MLB weekend recap: Aaron Judge powers Yankees to ninth straight win ahead of showdown vs. Blue Jays


Four weeks into the 2022 season, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the Major League Baseball landscape. Teams have played roughly 13 percent of their schedules with another jam-packed weekend in the books. Sample sizes are getting larger and hope is being gained or lost by fan bases across baseball. 

As teams travel to start a new week, we wanted to recap the weekend with some of the best moments from the last three days in baseball, as well as what’s on deck this coming week.

Highlight of the Weekend

We had an easy call last weekend with Miguel Cabrera’s 3,000th hit and we have another easy call this weekend. Friday night the Mets threw the first no-hitter of the 2022 season and the second no-hitter in franchise history. Five pitchers — Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodríguez, Seth Lugo, Edwin Díaz — combined to strike out 12 Phillies in the no-hit effort.

“How often do you see a no-hitter? It’s like seeing a white buffalo or a unicorn,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso told reporters, including MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. James McCann caught the no-hitter and added: “It’s something that (will) be in history forever. Whether it’s one pitcher or five pitchers, it’s a no-hitter. It’s just special.”

The Mets lead the NL East and their rotation has been dominant even without Jacob deGrom and the lineup has been productive top to bottom. It’s a little too early in the season to say a team has a “special” feeling, but if any team is giving off those vibes in 2022, it’s the Amazin’ Mets.

Springer sinks the Astros

George Springer had himself quite a weekend against his former team. Saturday afternoon he slugged two solo home runs in a 2-1 win (box score), and he continued his march up the all-time leadoff home run leaderboard. Saturday’s was No. 46 of his career, sixth most behind Rickey Henderson (81), Alfonso Soriano (54), Craig Biggio (53), Ian Kinsler (48), and Curtis Granderson (47). 

On Sunday, Springer drew a walk and (technically) scored the Blue Jays’ first run on Bo Bichette’s two-run homer. He also saved the game with a lunging catch in right field in the ninth inning. The Astros had a runner on second with one out when Springer took extra bases away from Alex Bregman. Check it out:

Springer is 5 for 18 (.278) with three home runs, three walks, and three strikeouts in five career games against the Astros. Houston went to the World Series last season, so it’s not like they’ve been down in the dumps, but Springer hasn’t been shy about showing them what they’re missing out on.

Also, shout out to Jordan Romano. He closed out Sunday’s win (TOR 3, HOU 2), already Toronto’s ninth one-run win of the season. The Blue Jays have played 23 games and Romano leads baseball in saves (11) and appearances (13). Pay that man time and a half.

Judge leads Yankees to ninth straight win

Aaron Judge is making an all-time gutsy bet on himself this season. He turned down a seven-year extension worth $213.5 million just before Opening Day, and, if anything, he’s made himself more money in the first few weeks of the regular season. Judge hit two home runs Sunday to lead the Yankees to their ninth straight win. 

The first home run was a titanic 453-foot blast. Between the two dingers, Judge also contributed a little check swing ground ball to drive in the game-tying run. Talk about two different ways to get the job done.

The two home runs raised Judge’s season batting line to .300/.364/.663 through 22 games. He is 12 for 33 (.364) with seven home runs in his last eight games. It is a long, long season, but Judge certainly isn’t wilting under the pressure of having to perform after turning down a massive contract extension. He’s thriving.

Also thriving: the Yankees in general. As noted, Sunday was their ninth consecutive win, and they erased an early 4-1 deficit to make it happen (NY 6, KC 4). The win improved New York’s record to an MLB best 16-6. They rank third in baseball in runs scored per game and second in fewest runs allowed per game.

On deck

Clevinger’s return: The Padres take an impressive 15-8 record into Monday, and they will welcome righty Mike Clevinger back to the rotation in a few days. Clevinger missed the entire 2021 season following his second career Tommy John surgery, and his 2022 debut was delayed by a spring training knee injury. Tuesday’s start will be in Cleveland, against his former team. 

“I’ve had that marked on my calendar since before the season, since the schedule dropped,” Clevinger told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune about facing the Guardians. “… I fell in love with the city and in love with the community there and the team, the staff there. I had great memories, some of the best memories of my life. Now it’s even more fun story to go back and put it to them.”  

Clevinger, 31, allowed two runs in 8 2/3 innings in three minor-league rehab starts. He struck out 15. Cleveland traded Clevinger to the Padres at the 2020 deadline and he pitched to a 3.02 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings that season. The Padres are adding a potential impact arm to the rotation. For Clevinger, he can begin rebuilding his stock before heading into free agency.

Yankees at Blue Jays (three games beginning Monday): These two AL East rivals split four games in the Bronx last month, and now the season series shifts to Toronto. The Yankees and Blue Jays (and Rays, and maybe even the Red Sox) figure to battle for the division title all season. The AL East became the first division in the divisional play era with four 90-win teams last season. It could happen again, making these head-to-head games that much more important.

Braves at Mets (four games beginning Monday): The defending World Series champions have been up and down the first four weeks of the season, though a) Ronald Acuña Jr. returned over the weekend, and b) last year the Braves showed everyone it’s OK if things don’t click right away. The 2021 Braves were the epitome of a “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” team. The Mets have started very well and no doubt want to begin the process of burying Atlanta in the NL East race this week.

Mariners at Astros (three games beginning Monday): Seattle started the season well and has hit the skids lately. Houston started the season slowly and is now rounding into form. Such are the ebbs and flows of the 162-game season. The Mariners took two of three from the Astros in Seattle last month. Now the season series shifts to Minute Maid Park. The Mariners badly want to get over the hump and return to the postseason this year. They’ll have to go through the Astros to do that.

Giants at Dodgers (two games beginning Tuesday): Ho hum, the Dodgers and Giants again have two of the best records in baseball. The Padres appear determined to make the NL West a three-team race, but right now, the Dodgers and Giants are the two powerhouses, and they’ll meet for the first time this season this week. It’s a quick little two-gamer in Los Angeles, but the games count just the same.



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