Elias Says: June 23, 2017

Judge delivers 25th home run of the season

Aaron Judge hit his 25th home run of the season, a three-run shot, in his 68th game in 2017, in the Yankees’ loss to the Angels on Thursday. Only two other rookies in major-league history reached 25 home runs in a season in 68-or-fewer games: Mark McGwire in 1987 (65 games) and Jose Abreu in 2014 (67).

Judge is the fifth Yankees player to reach 25 homers in 68-or-fewer games into a season, joining Babe Ruth (five different seasons: 1921, 1926 to 1928, and 1930), Mickey Mantle (1956), Roger Maris (1960 and 1961), and Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Ruth did so in the fewest number of games in Yankees history, when he hit his 25th homer in his 55th game of the 1928 season.

Over the last 10 seasons (since 2008), three other players reached their 25th home run of a season in as few games as Judge: Raul Ibanez in 2009 (68 games), Abreu in 2014 (67), and Giancarlo Stanton in 2015 (67).

Judge is the just the third Yankees rookie with 25 home runs in a season, joining Joe DiMaggio in 1936 (29 HR) and Joe Gordon in 1938 (25).

Astros are the first team to 50 wins

The Astros scored eight runs in the second inning, capped by a Marwin Gonzalez three-run homer, on their way to a 12-9 victory over the Athletics as they improved to 50-24 on the season. Houston became the first team in the majors to reach 50 wins this season, something the franchise had never accomplished before in its first 55 seasons. Since 2000, three other teams reached the 50-win mark before recording their 25th loss: the 2001 Mariners (50-14), 2005 White Sox (50-22), and 2015 Cardinals (50-24).

From the 2004 to 2016 seasons, only one of the 13 teams who were the first to 50 wins did not qualify for the postseason; that was the 2014 Brewers. Milwaukee finished the season with a record of 82-80 after starting 50-32.

Grand start for the Mets

For the second consecutive game, Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff home run to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead over the Dodgers. Granderson is the second Mets player with a leadoff home run in back-to-back team games, joining Kaz Matsui (two straight in 2004). The only other player to do so this season is Anthony Rizzo (June 13 and 14).

Granderson’s leadoff home runs each came off left-handed pitchers (Rich Hill on Wednesday and Hyun-Jin Ryu on Thursday). He is the second left-handed batter in the modern era (since 1900) to hit leadoff home runs in back-to-back games off two lefty pitchers. The Cubs’ Rick Monday did it in June 1976 at Wrigley Field against the Mets’ Jon Matlack and Jerry Koosman.

Home runs galore at Dodger Stadium

Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, and Justin Turner each homered in the Dodgers’ victory over the Mets, completing a four-game sweep of New York at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers hit 15 homers in this series, their most in any series in franchise history. Their previous high was 14 in a four-game set against the Rockies at Coors Field in September 1997. That is also the most home runs the Mets have allowed in one series, surpassing the 14 they allowed in a three-game series at Tiger Stadium in June/July 1997.

Diamondbacks’ offense rocks Colorado

The Diamondbacks scored 10 runs, with four driven in by Paul Goldschmidt, in their win over the Rockies on Thursday as they took two of three games at Coors Field. Arizona scored 16 runs on Wednesday, in the second game of this series. In the last 15 seasons (since 2003), the Diamondbacks’ 26 runs over their last two games are tied for their second-most over a two-game span. They scored 28 over two games at Coors Field in June 2014 and racked up 26 in two games against the Phillies in August 2015.

The D’Backs improved to 46-27 on the season, marking the first time in franchise history in which they were at least 19 games over .500 within their first 80 games of a season.

Gomez is the star of the show since coming off the DL

Carlos Gomez hit a pair of homers, a three-run shot in the third inning and a two-run dinger in the seventh, in the Rangers’ 11-4 rout of the Blue Jays. Since coming off the disabled list on June 16, Gomez has five home runs and 14 RBIs in six games. He had never before had that many home runs or RBIs over a six-game span (his previous high for homers was four and his high for RBIs was 11).

Gomez is the fourth Rangers player over the last 10 years with at least five home runs and 14 RBIs over a six-game span, joining Josh Hamilton in May 2012, Prince Fielder in May 2015, Rougned Odor in August/September 2016.

Shaw hits 50-RBI mark in Brewers’ win

Travis Shaw drove in three runs, including a solo homer in the first inning and a run-scoring double in the fifth to put Milwaukee up for good, in the Brewers’ 4-2 win over the Pirates. Shaw has been racking up the RBIs this season, with 51 in 64 games. The last Brewers player to reach 50 RBIs on the season in 64-or-fewer games was Prince Fielder in the 2011 season (61 games).

Shaw went 2-for-2 with at least one runner on and two outs in the Brewers’ win (RBI doubles in the fifth and seventh innings). Entering Thursday, he had struggled in those situations this season, batting .191 (9-for-47) with at least one runner on and two outs.

Indians’ offense is clicking

The Indians scored six runs on 13 hits in their victory over the Orioles on Thursday night, their ninth consecutive game with at least five runs and 10 hits. That ties the longest streak of this type for any team over the last nine seasons (since 2009). The Royals did so in nine straight games from May 23 to June 1 in the 2016 season.

Cubs power their way to victory

Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, and Addison Russell, the Cubs’ second, third, and fourth batters in the starting lineup, respectively, each homered in the Cubs’ blowout win over the Marlins on Thursday. That marked the fourth game since the start of the 2016 season in which the Cubs’ starters in each of those slots in the batting order homered, tying the Rockies for the most games of this type among National League teams over that span. From the 2008 to 2015 seasons, the Cubs only had two such games: June 18, 2012 against the White Sox (Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair, and Alfonso Soriano) and July 9, 2013 versus the Angels (Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Soriano).

Davidson is hot over last 10 games

Matt Davidson went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and three runs scored in the White Sox’s 9-0 shutout of the Twins on Thursday. Over his last 10 games, Davidson has seven home runs, 11 RBIs, and 11 runs scored, dating back to June 12. It has been nearly seven years since the last time a White Sox player had at least seven homers over a 10-game span. Carlos Quentin hit seven home runs from June 28 to July 11 of the 2010 season.

Another high-scoring inning against the Giants

The Giants allowed eight fifth-inning runs to the Braves, as they fell short on Thursday in a 12-11 loss. Since the start of the 2016 season, San Francisco has allowed at least eight runs in an inning five times (three in 2016 and two in 2017), tying the Padres and Twins for the most innings of this type over that span. The last time the Giants had five-or-more such innings over a two-season span was in 1995 (four such innings) and 1996 (one).

Nola puts an end to losing streak

Aaron Nola allowed just one run over 7 1/3 innings to earn the win and end the Phillies’ five-game losing streak in a 5-1 triumph over the Cardinals. Entering Thursday, Philadelphia had one outing of longer than seven innings from a starting pitcher this season, and that was by Nola on June 6 at Atlanta (8.0 IP). Four other teams have had two-or-fewer such starts from their pitchers this season: Angels (none), Athletics (one), Cubs (one), and Marlins (one).

Fultz, Ball and Tatum are first three picks of NBA draft

Markelle Fultz was the first player selected in the NBA draft on Thursday night. Fultz played for a University of Washington team that finished 9-22 this past season. The previous first overall pick in the NBA draft who played for a school with a losing record in the prior season was LaRue Martin out of Loyola-Chicago in 1972. Martin’s school was 8–14 in 1971–72, right before he was taken first by Portland. Last year, Ben Simmons (LSU) became the first number-one overall selection from a college that did not play in the previous NCAA Tournament since 1998, when the Clippers chose Michael Olowokandi from Pacific. With Fultz going number one overall, that has now happened in back-to-back years.

Lonzo Ball was selected by the Lakers, becoming the sixth player from UCLA chosen first or second overall in the modern (since 1966) NBA draft. That ties UCLA with Duke for the most top-two picks from one school.

Duke and UCLA were linked with the ensuing pick as well. Jayson Tatum was the next player to come off the board, when the Cetics made the third choice of round one. Tatum’s selection marked the fourth straight year that a player from Duke was taken in the top three of round one, following Jabari Parker (2014), Jahlil Okafor (2015) and Brandon Ingram (2016). That ties UCLA for the longest streak with a top-three pick. The Bruins did that spanning 1974 (Bill Walton), 1975 (Dave Meyers), 1976 (Richard Washington) and 1977 (Marques Johnson).

Top of the draft has familiar look

When the Suns selected Josh Jackson with the fourth pick, it marked the second straight year that Philadelphia, the Lakers, Boston and Phoenix made the first four picks of round one. There had never before been consecutive NBA drafts in which the same four teams––in any order––made the first four picks. (There was one instance where the first three picks were made by the same three teams in back-to-back drafts––in 1971 and 1972: Cleveland, Portland and Buffalo.)