Here are five interesting stories in Major League Baseball this week:
Streak is still intact
Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta entered Sunday’s game against visiting Washington with victories in 17 consecutive decisions, the longest streak by a starter in team history.
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The Nationals tagged the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner for three runs (two earned) in five innings, but Kris Bryant’s seventh-inning single got Arrieta off the hook for a loss, keeping his streak intact.
Arrieta hasn’t taken a loss since July 25, 2015, when Cole Hamels pitched a no-hitter for Philadelphia at Wrigley Field.
Thanks for playing
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is on quite the run. It just won’t show up in the AB column on the box score.
In his last 12 plate appearances, the reigning N.L. MVP does not have an official at-bat. He’s been walked 10 times, including a record-tying six in Sunday’s 4-3, 13-inning loss to the Cubs.
Harper has also been hit by a pitch and has a sacrifice fly during the streak.
He’s off the hook
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout got off to a rough start in 2016.
The 2014 American League MVP had just one home run, four RBIs and was 15 points below the Mendoza Line after eight games.
He’s since been back to form, and it showed this week. Trout was 9 for 21 (.429) with two homers, eight RBIs, three walks and a stolen base, pushing his average to .313 this season.
Former ace shines in showcase
Tim Lincecum was once among baseball’s elite pitchers. He won two Cy Young Awards with the San Francisco Giants.
Now in search of a job, Lincecum threw 41 pitches Friday for about three dozen scouts representing nearly every major league club at Scottsdale Stadium, the spring training home of the Giants.
The free-agent right-hander has not pitched in the majors since June 27 due to degenerative issues with his hips and had surgery on Sept. 3.
Although he’s recently pitched out of the bullpen, Lincecum hopes to catch on with a team as a starter.
Following Sunday’s loss to Arizona, the Atlanta Braves sit at seven home runs. As a team. For the season. Thirty games in.
Freddie Freeman has four of those long balls. Adonis Garcia, Mallex Smith and Drew Stubbs have also gone yard.
For perspective, the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers are tied for second to last in the majors – at 23 homers. As of Sunday afternoon, 29 major league players have hit at least seven home runs.
Information gathered from The Associated Press and the Bee Sports staff
Compiled by Noel Harris