With another month of baseball closing out, the race for October will soon heat up, along with the weather. The month of July has provided plenty of fireworks from the diamond. From the All-Star festivities to stars returning to work hot, here are just some of the best of what July hosted in the 2018 MLB season.
July Recap: Home Run Derby
Before the 84th All-Star Game, uncertainty surrounded the upcoming Home Run Derby. Many of the hottest sluggers opted to pass on the initiation. Luckily for the Nationals fans, Bryce Harper stood among the eight contenders in the Derby. With his father, Ron, pitching to him, Harper swung his way to the final round, where he would compete against Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber.
Schwarber belted a formidable 18 home runs to start off the round. But Harper was not intimidated. Rocking the stars and stripes, Harper ultimately surpassed the mark and captured the title on his home turf. Although many pointed out that he did not wait for one of the balls to land before he could swing, Harper still reigned supreme. Bryce also became the third player in Derby history to win in the ballpark he called home. The first two were Ryne Sandburg in 1990 as a Chicago Cub and Todd Frazier in 2015 as a Cincinnati Red.
July Recap: Back to Work
Boston Remains Hot
After the Midsummer Classic, several teams might run into trouble getting the ball rolling for the second half of the season. The Boston Red Sox, it seems, have no trouble in doing so. Since the All-Star Break, the Red Sox have won seven of their last ten games. They are also maintaining a 5.5 game lead over the rest of the American League East. Along with the best record in baseball, Alex Cora and company are eyeing to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2013. With names like Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez on board, that goal seems more and more possible. But they will have to keep improving to accomplish their mission. Not to mention their archrivals, the New York Yankees, have won the majority of their meetings.
The New Man on Campus
Los Angeles Dodgers’manager, Dave Roberts, was simply manning the helm for the National League Team in the All-Star Game. But what he didn’t realize at the time was that he was receiving a huge weapon under his command.
After months of trade speculation, Baltimore Star shortstop, Manny Machado, was heading to the west coast and wearing the blue and white. Since his new change of uniform, Manny has shown no signs of slowing down from the batter’s box. Machado has averaged a .316 batting average in his last 15 games. He has tallied three home runs and seven RBI’s during that span.
This acquisition also has raised the pressure on L.A. significantly. The Dodgers are eyeing a return to the World Series for some unfinished business. It will be a title-or-bust situation now that the batting lineup has a huge boost.
Dave Roberts and company DO have the lead in the National League West. But they will have to play all of his cards right from now through October to take another shot for the World Series ring.
MVP’s of July
The NL MVP for the month July is another man sporting a new uniform in 2018: Milwaukee Brewers Left-fielder, Christian Yelich. Prior to the start of this season, Yelich was a Miami Marlin, and among several names to leave during Miami’s massive rebuilding process. In his last 30 games, Yelich’s batting average has rocketed upward to .376. He has also cashed in six home runs and 26 RBI’s in that span. This would bring his season totals to 15 home runs and 57 RBI’s.
The AL MVP for July is another left-fielder: Boston Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez. Martinez has belted 10 home runs and 34 RBI’s in his last 30 games. He has also boasted a .345 batting average in that window of time. It could very well be that Martinez will win the batting Triple Crown at the current pace. He already leads the AL in home runs and RBI’s, being the first since Miguel Cabrera in 2012. But he will have stubborn obstacles on his way to the highly coveted hardware.
Featured image courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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