By Bill Arnold and Rick Wacha
HOME RUN CONFIDENTIAL
The records for most total home runs hit in the majors and by a team in a single season are both on-pace to be broken this season. Major League Baseball’s current tear of the long ball will see the 30 teams shatter the all-time record of 6,105 set in 2017 with 6,7176 taters, which is an increase of 616 long balls. The Minnesota Twins are on pace to hit 315 home runs shattering their 56-year-old team record of 225 set in 1963. They also would become the first major-league team to break the 300 barrier for home runs in a single season. Fifteen teams are on pace to break their franchise records. The chart below shows what each team’s home run record is when it was set and at what pace they are on through Thursday (A/PG – average per game):
The Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators, hired an executive chef to design their new ballpark’s signature hot dogs and sausages. Brian Howard, the Executive Chef at Sparrow + Wolf, a Las Vegas restaurant group, came up with four hot dogs to serve as the team’s official dog, which is called the “FlyDog.” The four tube steaks are: “The Hercules” – a foot-long, bacon-wrapped Hebrew National hot dog stuffed into a potato roll and smothered with dry-aged beef chili and topped with an onion mustard jam and pickled mustard seeds. “The Chicago Smokehouse” – a smoked cheddar cheese brat served with a curry aioli, sport peppers, neon green pickle relish and a slice of tomato on a poppy-seed bun. “The Jetsetter”- more like a Vietnamese banh mi and features a 100 percent Wagyu beef hot dog served with traditional banh mi ingredients (pickled vegetables, crushed cilantro and fresh jalapeno slices) and topped with a dab of cilantro mayonnaise. And finally “The Heater” – a spicy hot link pork sausage served with a fiery Calabrian chili relish and shaved Grana Padano or Parmesan Reggiano on top of a traditional New Jersey-style bun, which the team brings in from the Garden State.
AROUND THE HORN
… Mookie Betts became the youngest player to have five career three-homer games when he belted a trio against the Yankees on July 26; the Red Sox’ right-fielder was 26 years and 292 days of age to break Carlos Delgado‘s record of reaching five by the age of 31.002.
… On Tuesday night home plate umpire Larry Vanover threw out the nine Pirates and Reds for arguing balls and strikes, throwing at batters and for a benches-clear brawl; it was the most ejections in a single game since a Tigers-White Sox fracas led to 10 on-field personnel ejections for fighting on April 22, 2000 in Chicago.
… Chris Davis of the Orioles has endured five hitless streaks of 10 or more at bats this season; he snapped the latest – an 0-for-18 streak – when he homered against the Padres on Tuesday night; the first baseman, during his 12-year career, has suffered through 48 hitless streaks that lasted 10 or more at bats.
… When Troy Tulowitzki (10,945.0 innings at shortstop) retired last week, he joined Derek Jeter (23,225.2), Luis Aparicio (22,408.2), Ozzie Smith (21,785.2), Elvis Andrus (13,451.0), J.J. Hardy (13,386.1) and Walt Weiss (11,932.0) as the only shortstops to play 10,000 or more innings at shortstop without ever playing a different fielding position; Andrus is the only active shortstop in the group.
… After their win over the Padres in San Diego on July 28 the Giants all jokingly “dressed up” to look like their third baseman and chief pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval for their flight to Philadelphia; Giants’ players favored Pablo’s “look” of white or red pants, gold jewelry and brightly-colored shirts according to Brandon Crawford‘s Instagram
‘s photos of the team mimicking the unique fashion style of the “Panda.”
… Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Yankee captain Thurman Munson on August 2, 1979; the 32-year-old catcher died while practicing takeoffs and landings in a private plane at the Canton, Ohio airport on a team off-day.
… The good folks at the Elias Sports Bureau note that Danny Santana of the visiting Rangers (LF, SS, CF and 1B) and Niko Goodrum of the visiting Tigers (2B, LF, RF and SS) started at four different positions (excluding designated hitter) during last weekend’s four-game series’ against the A’s and Mariners respectively.
… Whit Merrifield tied Ron LeFlore for the second longest A.L. streak (133 consecutive games) of avoiding going hitless in back-to-back games since 1946; LeFlore saw his streak run during the 1978-79 seasons, but the Royals outfielder, who went hitless on Wednesday, has a good wait in front of him to match Ichiro Suzuki‘s 180-game streak set between 2008-09.
… In 90 of their first 111 games, the Mariners have played teams that had a .500 or better record, which is tops in the bigs.
… Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, Rafael Devers of the Red Sox and Christian Yelich of the Brewers are the only major league batters hitting at least .320 and have 20 or more home runs and 80 or more RBIs.
… On Tuesday night Angels’ rookie pitcher Griffin Canning just missed tying Bo Belinsky for the most strikeouts in the first 16 games of a career; the right-hander ended his 16 with 86 punch-outs, while the flamboyant no-hit throwing lefty finished his 16 with 89 for the 1962 Angels.
… The Marlins bullpen has seen its ERA drop from 5.51 in April to 5.38 in May to 4.74 in June and to 3.22 in July.
… The A’s for the first time since October 3, 1980, have a regularly scheduled day off scheduled on Friday.
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