By Ron Kaplan, contributor

Danny Valencia had the best weekend of the JMLs as the Seattle Mariners (28-30) swept the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. On Friday, he drove in a season-high five RBIs thanks to a three-run homer, bases-loaded walk and RBI single (see video below). He also added his ninth double in the 12-4 win. The next day, Valencia was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI in a 9-4 victory — and he turned an unassisted double play, to boot. He cooled off a bit on Sunday with only two hits and a run scored in three at-bats before coming out for a pinch-hitter in a 7-1 Mariners win, but those two hits gave him a Mariners record of nine in a row. He raised his batting average 23 points (.260 to .283) during the three-game span.

Mixed mazel: On the one hand, congratulations are in order for the newest Jewish Major Leaguer: Brad Goldberg, a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher who made his debut with the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. On the other hand, he had a rough go of it, retiring just one batter while giving up four earned runs on three hits (including a home run) and a walk as the host Detroit Tigers — still without the services of Ian Kinsler — won, 10-1. In terms of pitchers making their MLB debut in a relief role, Goldberg’s game ERA (108.00) was the worst since 2008 and tied for 21st-worst in MLB history, according to Jewish Baseball News editor Scott Barancik. Others ahead of Goldberg on the list include retired JML Scott Schoeneweis, who gave up 5 ERs over 0.1 innings in his MLB debut but went on to last 12 seasons. Is there a strong correlation between pitching debuts and career success in the Majors? We don’t know, but plenty of good hitters find it tough going in the beginning. Remember Alex Bregman’s 1-for-32 start last year? Kevin Pillar also struggled at the beginning of his debut MLB season. Both men, obviously, have gone on to impressive Major League careers.

Scott Feldman had one of those games again. He lasted just 4.1 innings on Saturday, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits including a home run. He walked three and struck out just one but came away with a no-decision as the Cincinnati Reds (25-30) fell to the visiting Atlanta Braves, 6-5 in 12 innings.

Alex Bregman struggled again, going 0-for-10 with three strikeouts and two walks, but the Houston Astros improved to 41-16, sweeping their intrastate rivalry against the host Texas Rangers and stretching their winning streak to 10.

Kevin Pillar is showing some signs of life after a dull stretch. He was 3-for-12 with a walk and his ninth stolen base as the Toronto Blue Jays (28-29) took two of three from the visiting NY Yankees.

Richard Bleier tossed two innings, giving up a hit and walking one, in Saturday’s 5-2 Baltimore loss to the visiting Boston Red Sox. He also closed out the game on Sunday, giving up a hit and striking out one in two-thirds of an inning as the Orioles (29-26) lost, 7-3.

Craig Breslow did not appear for the Minnesota Twins (29-24) in their series against the LA Angels.

Kinsler, Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers), and Joc Pederson (LA Dodgers) remain on the disabled list.

Ron Kaplan (@RonKaplanNJ) hosts Kaplan’s Korner, a blog about Jews and sports. He is the author of three books, including The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games and the forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

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