angels snapped an absurd stretch in which they hadn’t won a game started by a pitcher other than Shohei Ohtani since June.

Before Sunday’s game, which was started by Reid Detmers, the Angels had not won with another pitcher on the mound since June 27. This race was started by Noah Syndergaard.

By the way, Dettmers filled his role on Sunday, throwing five innings. Offensively, the Angels were led by catcher Max Stassi, among others, as he drove in three runs. Coincidentally, Ohtani was hitless on Sunday despite scoring a run.

Cardinals’ Arenado, Goldschmidt to miss Blue Jays series

The St. Louis Cardinals will head to Toronto for a short two-game homestand against the Blue Jays this week. When they do, they will be without their All-Star cornerbacks. Both Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are unvaccinated, meaning they will not be able to travel to Canada. (Canada, like the United States, requires all travelers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.) You can read more about this story here.

Rodriguez remains on the sidelines

Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez missed a third straight game Sunday with a bruised left wrist. Rodriguez, who underwent an MRI that confirmed that diagnosis, initially injured his wrist on a stolen base attempt last Sunday. He did participate in both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game, but he has yet to play in the second half. It remains at least possible that the Mariners will place him on the injured list. You can read more about this story here.

On deck

Nationals at Dodgers (three games starting Monday): Normally we wouldn’t highlight a one-sided game like this, but it’s trade season and rumors are swirling about Nationals outfielder Juan Soto. At the very least, this could be among his last games with Washington. It’s also possible that Soto could play against his next team. How about intrigue?

Yankees at Mets (two games start Tuesday): This week we get a bite-sized Subway Series, with the Yankees and Mets playing each other for the first time this season. This could be a World Series preview based on how both teams have played this year. They are due to meet again at the end of August.

Twins at Brewers (two games start Tuesday): The two most overlooked division leaders in MLB will also enjoy a sneak peek at each other this week. They just met earlier in July, with each side picking up one win in another two-game set.

Mariners at Astros (four games start Thursday): The Mariners and Astros wrapped up a series on Sunday and will meet again next weekend for an extended four-game set. The Mariners aren’t a real threat to the Astros’ division lead at this point, but this could still be a playoff preview.

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