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Elias Says: July 13, 2017

Home runs and strikeouts were the pre-break stories

There have been 3343 home runs hit in the 1326 major-league games this season, an average of 2.52 per game. That’s the second-highest homers-per-game average at the All-Star break in MLB history. (That figure was at 2.56 in 2000, before falling off to 2.34 at season’s end, which still stands as the all-time record.) The average of 16.48 strikeouts per game this year is the highest at the break in MLB history.

Murphy, Zimmerman and Harper own NL’s three-highest BAs

Daniel Murphy (.342), Ryan Zimmerman (.330) and Bryce Harper (.325) own the three highest batting averages in the National League this season. They are the first trio of teammates to stand 1-2-3 in their league in batting average at the break since 1972, when Richie Scheinblum, Lou Piniella and Amos Otis did so for the Royals. The three Nationals are the first NL teammates to do that since the Pirates’ Matty Alou, Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente in 1966.

Maddening season for defending champs

The Cubs are 43–45 and their .489 winning percentage is 151 percentage points lower than their final mark from last season (.640, 103–58). The only team with a larger decrease in winning percentage from last season to this season than Chicago is the Giants (–159 points, from .537 to .378).

The Cubs reached the All-Star break with the poorest record for any defending World Series champion that won at least 100 games during its championship season. The previous low was by the 1940 Yankees, who were 37–34 (.521) at the break after winning 106 games in 1939.