Elias Says: June 14, 2017

Bellinger belts out two more, continuing storied rookie season

For the second consecutive game, 21-year-old rookie Cody Bellinger hit a pair of home runs as the Dodgers went on to defeat the Indians, 7-5. Bellinger is the first player in major-league history with back-to-back multi-homer games at 21 years old or younger. The previous youngest to do so was George Scott for the Red Sox in 1966 (22 years, 44 days old at the time of the second of the two games).

Bellinger has four multi-homer games in his 45 regular-season games in the majors. No other player in MLB history had that many multi-homer games within his first 50 games. The previous fastest was done by Bob Horner, whose fourth multi-homer game came in his 63rd game during the 1978 season.

Bellinger is the sixth player in major-league history with at least four multi-homer games in a season at 21 years old or younger, joining Hal Trosky in 1934 (four such games), Eddie Mathews in 1953 (six), Bob Horner in 1978 (four), Darryl Strawberry in 1983 (four), and Andruw Jones in 1998 (four).

Right move for Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo, in his first major-league start in the leadoff spot, connected on a home run in the top of the first in the Cubs’ 14-3 rout of the Mets on Tuesday; Rizzo later drove in two more runs. Over the last 30 years, only one other player hit a leadoff home run and had at least three RBIs in his first start as a leadoff hitter. That was Kaz Matsui for the Mets in his major-league debut on April 6, 2004 at Atlanta. Matsui homered off Russ Ortiz in his first MLB plate appearance and totaled three RBIs in that game.

Top of the order supplies the power

Anthony Rizzo, Ian Happ, Kris Bryant, and Jason Heyward, the Cubs’ top four batters in the starting lineup on Tuesday, each homered in Chicago’s victory over the Mets at Citi Field. It was the first time in Cubs history that each of the first four hitters in the batting order homered in a road game. The last time the Cubs did so in any game was on June 24, 2003 against the Brewers, when Mark Grudzielanek, Alex Gonzalez, Corey Patterson, and Sammy Sosa did so (Sosa hit two) at Wrigley Field.

Lester gets to win #150

Jon Lester improved his won-loss record to 150-88 in the Cubs’ blowout win over the Mets. Over the last 10 years, four other pitchers reached 150 major-league wins in 238 or fewer decisions, and all did so in the 2010 season: Roy Halladay (April 11, 226th decision), Tim Hudson (May 1, 229th), CC Sabathia (August 7, 236th), and Roy Oswalt (September 17, 233rd).

Rosario and the Twins put up the big numbers

The Twins scored 20 runs on a franchise record 28 hits in a blowout win over the Mariners at Target Field on Tuesday. Leading the way was the batter hitting ninth, Eddie Rosario, who had three home runs and five RBIs. Since runs batted in were first tracked in the 1920 season, only two other players had that many home runs and RBIs starting out of the ninth slot in the order: Dale Sveum of the Brewers in 1987 versus the Angels (3 HR/6 RBIs), and Trot Nixon of the Red Sox in 1999 at Detroit (3/5).

Lynn keeps the Brewers off the board

Lance Lynn tossed five scoreless innings and earned the win as the Cardinals blanked the Brewers, 6-0, in the first of two games on Tuesday. Over his last four starts against Milwaukee, Lynn is 4-0 and has allowed just one run in 24 2/3 innings, sporting a 0.36 ERA. In the Divisional Era (since 1969), only two other Cardinals pitchers went 4-0 while allowing one or fewer runs over a four-start span against a particular team: Woody Williams vs. Brewers (one run in 25 2/3 innings, 2002 to 2003 seasons) and Adam Wainwright vs. Astros (one run in 31 innings, 2009 to 2012 seasons).

Another win in extras for the Red Sox

Andrew Benintendi hit a walk-off single in the 12th inning to give the Red Sox a 4-3 win over the Phillies, a day after Boston won in walk-off fashion in the 11th inning against Philadelphia. The last team to win two straight games, each in 11 innings or longer, was the Tigers in September 2015 (who had a streak of three consecutive games). It had been over 40 years since Boston had back-to-back wins of this variety, having most recently done so in April 1975 at Baltimore.

Zimmerman is producing

Ryan Zimmerman hit two home runs, a solo shot and two-run dinger, both off R.A. Dickey, in the Nationals’ 10-5 win over the Braves on Tuesday. Zimmerman has 19 home runs and 52 RBIs in 58 games played this season. Both are by far the most through his first 60 games of a season; his previous highs were 13 homers in 2010 and 40 RBIs in 2009.

Zimmerman’s 52 RBIs are already the most through 60 games of a season for a Nationals player since the team moved to Washington DC in 2005. The previous high was 49 by Bryce Harper in 2015.

Jaso comes through in a pinch

Pinch hitter John Jaso delivered a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Pirates the lead for good in their victory over the Rockies. Jaso has excelled as a pinch hitter over the last four seasons (2014 with Oakland, 2015 with Tampa, and 2016 and 2017 with Pittsburgh), hitting 26-for-74 (.351) with four homers and 16 RBIs. That is the highest batting average as a pinch hitter for any player in the majors over that span (minimum 50 at-bats in those situations), just ahead of Justin Turner (.345).

Peralta homer plus one-run game is a winning formula

David Peralta’s ninth-inning home run broke a 6-6 tie and the Diamondbacks went on to defeat the Tigers, 7-6. Arizona improved to 12-6 in one-run games this season; the only other team with that many wins of this type is the Angels (13-9).

Peralta has homered in six games this season, with the Diamondbacks winning all six. Only two players have homered in more wins without a loss in 2017: Brett Gardner (10-0) and Matt Adams (7-0).

Rise and shine

The Rays piled up the hits early in their 8-1 triumph over the Blue Jays. Over the first four innings, Tampa Bay smacked 13 hits, including three singles from designated hitter Corey Dickerson. That is nothing new for the Rays, as they have totaled 294 hits over the first four frames of a game during the 2017 campaign, the most in the majors.

The last time the Rays had at least 13 hits over the first four innings of a game was on April 29, 2010 against Kansas City, when they scored 10 runs on 13 hits, including a single, double, and triple from Carl Crawford.

Ozuna and Stanton both homer in Marlins’ win

Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton each homered in the Marlins’ 8-1 win over the A’s on Tuesday. That is the 10th game since the start of the 2016 season in which Ozuna and Stanton both homered; Miami is 6-4 in those games. The only pair of National League teammates to homer in the same game more times than Ozuna and Stanton over that span are the Reds’ Adam Duvall and Joey Votto (12 games).

White Sox hit first slam of the season

Matt Davidson’s grand slam in the sixth inning opened up a 6-1 lead for the White Sox over the Orioles, and they went on to win by that same score. Entering Tuesday’s games, the Sox were one of four teams in the majors without a grand slam this season. The three other teams are the Pirates, Red Sox, and Twins, none of which hit a grand slam on Tuesday.

Richard falls just short of complete game

Clayton Richard allowed two runs over 8 2/3 innings before being removed from the game, and the Padres went on to defeat the Reds, 6-2. Richard is the third starting pitcher this season to record exactly 26 outs, joining Zack Greinke (May 22 vs. White Sox) and Max Scherzer (May 26 vs. Padres). That has happened only two other times for a Padres starter over the last 10 years (Mat Latos in September 2011 and Richard in July 2012).

Odor ties it with a homer, then later hits game-winning homer

Rougned Odor hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to tie the game and then hit a two-run shot in the eighth to put the Rangers ahead for good in their win over the Astros. That is the fifth multi-homer game of Odor’s career, all coming since the 2016 season. The only other second baseman with that many multi-homer games since the beginning of the 2016 season is Robinson Cano, with five.