Second Week News
Week 2 of the MLB season is behind us, and it was an eventful one for sure. Let's recap all the events of this past week. Players of the Week: Although many players were certainly deserving of this award, the 2 players who did win it hand phenomenal week, destroying the opposition. In the AL, Mariner's lefty James Paxton took home the award with a 2-0 record, 17 K's, and a 0.00 ERA. Paxton has an astounding week, further showing his dominance this year, extending his scoreless streak this season to 21 innings. So far Paxton has been a bright star for the Mariners as they look to turn around their luck. Heading over to the NL player of the week, Marlin's outfielder Marcell Ozuna swung a hot bat, and played exceptional defense. At the plate Ozuna had a solid .435 batting average, while hitting 4 home run driving in 12 over the week. Ozuna' Week defensively was highlighted with a play where Ozuna hung onto the wall, robbing Met's infielder Wilmer Flores of extra bases. Ozuna will look to continue his dominance early in the year to help his team contend in a stacked NL East. Events- Sun Trust Park: On Friday the Braves finally opened their new ball park for regular season play, and it was nothing short of an amazing event. In a pregame ceremony the Braves brought legends, John Smoltz, Phil Niekro, and Hank Aaron among others. The Braves opened the park with a win Friday night, highlighted by a home run from Ender Inciarte, marking the first home run hit in the new stadium. The opening of a new park has proved to be very helpful to the Braves however, with them winning all 4 games at home this year, leading them to a 5 game winning streak early on in the season. The Braves seem to like playing at Sun Trust Park, and will try to continue their dominance at home against their NL East rival Washington Nationals. Ring Ceremony: After stunning the nation and breaking their 108 year championship drought, the Cubs got their well deserved championship ring, and raised the championship banner in the outfield. The Cubs had a very nice presentation ceremony, bringing back now retired catcher David Ross to throw out the first pitch at the game, and to sing take me out to the ball game during the 7th inning stretch. The Cubs finally have their World Championship after 108 years of waiting, and will look to repeat this season. Jackie Robinson Day: As celebrated every year now, this week marked the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, now know as Jackie Robinson Day. Celebrated throughout the major leagues, Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated during all 15 games that day, with the Dodgers, the team Jackie broke into the big leagues with, doing something extra special. Due to the fact that this year marks the 70th anniversary of Jackie's accomplishment, the Dodgers unveiled a statue of Jackie sliding into home. This is very special because this is the first statue at Dodger Stadium, and currently the only statue, showing the significance of Jackie Robinson in not only baseball history, but in history in general. Key Performers- Besides the players that took home player of the week honors, a lot of people had tremendous performances this week. Yoenis Cespedes: Starting in New York, Met's slugger Yoenis Cespedes had a week to remember, slugging 6 home runs in 3 games, including a 3 home run game against the Phillies. Cespedes joined a group of 3 other Mets who've hit 6 homers in 3 games, and became the first Met to hit 3 home runs in a game twice. Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis: Moving over to Atlanta, the Braves had 2 strong performers from their outfield, those players being Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte. Markakis has been hitting very well this year with him currently sustaining a 10 game hit streak. In this time Markakis has a batting average over .400 and continues to tear the cover off the ball day in and day out. Ender Inciarte has also gotten on a bit of a hot streak, hitting 4 home runs already this year, surpassing his total from all of last year of 3. With the combo of Inciarte and Markakis, along with solid outings from veterans Bartolo Colon and R. A. Dickey, the Braves will look to christen their new park with a playoff appearance. Zack Britton: Heading up to Baltimore, some history was made this week by O's closer Zack Britton. Zack Britton took home the Mariano Rivera AL reliever of the year award by pitching to a 0.54 ERA and locking down a league leading 47 saves. Britton definitely didn't lose his touch in the offseason with already nailing down 5 saves this year. This string of saves from Britton have all been in secretion with him not blowing a single save for 54 straight opportunities. This streak has been monumental and this week Britton tied Tom Gordon for second all-time for the longest save streak. Britton is no where near the top number, 84 straight saves by Eric Gagne but he's making his way up there, and after another dominant season in 2016, Britton will hope to continue his tear in 2017. Eric Thames: Heading to Milwaukee, a wild card signing has turned out to be very good for the Brewers, and they're enjoying every minute of this new player. Eric Thames, the new first baseman for the Brewers, just a week into his major league career, has already broken franchise records. Thames, signed in the off season from the Korean baseball league, was a known slugger in Korea, but it was unknown if his power would translate over to the US. This week Thames silenced all the critics however, smashing 7 home runs in 6 games, beating a franchise record for consecutive games with a home run. Thames has been on fire as of recently and will look to continue his phenomenal hitting in an effort to help his new team. Injuries- As with every week, new injuries always emerge in players, and here are some of the big ones from this week. Rich Hill: Dodgers lefty Rich Hill has once again been placed on the 10 day disabled list with a blister on his left middle finger. Hill has been plagued by this blister since coming to the Dodgers at the trade deadline last year, and had to be taken out of his last start after only 3 innings due to it. Hill will go back on the DL in an effort to get rid of the blister for good, so he can return to the mound with no concerns. The Dodgers aren't going to rush Hill off the DL however, rather choosing to make sure it's dealt with so they have completely healthy Hill without any finger concerns. Josh Donaldson: Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson has been placed on the 10 day DL with a right calf injury. Out of the gates this year, Donaldson has been having trouble with the calf, now heading to the DL after the injury sparked back up in a game versus the Orioles. Donaldson isn't expected back into the Blue Jays lineup for a decent amount of time however to insure his health, and to make sure he can perform to the best of his ability. Zack Britton: Oriole's closer Zack Britton also heads to the 10 day DL with left forearm tightness. The lefty injured his arm after his last save, and although this isn't expected to keep him out long term, the Orioles will be very cautious with their all star closer. Gregory Polanco: Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco will be out of the lineup for a few days with a groind injury. It's not a major injury, shown by his ability to pinch hit, which he did in a game already, but when asked if he could run the bases just yet the answer was no. Polanco should be back in the lineup in a few days for the Pirates however, and no DL stint will be necessary. That's the recap for the week. Although we're early in the year it's still been an exciting 2 weeks already. I hope you enjoy the games for the week to come, and for baseball weekly news, come here to Rounding the Bases.