MLB weekend recap: Byron Buxton adds to White Sox’s woes; Miguel Cabrera celebrates 3,000

Three weeks into the 2022 season, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the Major League Baseball landscape. Teams have played roughly 10 percent of their schedules with another jam-packed weekend in the books. Sample sizes are getting larger and hope is being gained or lost by fan bases across baseball.

As teams travel to start a new week, we wanted to recap the weekend with some of the best moments from the last three days in baseball, as well as what’s on deck this coming week.

Highlight of the Weekend

Pretty easy call here, right? It’s Miguel Cabrera’s historic 3,000th hit. An unpopular (but sensible) intentional walk and a rainout forced Cabrera to wait a little longer than we all would have liked, but he did the deed and became the 33rd member of the 3,000-hit club Saturday afternoon. Here’s the milestone knock against the Rockies:

“I couldn’t even feel my legs in the first at-bat,” Cabrera admitted to MLB.com’s Jason Beck after the game. “… This one was really special for me because I wanted to do it here in front of my family, in front of my hometown here in Detroit. I’m happy I hit it here. I’m happy people in Detroit could see it. Hopefully I can get more hits here. Thank God. ”

Cabrera joins Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Aaron (.305), Cabrera (.310), and Mays (.301) are the only members of that group with a lifetime .300 batting average. Miggy is in a very, very, very exclusive club.

It should be noted Cabrera is approaching another significant milestone: 600 doubles. He is sitting on 599 career doubles and will be only the 18th player in history with 600 two-baggers when he gets there. Aaron and Pujols are the only players with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, and 500 homers at the moment. Soon Miggy will join them.

Robinson Canó entered Sunday with 2,631 career hits. He turns 40 in October. Unless Canó gets there, it’ll be a while until we see someone else reach 3,000 hits. Jose Altuve and Freddie Freeman are approaching 1,800 hits at age 32. Manny Machado turns 30 in July and will finish the season with over 1,500 hits as long as he stays healthy.

White Sox continue losing games, players

It was a brutal week for the defending AL Central champion White Sox. They have lost seven games in a row, including six losses in the last five days, and they got walked off by Byron Buxton on Sunday. Chicago has been outscored 45-15 during the seven-game losing streak, their longest since late 2019.

To add injury to stroke, the White Sox lost another key player to injury during the losing streak. Eloy Jiménez will miss at least six weeks with a hamstring injury suffered Saturday. He of course missed close to four months with a pectoral injury last season. Now he’s looking at another extended absence.

Chicago lost Lance Lynn to knee surgery in spring training, then AJ Pollock (hamstring) and Lucas Giolito (oblique) in the early days of the regular season. Pollock and Giolito have since rejoiced the team, but still, that’s a lot of important players missing time on the South Side.

The season is young and the AL Central is not exactly a powerhouse division. Still, the White Sox are facing some real adversity in the early going. They’ve lost one of their top hitters for several weeks, and they seem to be finding a new way to lose each day.

France powering Mariners

Tyler Lawrence France was a 34th-round draft pick out of San Diego State in 2015, going, fittingly, to the Padres. He was shipped to the Mariners in a seven-player deal on the Aug. 31 deadline in 2020. The biggest name in the deal, at the time, was probably catcher / utility player Austin Nola.

Ty France got his first crack at full-time MLB action in 2021 and had a breakout season, slashing .291 / .368 / .445 (127 OPS +) with a 4.3 WAR.

This season, will France be a significant part of the first Mariners playoff team since 2001? Both look the part right now.

The Mariners are off to a solid start to the season, and France is a big reason why. Sunday, France got the scoring started with a two-run homer in the first inning. In the 10th inning, he singled to move the automatic runner to third base (said runner eventually scored to force the 11th) and finished 3-for-5 in the Mariners’ 12-inning win. They ended up going 8-2 on their first homestand of the season.

It was a continuation for France, as he’s been on fire late. In his last eight games, he’s 17-for-34 (.500!) With four homers and 13 RBI. On the season, he’s slashing .375 / .459 / .656 with five homers and 19 RBI in 16 games.

On the deck

DeGrom’s follow up MRI: The Mets have been one of baseball’s best teams in the early going, and their starters took a 2.44 ERA into Sunday’s series finale with the Diamondbacks. They’ve done all that without Jacob deGrom, who went down with a shoulder injury in spring training. He will have a follow up MRI on Monday to check on the healing progress. From Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News:

If all goes well for deGrom following his first shoulder images since he learned of his injury, he should presumably be cleared to return to throwing. DeGrom still has a full ramp-up ahead of him whenever he does receive that permission to begin baseball activities again.

“Everything is going very well,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday. “They’re very happy with where he’s at right now.”

DeGrom, 34 in June, has not pitched since last July 7 due to a variety of injuries. He was excellent before the injury last year (1.08 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 92 innings) and he looked good in his two starts prior to the injury this spring. The Mets have started well and their rotation has been great without deGrom, but you can be sure they’re counting the days until they get the two-time Cy Young winner back. Monday’s MRI is an important step in the process.

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays (four-game series starts Monday): These two AL East rivals met last week in Boston, with the Blue Jays taking two of three. The season series shifts to Toronto this week and that’s notable because several Red Sox players are unable to make the trip due to Canada’s COVID vaccine mandate for incoming international travelers, including righty Tanner Houck. We’ll find out exactly how shorthanded the Red Sox will be this week when they place unvaccinated players on the restricted list Monday.

Cubs vs. Brewers (three-game series starts Friday): When these two NL Central rivals met in the first series of the regular season, it was all Cubs. Chicago won two of three by the combined score of 18-9, and they put a hurtin ‘on Milwaukee’s vaunted rotation top three of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. Since that series though, those three have been collectively excellent:

First series vs. Cubs

12 2/3

13

13

13

10

12

2

9.23

Since Cubs series

33

21

9

9

8

39

2

2.45

Six of those nine runs came in a Peralta start against the Cardinals last week, so it’s six runs in that start and three runs in the other five starts those three have made since the Cubs series. Maybe the Cubs have their number. More likely, it was just a blip and possible a result of the short spring training. The Brewers will get a chance for revenge at home next weekend (it should be noted only Burnes and Woodruff are scheduled to pitch that series, not Peralta).

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