MLBits: Wong’s Big Night Keeps Brewers in the Mix, Wild Card Races Heating Up, the Fastest Pitch of Season, Betts, Yanks, More

With just a couple of weeks until the regular season’s finish line, things are starting to get pretty tight in the Wild Card races in both leagues. Kolten Wong did his part to help Milwaukee out in that department last night.

Wong’s 3 HR Game Keeps Milwaukee in the Mix

Kolten Wong hasn’t lit the world on fire at the dish this season by any stretch of the imagination. Wong checked in last night hitting .252 with 12 home runs and an RBI total south of 50. But that didn’t stop him from having one of the best offensive performances of the season for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wong went yard three times against the Reds and drove in all five of Milwaukee’s runs in a 5-1 victory over the Reds, logging his first career five-RBI game.

“I’m definitely not a guy that you’re going to see hit three home runs very often or even multiple home runs in a game,” Wong said. “Pretty cool experience for me to soak that in. I’ve had a chance at doing that before, but [I] tried to do too much. I told myself [going up to bat in the eighth] ‘Don’t even try it.’ It’s funny how that works out.”

Wong’s offensive explosion helped the Brewers stay in the mix in the National League Wild Card race for the time being. Milwaukee is 80-70 on the year but on the outside looking in when it comes to the Postseason picture (Michael: Just the way I like it). The Cardinals have run away with the NL Central (Michael: Gross), but thankfully for Milwaukee, the second and third Wild Card spots are well within reach (Michael: We’re gonna have to talk, Patrick). The Brewers trail the Phillies by 2.5 games for the final spot, and the Padres are only a half-game further ahead of Milwaukee than Philadelphia (Michael: How are the White Sox doing?).

AL Wild Card Race

The American League Wild Card race is pretty tight as well, entering play today. The Toronto Blue Jays lead the pack with an 84-66 record but are now just a game ahead of Tampa Bay for the top spot after the Rays topped them 10-5 on Thursday night.

The win for Tampa Bay helped them bounce back from an ugly sweep at the hands of the Astros this week. The Rays got plenty of offense from Jonathan Aranda, Manuel Margot, Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, and David Peralta, with each player recording multiple-hit performances.

The victory for Tampa Bay dropped their magic number to clinch a postseason spot to just eight games.

Meanwhile, the Rays are just a half-game ahead of the Seattle Mariners, one of baseball’s hottest teams in the second half of the season. Seattle topped the lowly Athletics on Thursday night and now heads to Kansas City for a weekend series with the Royals. The M’s trip to Kansas City is a perfect chance for them to pad their lead over the teams on the outside looking in, the Orioles (4 GB) and the White Sox (6.5 GB).

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays and Rays will continue their series in St. Pete this weekend. Baltimore welcomes the Astros to town, and that could be the end of the Orioles’ magical run this season if Houston takes the series and the M’s take care of business in Kansas City.

Odds and Ends

  • Ryan Helsley fired the fastest pitch of the season on Thursday with his eighth-inning offering to San Diego slugger Josh Bell that clocked in at 104 mph. Helsley topped teammate Jordan Hicks in that department, with Hicks hitting 103.8 mph on July 8.

  • Aaron Judge almost hit No. 61 last night, well, it wasn’t as close as the FOX camera man, and the fans would have liked us to believe.
  • Mookie Betts helped the Dodgers secure their 45th come-from-behind victory of the season with a walk-off last night against Arizona.
  • With that walk-off win for the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks are officially ready to set up their tee times for October.
  • 😂:
  • Aaron Judge might not have hit his 61st home run last night, but the Yankees walked it off against the Red Sox, and New York punched their ticket to the Postseason.
  • If you missed it, Brett discusses Hayden Wesneski’s immaculate inning last night:
  • Vlad Guerrero really was a treat to watch back in the day:
  • written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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