We'll be taking a look at the most interesting takeaways every week this MLB season so check back every Sunday for our recap. Now, here's what we learned from the last seven days in the majors:
Red Sox are in trouble
The Boston Red Sox have had an incredibly frustrating season thus far with plenty of highs and lows. Now, as we near the dog days of summer, the reigning World Series champions have really put their backs against the wall. If the postseason started today, the Red Sox wouldn't even qualify. Their lineup is still producing, but the team just isn't recording the wins that they need to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Entering Sunday, the Red Sox (59-54) are essentially eliminated from repeating as division champions, sitting 13 1/2 games back from the first place Yankees. Boston is 5 1/2 games back of the final American League wild card spot. This past week, Boston dropped seven straight games (versus AL East rival Yankees and Rays), for their longest losing streak on the season, and longest losing streak in four years.
It definitely doesn't help that Dave Dombrowski didn't make a big impactful move at this year's only trade deadline. The team desperately needed to address their overworked and unreliable bullpen. So far, the acquisition of Andrew Cashner from the Orioles hasn't been great and it's certainly not enough to help the club climb up the standings. On Thursday, Cashner got roughed up by the Rays, giving up a total of seven runs (six earned). Since joining the Red Sox rotation, Cashner is 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA in four starts. Earlier this week, manager Alex Cora reportedly had planned to hold a meeting with Sox players but the meeting never happened.
With just two months left of regular season play, Boston is in serious trouble right now. The Red Sox have to turn things around (again) and end their up and down season once and for all. If not, their title defense will end before October.
Dodgers show glimpse of future
The Dodgers once again came into the 2019 season with World Series dreams. AAfter back-to-back runner-up finishes in the World Series, the Dodgers -- especially with how well they've played this season with an MLB-best 73 wins -- have increasing pressure to win this year. While the focus will remain on the Dodgers' pursuit of the 2019 title, fans got a glimpse of the L.A. future this week.
Dustin May -- the Dodgers top pitching prospect -- made his debut on Friday. While he couldn't get a win and allowed nine hits and three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, his first big league outing is a sign that the Dodgers are not only really good right now but they have the potential to be really good for a really long time. Plus, May along with some of the other Dodgers' prospects could end up helping the club out of the bullpen since the Dodgers didn't acquire a dominant reliever to strengthen their weakness before the July 31 trade deadline. They'll need to work on fixing the bullpen, and cutting down on their defensive errors, but another World Series looks likely for the Dodgers this postseason.
Vlad Jr. hitting his stride
Blue Jays rookie phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a great week at the plate. From Monday, July 29 to Saturday, August 3, Guerrero put up a slash line of .476/.522/1.000. He hit three home runs, two doubles and notched 11 RBI in the five-game span.
Vlad Jr. also notched his second career grand slam on Tuesday against the Royals.
In doing so, he's done something that hasn't been accomplished in 23 years.
Against the Orioles on Aug. 1, Guerrero went 3 for 5 with two home runs and four RBI.
The 20-year-old third baseman won't be able to keep up the pace of his recent hot streak, but it's a good sign that Guerrero's hitting for harder contact at the plate and hitting more line drives. With so much pressure and hype around Guerrero's debut season, it's impressive to see the youngster handle it well, make the necessary adjustments and all while having some fun.
On Aug. 3, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Guerrero took the top spots in Toronto's order for first time. All second generation professional players, the Blue Jays' young core is impressive, fun and most all, a sign of good things to come for the rebuilding team.