For the first few weeks of the 2021 season, Mike Trout looked as impressive as ever, and Jacob deGrom was dominant on the mound.
It would have been something to see what they could have done over a full season, but that won’t happen now because both are sidelined with injuries.
Availability could play a major role in this year’s award races. Trout is hitting .333 with eight home runs and an OPS of 1.090, but he went on the injured list Tuesday with a strained calf. DeGrom has an 0.68 ERA through six starts, but he has pitched only once in May because of side tightness. He’s expected back Tuesday.
Aside from Trout, several other recent MVPs have spent time on the IL this season, including Jose Altuve, Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton. Young stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto have also missed time.
The good news is that it doesn’t necessarily take these players long to find their rhythm when they return. In four games since returning from COVID-19, Tatis has 11 hits, four homers and 12 RBIs.
Tatis, who also dealt with shoulder problems earlier in the year, has 13 home runs, just two behind major league leader Ronald Acuña Jr.
San Diego swept a nine-game homestand and leads the Dodgers, who have won seven straight, by a game atop the NL West.
Amid all the talk about dominant pitching and low hit totals, there were actually a handful of offensive breakouts over the past week. The White Sox beat the Twins 16–4 on Monday, the Rays beat the Orioles 13–6 on Tuesday, and the Giants beat the Reds 19–4 on Thursday. Then on Friday, the Braves hammered the Pirates 20–1 and the Padres beat the Mariners 16–1.
You can certainly miss time and still win an MVP award. Trout played only 134 games when he won the honor in 2019, and Mookie Betts played 136 when he won the previous year.
Who is the last player to win MVP and play 162 games in the same year?
Line of the Week
There were two more no-hitters this week—ho hum—by Spencer Turnbull of the Tigers and Corey Kluber of the Yankees. With all due respect to them, let’s focus on some batting exploits. Miguel Sanó and Jesse Winker each had a three-homer game.
Winker’s performance gets the nod because he added in additional hit as well, going 4 for 4 with a walk in Cincinnati’s 9–4 victory over Milwaukee on Friday night.
Comeback of the Week
Up 5–0 in the top of the fifth, the Baltimore Orioles had a 95.6 percent chance to beat Tampa Bay on Wednesday, according to Baseball Savant. Back-to-back homers in that inning by Mike Brosseau and Randy Arozarena brought the Rays within two, and then Arozarena tied it with a two-run shot in the seventh. Tampa Bay eventually won 9–7.
Triple plays are rare enough. It’s even more remarkable when one happens with the game on the line. The Yankees and White Sox were tied at 1 in the top of the ninth Friday night when Chicago put men on first and second with nobody out. Then Andrew Vaughn bounced into a 5–4–3 triple play, abruptly ending the threat. New York scored a run in the bottom of the inning to win.
Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins played 162 games and was the National League MVP in 2007.
By Noah Trister