June 17: More homers, more strikeouts
In a season seemingly headed to set all-time, MLB-wide, single-season records for both homers and strikeouts, Saturday was another day of huge totals in both categories. There were 56 homers in the day’s 16 games, the highest total on any day this season, and a total that tied for the third-highest on any day in major-league history. (Saturday’s total lifted the season average of home runs per game to 2.52, well ahead of the record of 2.34 homers per game set in 2000.) Meanwhile, there were 289 strikeouts in the 16 games, the second-highest single-day total of this season (there were 293 strikeouts in 17 games on June 10).
Finally, the average of 10.1 runs in Saturday’s games marked the seventh consecutive day on which major-league teams have produced a double-digit average of runs per game. That’s the longest such streak since there was a 15-day streak of that sort back in May of 2000.
HR #19 for Bellinger
Cody Bellinger hit home run #19 in only his 49th game in the Dodgers’ win over the Reds, the second-fewest games to 19 career home runs in major-league history, behind the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez (45 games). Bellinger broke the Dodgers team record for fewest games to 19 home runs in a season, rookie or veteran. Gil Hodges set the previous mark of 51 games in 1951.
The only other active players besides Bellinger and Sanchez (43 games in 2016) to reach 19 home runs in 49 or fewer games into a season are Albert Pujols in 2006 (36 games), Jose Bautista in 2011 (39) and Adrian Gonzalez in 2009 (49).
Rockies rookies are excelling on the mound
Rookie Kyle Freeland pitched six solid innings in the Rockies’ win over the Giants, improving his record to 8-4. Antonio Senzatela, another Rockies rookie pitcher, is 9-2. The Rockies, who have played 71 games this season, are the first team in 80 years to have two rookie pitchers with at least eight wins in the team’s first 75 games of a season. Lou Fette and Jim Turner turned the trick for the 1937 Boston Braves. Each of those pitchers finished the season with 20 wins.
Padres show extra power in extra innings
Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run in the tenth inning, his second homer of the night, and Corey Spangenberg and Chase d’Arnaud each hit solo home runs in the 11th inning in the Padres’ win over the Brewers on Saturday. It was the first time in team history that the Padres hit three extra-inning home runs in one game. One other major-league team has hit three home runs in extra innings in a game this season. The Pirates did it in Atlanta on May 24, all in the tenth inning (David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer).
The Toddfather leads the way
Todd Frazier and Matt Davidson hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning off Marcus Stroman in the White Sox win over the Blue Jays. It was the third time this season that Frazier hit the first of back-to-back homers and all three follow-up batters were different: Avisail Garcia, Tim Anderson and Davidson. Frazier is the only player in the major leagues to hit the first of consecutive homers three times in front of three different teammates. The only other player to hit the first of back-to-back homers three times this season is Starlin Castro, who did it twice in front of Aaron Judge and once before Didi Gregorius.
Ramirez is hot
Jose Ramirez went 5-for-10 with two home runs (both in the day game) in the Indians’ day/night sweep of the Twins. Ramirez has recorded 13 hits with three home runs and seven RBIs over his last five games. Only one other Indians player over the last four seasons had that many hits, homers and RBIs over a five-game span and he did it twice: Lonnie Chisenhall in 2014 (13 H, 3 HR, 10 RBI) and in 2016 (14 hits, 3 HR, 7 RBI).
Schoop joins Alomar
Jonathan Schoop had four hits, two of them home runs, and knocked in four runs for the Orioles on Saturday afternoon. Schoop is the second player in Browns/Orioles history to have a game in which he had four hits, two homers and four runs batted in as a second baseman. Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar did it on April 26, 1997 against the Red Sox (4 H, 3 HR, 6 RBI).
Healy is third behind McGwire and Canseco
Ryon Healy hit two home runs, the 29th and 30th of his career, in the A’s win over the Yankees. Only two players who began their career with the A’s reached 30 career home runs in fewer games than Healy, who did it in his 139th: Mark McGwire (career home run #30 in his 84th game) and Jose Canseco (138).
Another dud for Tanaka
Masahiro Tanaka had another bad outing, allowing five runs in four innings pitched, in the Yankees loss in Oakland. Tanaka is 0-6 with an 8.91 ERA over his last seven starts. Only four other Yankees pitchers since 1913, which was the first season the American League starting keeping track of earned runs, went 0-6 or worse with an ERA that high over a seven-start span within one season: Joe Page in 1944 (0-6, 9.55 ERA), Doyle Alexander in 1982 (0-6, 10.30), Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 (0-6, 14.27) and Luis Severino in 2016 (0-6, 10.87 ERA).
Smith taking advantage of his chance
Mallex Smith went 2-for-4 and knocked in the winning run with a seventh-inning single in the Rays’ win over the Tigers. Smith leads the Rays in batting average (.441), on-base percentage (.500), hits (15), runs (10) and stolen bases (4) since he replaced the injured Kevin Kiermaier in center field on June 9.
Adams replacing Freeman nicely
Matt Adams drove in four runs in the Braves’ 10-inning victory over the Marlins on Saturday. Adams has fit in nicely for the Braves since they acquired him from the Cardinals in a trade to replace the injured Freddie Freeman. Adams leads the Braves in home runs (9), runs batted in (25), extra-base hits (17), runs scored (19) and slugging percentage (.654) since he played his first game for the team on May 21.
Murphy still haunting the Mets
Daniel Murphy rapped out another two hits and drove in a run against his former team in the Nationals’ win over the Mets. Murphy has 44 hits and 29 RBIs in 28 games against the Mets since he left the team and joined the Nationals as a free agent prior to the 2016 season. That matches the most hits any player has produced against any team over the last two seasons; Jose Abreu has 44 hits against the Tigers over that period. Only three other players have knocked in 29 or more runs against one team since the start of the 2016 season: Nolan Arenado against the Giants (34), Anthony Rendon against the Mets (32) and Anthony Rizzo against the Reds (29).
Two homers for Napoli
Mike Napoli hit a three-run home run in the Rangers’ five-run first inning and then he hit a two-run blast in the Rangers’ five-run sixth inning in their win over the Mariners. Napoli is the first Rangers player in ten years to hit home runs in an inning of at least five runs twice in the same game. Two Rangers players did it in their 30-3 win over the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader on August 22, 2007: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez.
Porcello is not pitching like a Cy Young winner
Rick Porcello had another poor outing in the Red Sox loss to the Astros. Porcello, the American League Cy Young Award winner last season, is 3-9 with a 5.05 ERA in 15 starts this season. The first Cy Young Award was awarded following the 1956 season and since then only three pitchers lost nine games in their first 15 starts of the next season and that has occurred in each of the last three seasons: Corey Kluber in 2015 (3-9, 3.65 ERA), Dallas Keuchel in 2016 (3-9, 5.32 and Porcello this season.