Bases Loaded Week In Review

First Base: Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves made history on Tuesday, becoming the youngest player in MLB history to homer in five straight games. Acuña Jr. led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo shot off of Trevor Richards, his third straight game with a leadoff home run, and followed it up with a three-run home run in the seventh for his second home run of the game. Acuña Jr. led off Wednesday’s game against Miami looking to extend his streak, but he was intentionally hit by Jose Ureña on a 97 mph fastball to his elbow that ended up forcing him to be removed from the game. Ureña was immediately ejected from the game and later received a six-game suspension for his actions. Luckily, Acuña Jr. was not injured and ended up playing the next day, although his home run streak ended after he went 1-for-4 with a single. Acuña Jr. came into the year as the No. 1 prospect in baseball, and he has lived up the hype, hitting .295/.359/.575 with 19 home runs in 71 games. It will likely come down to Acuña Jr. and the Nationals Juan Soto for the NL Rookie of the year.

Second Base: After defeating the Astros 7-1 on Saturday, the A’s officially tied the defending World Champions for first place in the AL West. After starting the season 34-36 and being 12 games out of first place in the middle of June, the A’s have gone 40-14 since and have a 15-1-2 record in their last 18 series, passing the second place Mariners and catching all the way up to the first place Astros. Matt Chapman has emerged as a superstar at the hot corner. He is currently sixth in the league in fWAR, and first in defensive runs saved. Jed Lowrie is having a career year, slashing .272/.351/.468 while already hitting a career-high 19 home runs, with still more than a month to go. Khris Davis has been an anchor in the middle of the A’s order for several years now, and is likely putting together his third straight 40+ homer year. Sean Manaea has established himself as the ace of an otherwise veteran-heavy pitching staff. He is 11-8 this year with a 3.44 ERA. The A’s bullpen, also full of veterans, has been very solid this year. Twenty-six-year old rookie Lou Trivino has come out of nowhere, and been one of the best relievers in the game, and Blake Treinen has been arguably the best closer in the league. The A’s are looking to make the postseason for the first time since 2014, when they lost to the Royals in an exhilarating AL Wild Card game in extra innings.

Third Base: On Saturday, the Dodgers lost to the Mariners in 10 innings on a walk off balk. First-base umpire Andy Fletcher stated that Dodgers pitcher Dylan Floro slightly moved his hands after he came to the set position, which brought in the winning run. It was only the 22nd walk-off balk in MLB history, making it rarer than a perfect game, of which 23 have been thrown. It was the first walk-balk since June 18, 2015, a game in which the Dodgers were on the other side of things, defeating the Rangers 1-0 on a balk-off. The Dodgers recovered on Sunday, beating the Mariners 12-1 behind 7 strong innings from Clayton Kershaw. Despite Sunday’s win, they remain in third place in the NL West, and they are 14-14 since trading for superstar Manny Machado. They start an important 3 game series against the red-hot Cardinals on Monday.

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