Getaway Day: Everything good (and bad) for each MLB team this week


Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper gestures to the dugout while rounding the bases after hitting a game-winning walk-off three run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning at Nationals Park on April 16, 2017. The Nationals won 6-4.  Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As Major League Baseball continues ease into their marathon 162-game regular season, early storylines are starting to take shape around the league with week two of the season on the books.

Bryce Harper appears comfortable in his 2017 revival, while Chris Sale continues to make fast friends in his new digs in Beantown. No-hit bids from no less than Tyler Chatwood, Dan Straily and Jaime Garcia meant there was some scoreboard watching over the weekend, while Yoenis Cespedes, Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton reaffirmed their presence in resounding fashion as well. Conversely, injuries to Buster Posey and Aaron Sanchez were tough blows for teams already in need of some good news.

And as the game celebrated the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut this weekend, the early-season surge of some unforeseen strong starts was offset by the inexplicable stumbles of a few preseason favorites. The Royals, Yankees and Astros have gone streaking, while the Cardinals and Blue Jays stand chiefly among the most shockingly bad clubs to begin the year.

We are still clearly in the 'it's too early' to panic or completely believe the hype part of the schedule, enough time has passed to break down how things are shaking out across the game. So without further delay, here is a look at the last seven days for every team around the MLB universe, as well as what shape they are in headed into the new work week.

In short, this is why each team stinks (or was good!) this past week, and what the upcoming future looks holds for each club. 

American League

Baltimore Orioles

'Twas a good week for the O’s, as they continued to take the fight to the AL East in a pulverizing fashion, shoveling more dirt on the grave of the Blue Jays, as well as picking up a win over the Red Sox as well. They’ve established early dominance in the East, even before heading out to face the much easier NL Central this week. However, they will do so without their top gun, closer Zach Britton, who is headed to the disabled list with the always scary, vaguely referenced ‘forearm’ injury. Britton has converted 54 straight saves, and is closing in on the all-time consecutive saves record, a pursuit that will be indefinitely stalled now.

Boston Red Sox

The uneven start for the Sox continued, as they alternated wins all week, a hangover from dropping three of four against the Tigers, which trickled in to start the week. Chris Sale had a dominant 12 strikeout outing on Saturday, which set the Sox up for a series win on Sunday over the Rays, only second time they have won on back-to-back dates this year. It is going to be hard to find breathing room to reset, so they’ll need to fight through to find some consistency soon. They are headed to the road for the next week to face the Blue Jays and Orioles, in a week of facing the ceiling and cellar of the AL East. It will be a telling week for BoSox, who are only half way through a grueling 19-consecutive game slate.

Chicago White Sox

It is never a good sign when the trades you could potentially make later in the year are making more waves than the baseball a team is currently playing. And while it is virtually inevitable that their garage sale will continue this summer, the South Side Sox are doing a surprisingly good job of mixing up things in the AL Central. Leading the charge is Avisail Garcia, who is leading the young AL season in batting thus far. The Sox will head into the new week with the confidence of taking two of three from the Indians, and preventing a let down against the Twins as well. The new week will bring the challenge of a hot Yankee club, followed by trip home to revisit the Indians. 

Cleveland Indians

An elite starting pitching staff has been a hallmark for the Indians, long before their 2016 World Series run. However, a 2017 title seems further away than ever, as the Indians rotation currently has been tagged for six losses along with a 6.79 ERA, the worst in the American League. It’s never easy to pick up from where you left off at, especially when that bookmark was placed in the World Series, but the Indians are falling short of their potential right now. However, a week of games against the Twins and White Sox should provide an apt test of their fortitude on the road, one they need to pass if they want to establish themselves for the long haul.


Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 14, 2017. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have yet to lose a series on the season, fueled by a revival this week from Miguel Cabrera, as well as Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Tyler Collins all taking the fight to opposing pitchers on a nightly basis. The good news is that the offense has found its way. The week ahead could be a great proving ground as well, as they’ll head out to face a pair of teams that are mid-tier talent bases in the Rays and Twins. However, if they stumble on the road and waste this opportunity, they could be faced with the reality of missing a crucial time to put space between themselves and an Indians team that is bound to get it together sooner than later.

Houston Astros

The expectations were for Houston to be a force this season and to make up for the stumbles of last summer. And thus far, they have done that and more, as the 'Stros are the top team in the American League and riding a four game winning streak into the new week.  All is seemingly well and good, but if this is to be sustained, Carlos Correa (.234), Alex Bregman (.238) and George Springer, even with his AL-best six home runs, is going to have to make it to base more often (.298 on-base %). In addition, Keuchel is carrying much of the weight for a rotation that is leaning heavily on the offense to carry them on days when he is not on the bump. That will need to balance out if they are to fend off the pack in the long term.

Kansas City Royals

On the surface level, it would seem like the Royals would be struggling. Outside of Lorenzo Cain, Salvy Perez and Mike Moustakas, the Royals everyday numbers are not much to behold. Outside of the aforementioned trio, Gordon’s paltry .208 average topped the rest of their everyday starters over the last week. Yet, still they rise. The Royals completed a three game sweep of the Angels on Sunday to run their current winning streak to four games. Now they get the benefit of facing the Giants without Buster Posey and will miss both Madison Bumgarner and former Royal Johnny Cueto when they host the Giants this week, so there could be a real chance of getting their bats in gear as a complete unit still.


Los Angeles Angels catcher Carlos Perez (58) is doused with Powerade by center fielder Mike Trout (27) and third baseman Yunel Escobar (0) after hitting a walk-off bunt in the 10th inning to defeat the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Angels won 6-5 in 10 innings on April 11, 2017. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Angels

Week two of the year was the polar opposite of what week one was in Anaheim. The Halos followed up a sweep of the Mariners and a win over the Rangers by dropped five in a row to Texas and the Royals. They will now enter the new week coming out off a sweep at the hands of the Royals. However, the good news continues to be ‘Hey, you’ve got Mike Trout!’, continued by the offsetting facts of for as long as that is basically all they have, they’ll be prone to more lows than highs.

Minnesota Twins

Even in the long grind of what is the MLB season, there are windows of opportunity that must be grabbed, and the Twins failed to do so this week. Despite a quick start to the season, they have now dropped four of their last six. And while this is mostly well and good, a brutal week lies ahead, with Indians and Tigers coming to town, followed by a trip to visit the Rangers. These are the type of stretches that kill the momentum of young teams that are establishing their footing still. We will see what the Twins are made of soon enough.

New York Yankees

The hottest team in the American League right now are the Yanks, who carried the momentum of a win over the AL East-best Orioles into the week and built on it with a sweep of the Rays and winning a weekend series over the St. Louis Cardinals as well. Fueled by a scorching hot start from Chase Headley and the powerful bat of Aaron Judge, the Yankees +14 run differential is second best in the AL this year. What’s more is that they have room to continue on this pace as well, with cushy matchups with the Pirates and White Sox waiting. The only thing that could cause some pause is how long they can continue this pace without a pair of vital starters in Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius. The retooling on the run Yanks are ill-equipped to capitalize on their hot start long-term without the duo.

Oakland Athletics

The A’s are an odd team to get a peg on. As is the case with most young teams, one second they are one way, then a completely different one the next day. Case in point, after holding the Royals to four runs over three games to start the week, they were completely obliterated by the Astros over the weekend, allowing 17 runs in two games before the postponement of the series finale on Sunday due to weather.

Seattle Mariners

One thing for certain is that the Mariners have some undeniable young talents on their roster. Mitch Haniger is the real deal, while James Paxton is yet to allow allow a run over three starts (21 innings) on the season. The bad side is that they are stuck in last place in the AL West because their veteran core within their lineup is yet to get into gear. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager have only two home runs in over 120 at-bats on the year, which is a non-starter for any hopes of success the M’s have of getting in gear.

Tampa Bay Rays

It is increasingly appearing that the Rays only have a shot on days when Chris Archer is on the mound. Case in point: on days when Archer starts (like last Friday), the Rays are 3-0 and have allowed 5 runs over his innings worked. Otherwise, the Rays rotation has been rough and things took a turn for the worse on Saturday afternoon, when Jake Odorizzi left early with a hamstring injury. That injury will now put the Rays’ #2 starter on the disabled list for at least the next 10 days. The timing of this outcome is badly placed as well, as Tampa has a week ahead hosting the Tigers and Astros after finishing up in Boston. The bright side is that at least Archer will get the ball again though soon.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers bats came to life in the last week, with Jurickson Profar, Jonathan Lucroy and Elvis Andrus finally showing up the party that Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo got started. While there still is no good news on the Adrian Beltre front, the numbers game is finally shifting in their favor. Texas has a chance to make a really big run coming up soon. But weekends like the one that just past, where they supplied a few life support wins to the rudderless Mariners are extremely hurtful to that cause. With the month wrapping up with matchups against the A’s, Royals, Twins and Angels, the Rangers have a huge opportunity ahead to take over the AL West.


Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin reacts during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on April 9, 2017. The Rays won 7-2.  Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays

Take a deep breath Blue Jay fans, because a few things are absolutely true about this ballclub. Number one: it is clear they are no longer the team that imposed its will on the American League over the last two years. Troy Tulowitzki continues to struggle in his post-Coors days, Jose Bautista has done nothing to prove that all of the teams that passed on him this winter were wrong in doing so. So there is a new reality afoot, but not one as extreme as it as been so far, because; number two: things absolutely cannot get worse. Despite a 2-10 start, that has seen injuries to Marco Estrada and Josh Donaldson of late, this is still a talented enough roster to put the brakes on this skid and help the Jays climb again. A strong showing against the Red Sox this week would go a long way towards aiding the cause.

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks

The darlings of week one got a rude awakening from the NL West establishment this week, as they followed up a 7-1 debut week by dropping series against both the Giants and the Dodgers. The D’Backs have now scored the most runs in the NL this year, but also have allowed the most as well. The best news lies in that in-between rendezvous with the Dodgers, they get a mid-week trip to San Diego, where they will face a Padres team that has allowed the second most runs the league... behind themselves, of course.

Atlanta Braves

It was amazing to see Hank Aaron throw out the first pitch at the grand opening of SunTrust Park on Friday, surrounded by a who’s who of Braves legends. It was a hearkening back to the great days of the past of a franchise who defined an era not so long ago. It helped to wash away the nastiness of a 2-6 start on the road, and a taking the first half of the weekend series of the Padres helped to hammer home the fact as well. However, a midweek visit from the Nationals could prove to be badly timed reality check to follow up the joys of the weekend.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubbies rang in the week by raising the first World Championship pennant in Wrigley since the first Roosevelt administration. They followed it up by winning a series over the Dodger club they overcame to make that World Series appearance, affirming the fact that this year’s club is built to defend the title. What followed however was a major letdown in the form of a sweep at the hands of the Pirates over the weekend. They were only swept twice last year, and not until mid-June, so perhaps they are just getting it out of their system early this time around. The Cubs offense has been slow to come around this year, and while that’s as temporary of a problem as there can be, it is a thorn in their foot for the time being.

Cincinnati Reds

If anybody would have said that the Reds would have a 1.5 game lead at any point in the season in the NL Central, there would have been more than enough just cause to have them institutionalized. Yet, here we stand, half a month into the season, and the Reds are atop the NL Central. Zack Cozart is leading the majors in hitting, Eugenio Suarez is not far behind and Scooter Gennett and Scott Schebler are powering them along the way. Sounds like the standard slate of stars doing their usual work, no? Well, the answer absolutely is no, so this quick start is the definition of a temporary one. With the AL East-leading Orioles coming to town, followed by their first matchup of the year with the Cubs behind that, odds say that a reality check is coming to the Queen City imminently.

Colorado Rockies

After capping the weekend by taking three of four from the Giants, the Rockies continue to be the pacesetters in the NL West. Nolan Arenado is putting on his usual show, and Mark Reynolds is matching him in the power department, as both have four homers on the young year. The biggest difference in it all has been that they are getting reliable pitching, as the additions of Mike Dunn and closer Greg Holland have been tremendous thus far. Despite this encouraging start, it is unlikely to be maintained if Carlos Gonzalez (.192), Charlie Blackmon (.232) and Trevor Story (.114) don’t get their bats going soon. Because as always, the Rockies will only go as far as their bats send them.


Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw and manager Dave Roberts celebrate the 7-1 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on April 14, 2017. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers

LA got its swagger back over the weekend, dusting themselves off after stumbling through a pair of series against the Diamondbacks and Rockies. Lead by Clayton Kershaw’s big outing over former Dodger Zach Greinke on Friday, LA is putting an all-out rush on the Rockies atop the NL West. They have played much better than their record indicates because they plainly are better than it. With 10 straight games against NL West foes, also have a great chance to pull away from the pack early in the year… or making things more interesting than it needs to be.

Miami Marlins

Nothing like a little no-hit hysteria to cap the week of, eh? Dan Straily and the Marlins bullpen did a bang up job of providing it on Sunday, before letting up late after five Marlins pitchers factored in. Ultimately, it was a lost opportunity for another win against a Mets team they have thrived against so far. Regardless of the outcome, it capped an exciting week for the Fish, where Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich began to join the party that Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto have been having at the plate. The Marlins lineup is heating up at the right time, because they have a huge opportunity ahead of them, with a tasty set of back-to-back matchups with the Mariners and Padres ahead of them.

Milwaukee Brewers

The offseason’s most fascinating addition was without a doubt Eric Thames, the former backup outfielder turned power hitting corner infielder in Korea. And he has wasted little time in the new year proving his carryover value, hitting .444 with four homers over the past week. It helped propel the Brewers to a 5-1 record over the last week, an undeniably strong showing. However, an equal drawback was shown in the continued early struggles from young starter Zach Davies, who failed to reach the sixth inning for the third time in as many starts on the year this week. The righty is carrying a brutal 8.70 ERA and .344 average against on the year now.

New York Mets

The positive vibes of an early week sweep of the Phillies were put to bed by a pair of frustrating losses at the hands of the Marlins over the weekend. Late let ups by the bullpen saw the Mets be swept in Miami, as well as nearly no-hit on Sunday. Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler continued to struggle in the process, failing to support the star studded trio atop the Mets’ rotation. The bright side is that Yoenis Cespedes resoundingly broke out of his early season slump, as he raked five home runs over the past week, loudly announcing his presence on the season. And as the last year and some change has shown, a healthy and hitting Cespedes equals great things for the Mets’ chances.

Philadelphia Phillies

It was a frustrating week for the Phils, fueled by a sweep at the hands of the Mets to start things off, and then having it capped by a walk-off, three run home run from Bryce Harper to cap it off on the back end. It was a demoralizing type of loss that very few players can produce so resounding, as the "why not just walk him" second guessing came into play as soon as his bat flashed through the zone. On a positive note, Jeremy Hellickson has been electric so far. There were some groans about the $17 million payday he garnered by accepting the qualifying offer this winter, but through three starts he’s worked to a 1.59 ERA, along with a pair of wins. He’s the bookmark ace that the up-and-coming Phillies need right now.

Pittsburgh Pirates

There are a lot of eyes on just who the Pirates will be this year, and their slightly sub-.500 start has done little answer questions on either side of the isle. On one end, they take the fight to the Cubs in an encouraging fashion, as they did in Saturday’s 8-7 victory. And at the same time, they put up little fight over the course of a four day stretch where they were swept by the Reds and then put down by the Red Sox in a one-day postponement make up date. Maybe they, a) just really have trouble with things associated with the color red, or b) are still unable to find the consistency in any one aspect of the game needed to be a strong collective day in and day out. A trip to St. Louis and then a host job with the Yankees await, making it difficult to predict how the Buccos will respond to a varied terrain of opponents.


 San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers slides in for a triple in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 11, 2017. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres

The Pads opened up the week with a pair of surprising victories in Colorado, including one where Wil Myers hit the for the cycle. However, that momentum was quickly lost, as the Padres wrapped the week up by taking three brutal losses in Atlanta, including a brush with being no-hit at the hands of Jaime Garcia on Sunday. Expectations are low (maybe the lowest in the game) for the Padres this summer, but some breakthrough showings from some of the young studs they are hanging their hat on, such as Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, could be enough to earn some occasional upsets.

San Francisco Giants

The week got off to as bad of a start as possible, when franchise cornerstone Buster Posey took a fastball to the helmet in the home debut and headed to the 10-day DL shortly afterwards. The Giants rallied up however, taking the series from the D’Backs before dropping three of four over the weekend against the Rockies. Now the reeling Giants will be tasked with breaking up the surging Royals in a two game stint to start the week in Kansas City. The Giants need to get in gear over the next week, as their chief rivals in Los Angeles loom a week away in the future for the first time in 2017. Hopefully by that time, Posey will back in action to steady the stormy seas they are sailing on.

St. Louis Cardinals

It has been as awful of a start as imaginable for the Cardinals, who have now lost each series of the young season. The Nationals took them to the woodshed for the front end of their three game series in D.C., allowing them to win despite committing four errors in the series opener. They followed that by losing in opposite fashion in the Bronx over the weekend, dropping a pair of one-run games to the Yanks. The brightest spot of all has been the turnaround performance by Mike Leake, who has bounced back in resounding fashion from his career-worst 2016 effort. Leake has allowed a single run on the year (0.76 ERA) and retired 19 straight Nationals during a Wednesday afternoon victory.

Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman had a hits party with the Cardinals in town, reaching base a combined 24 times in three games. The Nats were dominant over the first two games of the series, and competed hard until late in the third matchup behind Max Scherzer as well. And that momentum took a booster shot in the last at-bat of the week, has Bryce Harper launched a three-run homer to win the game, and the series, for the Nats over the Phillies. It saved them from falling to an excusable 2-4 against a team they should be taking regular liberties against. Now they'll look to avoid slipping on a banana along the way, as they take a road trip down to Atlanta to take on the bottom feeding Braves.

Matt Whitener is St. Louis-based writer, radio host and 12-6 curveball enthusiast. He has been covering Major League Baseball since 2010, and dabbles in WWE, NBA and other odd jobs as well. Follow Matt on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

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QUIZ: Name the youngest and oldest player on every team's 2017 Opening Day Roster

Young and old. Rookie and veteran. Two essential ingredients of every roster to help survive the 162 games out of the regular season wilderness and into the postseason and World Series glory.

Can you name the youngest and oldest player on the 2017 Opening Roster of all 30 MLB teams?

Clue: Team-Age-Position

Score:
0/60
Time:
10:00
ARI-24-UT
Brandon Drury
ARI-40-RP
Fernando Rodney
ATL-23-SS
Dansby Swanson
ATL-43-SP
Bartolo Colon
BAL-24-SP
Dylan Bundy
BAL-34-SS
J.J. Hardy
BOS-22-LF
Andrew Benintendi
BOS-33-CF
Chris Young
CHC-22-CF
Albert Almora
CHC-42-RP
Koji Uehara
CHW-23-SS
Tim Anderson
CHW-35-SP
James Shields
CIN-22-2B
Jose Peraza
CIN-34-RP
Scott Feldman
CLE-23-SS
Francisco Lindor
CLE-34-UT
Edwin Encarnacion
COL-22-RP
German Marquez
COL-33-IF
Mark Reynolds
DET-23-SP
Daniel Norris
DET-38-DH
Victor Martinez
HOU-22-SS
Carlos Correa
HOU-39-OF
Carlos Beltran
KC-21-IF
Raul Mondesi Jr.
KC-37-RP
Chris Young
LAA-25-RP
Cam Bedrosian
LAA-37-DH
Albert Pujols
LAD-22-SS
Corey Seager
LAD-38-2B
Chase Utley
MIA-25-LF
Christian Yelich
MIA-43-RF
Ichiro Suzuki
MIL-22-SS
Orlando Arcia
MIL-34-RP
Carlos Torres
MIN-23-OF
Byron Buxton
MIN-36-RP
Matt Belisle
NYM-23-SP
Robert Gsellman
NYM-36-OF
Curtis Granderson
NYY-23-SP
Luis Severino
NYY-37-OF
Matt Holliday
OAK-24-RP
Frankie Montas
OAK-36-RP
Santiago Casilla
PHI-24-RP
Edubray Ramos
PHI-39-RP
Joaquin Benoit
PIT-23-SP
Tyler Glasnow
PIT-35-C
Chris Stewart
SD-20-C
Luis Torrens
SD-34-SP
Jered Weaver
SF-26-2B
Joe Panik
SF-35-IF
Aaron Hill
SEA-23-RP
Edwin Diaz
SEA-38-C
Carlos Ruiz
STL-24-RP
Sam Tuivailala
STL-35-SP
Adam Wainwright
TB-23-IF
Daniel Robertson
TB-34-OF
Rickie Weeks
TEX-21-OF
Nomar Mazara
TEX-35-1B
Mike Napoli
TOR-24-SP
Aaron Sanchez
TOR-40-RP
Jason Grilli
WAS-23-OF/2B
Trea Turner
WAS-37-OF
Jayson Werth
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