Biggest Winners and Losers of MLB Week 8
As Major League Baseball closed up shop on the second-to-last week of May, there were plenty of strong performances for the record books.
But for every cycle and one-hitter, there was a blown save or injury to put a damper on some fans of certain teams.
Here is a look at the winners and losers from the eighth week of play in the majors.
Winner: Munenori Kawasaki
Munenori Kawasaki would not usually make his way onto any best-of-the-best list any week in MLB, but thanks to his postgame interview on Sunday, he has finally made it.
The Japanese shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays delivered a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth off of Baltimore's Jim Johnson to earn his postgame show.
By the time Monday morning rolls around, no one will remember what Kawasaki did on the diamond because of his spectacular postgame interview.
Loser: Sophia Minnaert
While Kawasaki was winning the viral battle with anyone else who challenged him on Sunday, Milwaukee Brewers sideline reporter Sophia Minnaert faced the opposite fate.
Minnaert was struck with a ball in the middle of her report on Saturday, and although she continued on in a professional manner, she was clearly frazzled by what just happened to her.
The good news for Minnaert is that she was not hurt.
Winner: Atlanta Braves
Despite losing the final game of their three-game set with the New York Mets on Sunday night, the Atlanta Braves had quite the impressive week. They strung together five wins over the Minnesota Twins and Mets to extend their now-defunct winning streak to eight games.
What is even more impressive about the Braves' current hot streak is that they are patching together their injury-ravaged bullpen and have two regulars in the lineup struggling mightily at the moment.
Loser: Jim Johnson
Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson had quite the erratic week as he blew two saves in AL East play for his ballclub. The first one came on Monday against the New York Yankees, and he capped off his awful week with another one in Toronto on Sunday.
In between the futile results, Johnson recorded a win and a save, but any time a closer concedes five runs and six hits in a week, it must be considered a disappointment.
Winner: Joe Blanton
For the first seven weeks of the season, Joe Blanton could only be labeled as a loser. Luckily for the Los Angeles Angels right-hander, he finally shook that off on Thursday against the Kansas City Royals.
Blanton conceded just two runs and three hits in six and one-third inning on the way to recording his first victory of the season. The 32-year-old was also efficient in his time on the mound, as he threw 87 pitches, his third-lowest total of the season.
Loser: Jesus Montero
Jesus Montero was expected to be one of the cornerstones of the Seattle Mariners' rebuilding year in 2013, but instead, he has played bad enough to earn a demotion to Triple-A Tacoma. Montero, 23, was barely hitting over the Mendoza Line at .208 in 29 games this season.
If his head adjusts with the demotion, he should be back in the majors in no time. But if he continues to struggle and lets the demotion affect him mentally, we may not see him back with the Mariners this season.
Winner: Angel Pagan
Angel Pagan made a bit of history at AT&T Park on Saturday as he delivered the first walk-off inside-the-park home run since 2004, when Rey Sanchez accomplished the feat for the Tampa Bay Rays. His shot off the right-center field wall saw the San Francisco Giants center fielder receive a few friendly bounces as he scampered around the bases.
The inside-the-park home run was the third of Pagan's career.
Loser: Curtis Granderson
Add Curtis Granderson to the growing list of injured superstars on the New York Yankees roster.
On Friday, Granderson broke the knuckle in his left pinkie after being hit by a pitch thrown by Tampa Bay's Cesar Ramos.
Granderson is expected to miss four to six weeks, and the Yankees will be forced to send Vernon Wells, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki out to the outfield on a daily basis for the time being, via CBS Sports.
Winner: Mike Trout
Mike Trout is having himself quite the month of May, and he continued his stellar play with a fantastic week out on the diamond.
The highlight of Trout's week came on Tuesday when he hit for the cycle in the Angels' 12-0 win over the Mariners.
Trout continued his strong week at the plate on Thursday night with a monster home run deep into the depths of the center field fountain at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Overall, Trout was 12-for-26 at the plate this week with two homers and seven RBI.
Loser: Chris Perez
The Boston Red Sox added insult to injury for Chris Perez on Sunday, literally.
After the Cleveland Indians closer gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning, he was pulled out of the game with a shoulder injury.
Joe Smith replaced him, but surrendered the walk-off hit to Jacoby Ellsbury. Perez was charged with his second loss of the season.
Winners: National League Young Guns
The young guns of the National League continued their dominance this week as Arizona's Patrick Corbin and Washington's Jordan Zimmermann each recorded their eighth win of the season.
Zimmermann became the first NL hurler to reach eight wins on Friday with his defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park.
Corbin caught up with the Washington right-hander on Sunday as he defeated the San Diego Padres to earn a win in his sixth straight start.
Not to be outdone by the two eight-game winners, St. Louis' Lance Lynn won his seventh game of the season on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Loser: Clayton Kershaw
Heading into Sunday's start against the St. Louis Cardinals, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had given up fewer than three runs in 22 consecutive starts.
After his departure from the mound at Dodger Stadium, Kershaw's streak was over. The most heartbreaking part is that he was one game away from tying Pedro Martinez's MLB record.
Winner: Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera has been in a class of his own for awhile now, but he elevated his status in the game even higher this week.
After hitting three home runs against Texas last Sunday, Cabrera hit a home run in his first three games this week. The 30-year-old Detroit Tigers third baseman recorded a hit in every game he played in over the past week to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Winners: Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer
Justin Verlander may get all the press in the Detroit rotation, but the other starters in the five-man rotation are pretty good themselves.
Two of them, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, delivered gems on the mound this week for Detroit.
Scherzer started out the week on Tuesday by retiring 22 consecutive batters after giving up a run in the first inning to the Indians on the way to his sixth win of the season. Sanchez was one out away from recording his second career no-hitter on Friday night before Joe Mauer interrupted history in the making.
Despite losing the no-hitter, Sanchez still struck out 12 batters en route to his fifth win of the season.
Who do you think were the winners and losers of week eight in baseball?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.