It’s September first and that means it’s time for Baseball Roundtable’s look at the month of August – winners, losers, streakers, pacesetters and more. Here’s just a few of the things we saw in MLB during the “Dog Days” of August:
- 2016’s sixth triple play (Phillies) and first 500-foot home run (Giancarlo Stanton);
- Ichiro’s 3,000th MLB hit;
- Rockies’ rookie David Dahl opening his career with a MLB record-tying 17-game hitting streak;
- Red Sox’ Mookie Betts tying the AL record for three-homer games in a season (Okay, it’s only two, but it puts him in some pretty good company);
- The Orioles bashing four home runs before making their first out – and still losing the game;
- Five AL playes topping ten home runs for the month – three of them Orioles (Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado);
- The Brewers beccoming just the 19th team to score in every inning of a game;
- The Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu hitting an amazing .439 for the month, taking over the NL batting lead (held most of the season by the Nats’ Daniel Murphy) and still not capturing BBRT player of the month;
- In six August starts, Yankees’ right-hander Masahiro Tanaka striking out 38 batters (in 39 innings) versus only one walk.
- Twins’ 2B Brian Dozier leading all of MLB with 13 August home runs, while also topping the ALin runs scored (27) and RBI (27 – tied) – and the Twins still going 9-20.
- Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford tying a NL record with seven hits in a game
- David Ortiz becoming the oldest player to hit 30 home runs in a season – and looking to set more age 40 records).
You can read the details on these accomplishments (and more) in this post (and also find my stats then you may want to consume); but first, let’s look at BBRT’s August Honors.
BBRT MONTHLY HONORS – AUGUST 2016
AL Player of the Month – Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
Okay, it’s usually a surprise when a rookie is Player of the Month. But, let’s face it, Yankee rookie Gary Sanchez’ performance has been truly surprising. Called up from Triple A Scranton Wilkes Barre on August 3 (where he was hitting .282, with 10 home runs and 50 RBI in 71 games), the 22-year-old Dominican’s previous MLB experience included two games (two at bats/no hits) last October and a zero-for-four performance in one game for the Yankees this May. Note: The Yankees did include Sanchez on the roster for the 2015 Wild Card Game, but he did not play in that contest. Despite giving away those three games, Sanchez became the fastest player ever to 10 home runs and 30 hits (22 career games), and the first MLB rookie to win his league’s Player of the Week honor two consecutive weeks (August 15-21 and August 22-28). For the month, Sanchez (also considered a plus defensive backstop) hit .389, with 11 home runs (second in the AL) and 21 RBI in 24 games. How much has he meant to the Bronx Bombers? The day Sanchez first took a place in the Yankee lineup, New York’s record stood at 53-53. Since that time, the Yankees have gone 16-10. Also in the running were Twins’ 2B Brian Dozier (.302, with an MLB-best 13 August round trippers) and and Tigers’ RF J.D. Martinez (.404-7-15) for the month.
NL Player of the Month – Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies
It was a tough call for BBRT Player of the Month in the NL. You had Rockies’ 2B DJ LeMahieu, who hit .439 and passed the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy for the batting lead, as well as Rockies’ CF Charlie Blackmon, who hit .360 and led all of MLB with 30 runs scored (and led the NL in August home runs with 11). BBRT, however, chooses to honor Rockies’ 3B Nolan Arenado – who continued his Gold glove defense and also hit .356 in August, while leading MLB in August RBI (36), hitting ten round trippers (tied for second in the NL), and scoring 27 runs (third in the league). BBRT note: Arenado also got an edge as my current favorite MLB player (I played almost alll my baseball and softball at 3B – and grew up in the Eddie Mathews’ era.) For those unfamiliar with what Arenado brings to the table, last season he led the NL in home runs and RBIs and earned his third Gold Glove (in three MLB seasons).
AL Pitcher of the Month (tie) – Danny Duffy, LH, Royals/Masahiro Tanaka, RH, Yankees
Danny Duffy was a key part of the Royals’ August surge, going 5-1, 2.51. He also helped keep the pressure off the Royals’ vaunted bullpen, averaging just over seven innings per start. Duffy led the AL in wins for the month (tied with Corey Kluber) and was third in innings pitched and tenth in strikeouts (39 Ks in 43 innings, with just nine walks).
Masahiro Tanaka also had six starts, going 4-1, 3.00. For the month, he threw 39 innings and fanned 38 hitters – versus (and this is what earned him this tie) only one walk.
Also on BBRT’s scope were the Indians’ Corey Kluber (5-0, 2.43 for the month, with 44 whiffs in 40 2/3 innings) and the Red Sox’ Rick Porcello, who topped seven innings per start over six starts, and went 4-1, 2.61. Porcello, who tossed 44 2/3 innings, fanned 41 batters against just four free passes.
NL Pitcher of the Month – Kyle Hendricks, RH, Cubs
It was a tough call in the NL, but BBRT gives a slight edge to the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks went 4-0 in six starts (no NL pitcher won more than four games in the month) and had the lowest August ERA among MLB starters at 1.28, as well as the third-lowest WHIP (0.78). He also averaged seven innings per start and fanned 36 hitters (versus seven walks) over 42 1/3 innings. Also in the running were the Nationals’ Max Scherzer (4-1, 3.05 with an NL-leading 51 strikeouts); the Cubs’ Jon Lester (3-0, 1.71); and Cubs’ closer Aroldis Chapman (tied for the MLB August lead in saves with 11, sporting a 1.38 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 13 innings).
AL Team of the Month – Kansas City Royals
The Royals were the only AL team to reach 20 wins in August (20-9) – and they did it primarily on the strength of their pitching staff. For the month, Kansas City finished ninth in runs scored (132) in the AL, but gave up the fewest runs in their league (90 ). With an August ERA of 2.71, the Royals were the only AL team with an ERA under 3.00 (next best was Toronto at 3.63). KC got strong starting performances out of the likes of Ian Kennedy (3-0, 1.86), Danny Duffy (5-1, 2.51) and Yordano Ventura (3-0, 2.55), supported by a lights-out bullpen – including Kelvin Herrera (10 saves and a 2.35 ERA for the month), Matt Strahm (no earned runs in 11 games), Brian Flynn (no earned runs in nine games), and Pete Moylan (1.00 ERA in 15 games). The Royals big month brought them back into the Wild Card chase (three games out – after being 8 ½ out at the end of July).
NL Team of the Month – Chicago Cubs
The Cubs’ did it all in August – scoring the NL’s third-most runs (143) and giving up the league’s fewest tallies (85).The Cubbies boasted MLB’s lowest August ERA, a miniscule 2.66. The MLB average was 4.33 – and the AL Royals were the only other team under 3.00. Just consider the mound staff’s August results: three starters with August ERAs under 2.00 – Kyle Hendricks (4-0, 1.28), John Lackey (1-0, 1.66) and Jon Lester (3-0, 1.71); as well as a bullpen led by the likes of Aroldis Chapman (11 saves, 1.38 ERA in 15 appearances); Justin Grimm (0.82 ERA in 12 appearances) and Trevor Cahill (1.93 in seven appearances). On offense, they looked to the likes of Kris Bryant (.383-10-22), Anthony Rizzo (.324-2-14); Addison Russell (.250-7-23); and Dexter Fowler (.263-2-7, with 26 runs scored). The Cubs now enjoy a 15 -game lead over the NL Central second-place Cardinals – up from 7 ½ a month ago – Wrigley be Wrockin’.
Wins and Losses
While the Cubs and Royals were the only teams to reach 20 wins in September (see Teams of the Month, above), the Rangers had a solid month at 18-10 – despite middle-of-the pack numbers (eighth in the AL in ERA and tenth in runs scored for the month). Four teams picked up 17 wins August: the Yankees, Blue Jays and Nationals (all at 17-11) and the Red Sox (17-13). Minnesota was the only MLB team to earn less than ten wins (9-20), despite scoring the AL’s fourth-most August runs (142, just eight less than Boston’s league high for the month). Ah, but there’s the pitching. The Twins gave up a n MLB-high 192 runs in August and were the only team with an ERA over six (6.21) for the month.
The San Francisco Roller Coaster
The San Francisco Giants – who came into August with a 61-44 record and a two-game lead in the NL West – went 11-16 and fell to second place, 1.5 games behind the Dodgers. There have been plenty of ups and down in the Bay City, this season. Here are the Giants’ month by month 2016 records: April … 12-13; May … 21-8; June … 17-10; July … 11-13; August … 11-16).
If the season ended August 21, your playoff teams would be:
AL: Rangers; Blue Jays; Indians. Wild Cards: Red Sox; Orioles/Detroit (tie). The AL East is the most competitive race, with the top three teams separated by just four games as of August 31; and the Orioles just two games out of a Wild Card spot.
NL: Cubs; Nationals; Dodgers. Wild Cards: Giants; Cardinals. The Dodgers and Giants are locked in the most competitive battle for a division title (NL West); with San Francisco trailing LA by 1 1/2 games.
YOU WILL FIND FULL STANDINGS (as of August 31) AND AUGUST RECORDS AT THE END OF THIS LENGTHY POST.
It Has Indeed Rained on Our Parade
On August 10, the Minnesota Twins scheduled Umbrella Night. What transpired was pretty much a microcosm of the Twins’ 2016 season – it rained on their parade. Yes, on Umbrella Night, a truly major league downpour stopped the game in the top of the third inning, with the Twins up 5-0 over the Houston Astros. After a 2 ½-hour rain delay, the game was postponed and the Twins’ lead washed away. The game was replayed the following day, with the Twins losing 10-2 (after losing that day’s regularly scheduled contest 15-7). The storm was a portent of things to come, The Twins were 6-3 in the first nine days of August (after a promising 15-11 June), although still 19 games under .500. After the rainout, they went 3-17, finishing August with an 49-84 record, the worst in the MLB (and riding an active 13-game losing streak). Ouch!
NOW, BEFORE WE LOOK AT INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES, LET’S REVIEW SOME TEAM STATS.
TEAM BATTING LEADERS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST
AL: Red Sox (150); Yankees (148); Rays (144)
NL: Rockies (173); Nationals (157); Cubs (143)
Only the A’s and Marlins scored fewer than 100 runs in August – at 99 and 97, respectively. Miami also hit the fewest home runs of any team in August (21). Clearly the Fish miss Giancarlo Stanton. Oakland and Miami also had MLB’s lowest August team batting averages (.235 and .250, respectively).
AL: Indians (.280); Red Sox (.276); Yankees (.274)
NL: Rockies (.298); Nationals (.279); Reds and Cubs (.276)
AL: Orioles (55); Blue Jays (47); Yankees (42)
NL: Cardinals (46); Mets (45); Brewers and Rockies (40)
AL: Indians (34); Royals (26); Rangers (17)
NL: Brewers and D-backs (42); Reds (31)
The Orioles doubled their stolen base total from July – stealing two bags in August.
A few other stats of interest:
- When it comes to striking out, the Brewers did it more than anybody in August, 288 times to be exact. At the other end of the spectrum were the Angels, whose hitters fanned just 188 times.
- Milwaukee spent a lot of time not putting the ball in play – leading all of MLB in August in both strikeouts (see bullet point above) and walks (129 – one of only four teams to draw 100 free passes).
- No one used the sacrifice to move runners up more than Kansas City – with 14 sacrifice hits (bunts) in August. The MLB average was five.
TEAM, PITCHING LEADERS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST
Earned Run Average
AL: Royals (2.71); Blue Jays (3.63); Tigers (3.64)
NL: Cubs (2.66); Pirates (3.41); Giants (3.88)
Pitching, pitching, pitching. The two teams with the best August ERA’s also had the best Augut Won-Lost records.
AL: Astros (274); Rays (272); Indians (266)
NL: Cubs (254); Mets (245); Nationals (237)
Other August stats of interest:
- Despite pitchers batting in the NL, the top four pitching staff in strikeouts were in the AL.
- The Cubs and Astros were the only teams to be among the top three in August strikeouts, as well as among the three best in terms of fewest walks allowed.
Now, let’s look at some individual highlights for August.
They Call Him the Streak —
- From July 25 through August 12, Rockies’ rookie left fielder David Dahl hit in 17 straight games. A nice little streak, but nothing that special (after all, DiMaggio hit in 56 straight) – unless you consider that those 17 games were the first 17 games of Dahl’s MLB career, giving him a share of the MLB record for the longest hitting streak to start a career. (Dahl went zero-for-four in his 18th MLB game). The 22-year-old rookie collected 24 hits in 70 at bats (.358) during his streak – including one double, three triples and three home runs. Over the 17 games, he drove in ten runs and scored 17. For more on Dahl and his streak, click here.
- From his second at bat August 25 until his second-to-last at bat August 27, Red Sox’ 2B Dustin Pedroia collected hits in 11 straight at bats – just one short of the MLB record shared by: Johnny Kling (Cubs, 1902); Pinky Higgins (Red Sox, 1938); and Walt Dropo (Tigers, 1952). During his streak, Pedroia collected ten singles and a double, scored twice and drove in three. Pedroia raised his average 15 points during the streak (.306 to .321). Despite Pedroia’s streak, the Red Sox lost two of the three contests.
- Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello started six games in August, going 4-2 and proving just how much he likes home cooking. He won all four starts at Fenway and lost both road starts. It ran Porcello’s 2016 record to 18-3 (leading MLB in victories). It also raised his 2016 record at Fenway to 13-0, 3.03 in 14 starts. On the road, he is 5-3, 3.49 in 13 starts. This 13-0 home record puts Porcello just two wins away from the modern MLB record for an undefeated season at home. Last season, the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel went 15-0, 1.46 at Minute Maid Park.
- On August 11th, Orioles’ closer Zach Britton not only recorded his 35th save in 35 opportunities this season, he also notched his MLB-record 39th straight appearance without allowing an earned run. He stretched that record to 43 games (41 1/3 innings), before allowing an earned run in an appearance against the Nationals on August 24.
Off to a Good Start – The Finish, Not So Much —
On August 19, the power-packed Orioles (leading the majors in home runs), set a major league record (first time since 1900) by hitting four home runs before making their first out of the game. It went like this: after the Astros scored once in the top of the first inning, the Orioles sent CF/leadoff hitter Adam Jones to the plate against Houston starter Collin McHugh. Jones hit McHugh’s first pitch of the game over the LF fence. (Notably, Astros’ leadoff hitter RF George Springer had also started the game with a homer). Orioles’ LF Hyon Soo Kim followed with a single to center, after which 3B Manny Machado homered to center. Then 1B Chris Davis homered to right center and RF Mark Trumbo hammered one out to center. DH Pedro Alvarez grounded out to second to end the hit parade – and McHugh gave up two more singles before getting out of the inning trailing 5-0.
Despite the fast start, the Orioles lost the game – which featured nine home runs – by a score of 15-8.
More #Why I Hate the DH —
On August 5, Cardinals’ southpaw Jaime Garcia went eight strong innings (three hits, one walk, 11 strikeouts) in beating the Braves 1-0 in Saint Louis. AND, Garcia had one of only two Cardinal hits – driving in the winning run with a single in the second inning.
Three Times the Charm – and Good Company —
On Augst 14th, Red Sox’ RF Mookie Betts belted three home runs (and a single) as the Red Sox topped the D-backs 16-2 at Fenway. Betts scored four runs and drove in eight in the contest. He also tied the AL record for games with three (or more) home runs in a season (two). The last (only other) Red Sox hitter to accompliah that feat was Ted William in 1957. Other American Leaguers to have two three-home-run games in a season: Doug DeCinces, Angels, 1982; Joe Carter, Indians, 1989; Cecil Fielder, Blue Jays, 1990; Geronimo Berroa, A’s, 1996; Carlos Delgado, Blue Jays, 2001. The record? Sammy Sosa, three games of three home runs for the Cubs in 2001.
Lucky Number Seven —
On August 9, Giants’ SS Brandon Crawford tied the National League record for base hits in a single game – going seven-for-eight as the Giants topped the Marlins (in Miami) 8-7 in 14 innings. Crawford’s seventh and final hit – a single to center in the top of the 14th inning drove in the go-ahead run – tying the record and winning the game. Crawford’s seven hits included five singles, a double and a triple – and he scored once and drove in a pair of runs. For more on his day – and an incredible nine-hit performance, click here.
How About a Game of 500? —
On August 6, Marlins’ RF Giancarlo Stanton hit the only (thus far) 500-foot home run of the 2016 season – a 504-foot solo blast in the fifth inning of the Marlins 12-6 road loss to the Rockies. Note: Statcast had the home run at 504 feet, ESPN Home run Tracker at 495.
Lucky Number Three —
On August 7, the Philadelphia Phillies turned a nifty 5-4-3 triple play (Maikel Franco to Cesar Hernandez to Tommy Joseph), the sixth triple killing this season (a single-season record-tying three by the White Sox already). The play came in the seventh inning of the Phillies’ 6-5 win over the Padres in San Diego. (BBRT note: The record for total triple plays in an MLB season is 11 – 1924, 1929, 1979. The only years in which MLB saw no triple plays were 1961 and 1974.)
MLB Post Season Schedule Announced – Nothing Like November Baseball —
Major League Baseball has announced is 2016 post season schedule. Here are a few key dates:
- AL Wild Card game – October 4
- NL Wild Card game – October 5
- AL Division Series – Opens October 6
- NL Division Series – Opens October 7
- AL Championship Series – Opens October 14
- NL Championship Series – Opens October 15
- World Series – Opens October 25
- World Series seventh game (if necessary) – November 2.
Movin’ On Up —
- On August 7, Ichiro Suzuki notched his 3,000th Major League hit – a triple off Rockies’ reliever Chris Rusin in the seventh inning of a 10-7 Marlins win in Denver. He became just the second player to hit a triple for hit number 3,000 (Paul Molitor is the other). The 3,000th safety put Ichiro at number-thirty on the MLB “hit list.” By month’s end, he added 12 more hits, moving up to number 27. Next target: Rafael Palmeiro at 3,020. Making Ichiro’s feat even more impressive is that he made his MLB debut at age 27 – after collecting 1,278 hits in Japan.
- Angels’ DH Albert Pujols started August with 20 home runs on the season and 580 in his career – putting him at number 12 all time. In August, he added six home runs, moving up to number nine. Next target: Sammy Sosa at 609.
- A shout out to Indians’ top catching prospect Francisco Mejia of the High A Lynchburg Hillcats on his 50-game hitting streak, which started May 27 and came to an end August 14. It was professional baseball’s fourth-longest streak ever. For details on the record 69-game hitting streak, click here. During his streak, the 20-year-old Mejia hit .386, with eight home runs and 42 RBI.
Trumbo Goes Deep – Or not at All —
From the seventh inning of Baltimore’s August 11th 9-6 win over Oakland (when he hit a Grand Slam) until his first inning single in Baltimore’s August 23rd game against Washington (won by Baltimore 8-1), Orioles’ right fielder Mark Trumbo went 7-for-36 (.195), which probably shouldn’t rate a mention here. However, all seven of Trumbo hits in that span were home runs (three solo shots, one two-run long ball, a three-run homer and the Grand Slam). This made Trumbo the first Oriole to collect home runs on seven straight hits, four short of Mark McGwire’s 11 straight (MLB record) in 2001.
Trumbo’s streak covered 11 games – and included four hitless contests. Baltimore went 5-2 in games featuring a Trumbo home run during the streak, and 0-4 in games in which he didn’t go deep. As August closed, Trumbo was leading MLB with 40 home runs.
Mark McGwire – All or Nothing Times Eleven
From The sixth inning of a Cardinals’ 17-11 loss to the Astros on July 18, 2001 (when he hit a solo home run) until hitting a single in the fifth inning of a Cardinals’ 8-4 win over Reds, Mark McGwire collected 11 hits – all of them home runs – setting the MLB record for consecutive hits that were home runs. During that span, McGwire appeared in 21 games, going 11-for-66 (.166) and driving in 17 runs. (Note: The 11th home run came in the 18th game of the streak – August 12 – but McGwire had two hitless games before collecting the single.) During his streak, McGwire had 11 hitless contests. During the stretch, the Cardinals went 8-2 in games in which McGwire homered and 4-7 in games he was held hitless. McGwire finished the season (his final MLB season) with a .187 average, 29 home runs and 64 RBI in 97 games. The four-time HR champ retired with a .263 career average, 583 home runs and 1,414 RBI.
You’re Only as Old as You Feel —
On August 24th, David Ortiz smacked his 30th home run of the season – a two-run shot (bringing Big Papi to the 100 RBI mark in this, his final, season). The long ball came in the top of the first inning (in a game Boston eventually lost 4-3 to Tampa Bay in 11 innings.) As you might expect, it marked another milestone for the Boston DH.
With the home run, Ortiz became the oldest player in MLB history to reach the 30-home run mark – at 40 years, nine months and six days. It was also Ortiz’ 10th 100-RBI season, and made him the only player to reach the 30-home run, 100-RBI mark in his final campaign. (BBRT is assuming he will follow through on his retirement announcement.)
How good has Big Papi’s farewell season been? He closed August hitting .313 – 31-102, with an AL-leading 42 doubles and even two stolen bases.
Just One Moore Would Have Been Nice —
On August 25th, Matt Moore, acquired by San Francisco at the trade deadline, picked up his first win as a Giant – and he did it in (nearly) spectacular fashion, coming within one out of no-hitting the rival Dodgers. With two outs in the ninth, Moore had given up no hits, no runs, with three walks and seven strikeouts. Up stepped Dodger SS Corey Seager – on what just happened to be Corey Seager Bobble Head Night. Seager hit a soft line drive to right field for a single – ending the no-hitter and Moore’s outing. (Moore was relieved by Santiago Casilla, who got the final out.)
No Circles for the Brewers —
On Thursday, August 11th, the Milwaukee Brewers refused to be denied – becoming just the 19th MLB team (since 1900) to score in every inning of a ball game. The Brewers collected 14 hits in the 11-3 win over the Braves and the line score looked like this:
Braves 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 3 9 1
Brewers 2 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 X 11 14 0
The Brewers’ attack featured home runs by 1B Chris Carter, 2B Scooter Gennett; and RF-3B Hernan Perez.
Now, how about a look at individual stat leaders for August?
INDIVIDUAL BATTING LEADEERS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST
Batting Average (minimum 75 at bats)
AL: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (.406); J.D. Martinez, Tigers (.404); Gary Sanchez, Yankees (.389)
NL: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies (.439); Joey Votto, Reds (.394); Neil Walker, Mets (.389)
Among players with at least 75 at bats in August, the lowest average belonged to the Royals’ Raul Mondesi at .160 (13-for-81). The lowest average (again at least 75 at bats) in the NL went to the Marlins’ Marcel Ozuna at .162 (17-for-105). Thirteen players with at least 75 at bats hit under .200 for the month – including MLB home run leader (on the season) Oriole Mark Trumbo, who hit .184, but with ten homers and 21 RBI.
AL: Brian Dozier, Twins (13); Gary Sanchez, Yankees (11); Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado, Orioles (each with 10)
NL: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (11); five with 10
AL: Jose Altuve, Astros; Mookie Betts, Red Sox; Brian Dozier, Twins (each with 27)
NL: Nolan Arenado, Rockies (36); Ryan Braun, Brewers (28); Joey Votto, Reds (26)
AL: Brian Dozier, Twins (27); George Springer, Astros (25); Alex Bregman, Astros (23)
NL: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (30); Kris Bryant, Cubs (29); three with 27
AL: Rajai Davis, Indians (9); Jose Ramirez, Indians (9); Elvis Andrus, Rangers (7)
NL: Billy Hamilton, Reds (19); Jonathan Villar, Brewers (15); three with eleven
No one fanned more in August than the Red Sox Jackie Bradley, Jr. – with 39 whiffs in 106 at bats. Bradley hit .198-5-13 for the month. In the NL, the Giants’ Brandon Belt (.237-3-17) and Padres’ Will Myers (.216-3-9) each fanned 37 times in 97 at bats.
INDIVIDUAL PITCHING LEADERS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST
Earned Run Average (minimum 25 innings pitched)
AL: Carlos Rondon, White Sox (1.47); Ian Kennedy, Royals (1.86); Jose Quintana, White Sox (2.29)
NL: Kyle Hendricks, Cubs (1.28); John Lackey, Cubs (1.66); Jon Lester, Cubs (1.71)
The highest ERA among pitchers who tossed at least 25 innings in August goes to the Indians’ Josh Tomlin (11.48 in six starts). Over in the NL, Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers started six games and produced an ERA of 9.00.
AL: Corey Kluber, Indians (5-0); Danny Duffy, Royals (5-1); eight with four
NL: Ten with four
AL: Chris Sale, White Sox (52 in 46 2/3 IP); Chris Archer, Rays (47 in 38 2/3 IP); Carlos Carrasco, Indians (46 in 36 1/3IP)
NL: Max Scherzer, Nationals (51 in 41 1/3 IP); Brandon Finnegan (41 in 37 1/3 IP); Robbie Ray, D-backs (38 in 30 IP)
AL: Edwin Diaz, Mariners (11), Kelvin Herrera, Royals (10); three with eight
NL: Aroldis Chapman, Cubs (11); Tory Watson, Pirates (10), Kenley Jansen, Dodgers (9)
- Chris Sale led all of MLB in strikeouts (52), had a 2.89 ERA in six starts and led the majors in complete games (2) – and still won only once against three losses. On the other hand, the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia went 3-2 with an ERA of more than 5.00.
- Aroldis Chapman (Cubs) and Edwin Diaz (Royals) tied for the MLB lead in saves – yet Diaz’ ERA was nearly three times as high as Chapman’s (3.95 versus 1.38).
- The three lowest NL ERAs (at least 25 August innings) went to Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey and Jon Lester). In 14 August starts, their combined ERA was 1.51.
- The Phillies’ Hector Neris led MLB in August “holds” with eight. He pitched in 14 games (14 2/3 innings) and gave up just one earned run.
Now, a look at a few Year-to-Date Stats.
LEADING TEAM BATTING STATS THROUGH AUGUST 31
AL: Red Sox (.285); Tigers (.266); Indians (.265)
NL: Rockies (.275); Marlins (.268); D-backs (.263)
No one pinch hits like the “fella’s from Missouri.” Only two teams have pinch hit batting average over .300 on the season: The Cardinals (.348/64-for-184) and the Royals (.303/19-for-33). The MLB overall pinch-hitting average (through August) was .210, and 13 teams have PH averages below the Mendoza Line (sub-.200).
AL: Red Sox (724): Blue Jays (653); Indians (646)
NL: Rockies (709); Cubs (672); Cardinals (650)
No team has put fewer runs on the board this season than the Phillies (492 as of August 31). The Phillies also have the second worst team batting average (.238, the Padres are at .236).
AL: Orioles (209); Blue Jays (196); Mariners (179)
NL: Cardinals (189); Mets (178); Nationals (176)
AL: Indians (106); Royals (89); Astros (88)
NL: Brewers (147); Reds (114); D-backs (112)
The Orioles clearly have power (as attested by their MLB-leading 209 home runs; on a pace for 255). Speed, however, is a different story. The Baltimore Birds do not fly – they are dead last in stolen bases with 15 on the season. No other team has less than 30.
TEAM PITCHING LEADERS THROUGH AUGUST 31
Earned Run Average
AL: Blue Jays (3.79); Indians (3.81); Astros (3.90)
NL: Cubs (3.13); Nationals (3.44); Mets (3.63)
Through August, the Twins and D-backs have the worst ERA’s in their respective leaguues – both at 5.12.
AL: Red Sox (8); White Sox (6); Indians (5)
NL: Giants (9); Cubs (4); Dodgers (3 – Don’t they miss Kershaw?)
AL: Yankees (1,160); Astros (1,155); Indians (1,138)
NL: Dodgers (1,225); Nationals (1,219); Cubs (1,177)
AL: Orioles (46); Rangers (46); Mariners (41)
NL: Marlins (46); Mets (45); Pirates (45)
The Chicago White Sox lead all of MLB in Blown Saves through August with 26 – against 38 saves.
Now, the individual leaders.
INDIVIDUAL BATTING LEADERS THROUGH AUGUST 31
Batting Average (minimum 400 plate appearances)
AL: Jose Altuve, Astros (.351); Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (.323); Mookie Betts, Red Sox (.320)
NL: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies (.345); Daniel Murphy, Nationals (.341); Martin Prado, Marlins (.319)
The lowest average among players with at least 400 plate appearnces belongs to White Sox’ 3B todd Frazier at .212. However, he also has 33 home runs, 83 RBI and ten stolen bases.
AL: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays (106); Mookie Betts, Red Sox (103); Mike Trout, Angels (102)
NL: Kris Bryant, Cubs (111); Nolan Arenado, Rockies (98); Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (90)
AL: Mark Trumbo, Orioles (40); Edwin Encarnacion, Bluye Jays (36); two with 34
NL: Nolan Arenado, Rockies and Kris Bryant, Cubs (36); Chris Carter, Brewers (30)
AL: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays (106); Albert Pujols, Angels (103); David Ortiz, Red Sox (102)
NL: Nolan Arenado, Rockies (115); Daniel Murphy, Nationals (98); Anthony Rizzo, Cubs (93)
AL: Rajai Davis, Indians (30); Jose Altuve, Astros (26); Mike Trout, Angels (21)
NL: Billy Hamilton, Reds (54); Jonathan Villar, Brewers (50); Starling Marte, Pirates (46)
INDIVIDUAL PITCHING LEADERS THROGH AUGUST 31
Earned Run Average
AL: Jose Quintana, White Sox (2.77); Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays (2.88); Cole Hamels, Rangers (2.91)
NL: Kyle Hendricks, Cubs (2.09); Madison Bumgarner, Giants (2.49); Noah Syndegaard, Mets (2.55)
AL; Rick Porcello, Red Sox (18-3) J.A. Happ, Blue Jays (17-4); three with 15.
NL: Jake Arrietts, Cubs (16-5); Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (15-4); Max Scherzer, Nationals (15-7)
Chris Archer of the Rays leads MLB in losses through August(8-17, 4.10).
AL: Zach Britton, Orioles (39); Fernando Rodriguez, Tigers (37); Dave Robertson, White Sox (33)
NL: Jeurys Familia, Mets (44); Kenley Jansen, Dodgers (40); Mark Melancon Nats/Pirates (37)
FINALLY, the standing as of August 31.
MLB Standings Through August 31 (Won-lost for August in parentheses)
Won Lost Pct. GB Aug. Record
Toronto 76 57 .571 … (17-1l)
Boston 74 59 .556 2.0 (17-13)
Baltimore 72 61 .541 4.0 (13-16)
New York 69 63 .523 6.5 (17-11)
Tampa Bay 56 76 .424 19.5 (14-15)
Cleveland 76 56 .576 … (16-14)
Detroit 72 61 .541 4.5 (15-15)
Kansas City 69 64 .519 7.5 (20-9)
Chicago 63 69 .4xx 13.0 (12-15)
Minnesota 49 84 .368 27.5 (9-20)
Texas 80 54 .597 … (18-10)
Houston 71 62 .534 8.5 (16-13)
Seattle 68 65 .511 11.5 (16-13)
Los Angeles 59 74 .444 20.5 (12-16)
Oakland 57 76 .429 22.5 (10-18)
Washington 78 55 .586 … (17-11)
New York 69 64 .519 9.0 (15-14)
Miami 67 66 .504 11.0 (10-18)
Philadelphia 6o 73 .451 18.0 (12-14)
Atlanta 50 83 .376 28.0 (13-15)
Chicago 85 47 .644 … (22-6)
St. Louis 70 62 .530 15.0 (14-13)
Pittsburgh 67 64 .511 17.5 (15-13)
Milwaukee 57 76 .429 28.5 (10-20)
Cincinnati 55 77 .417 30.0 (13-15)
Los Angeles 74 59 .556 … (15-13)
San Francisco 72 60 .545 1.5 (11-16)
Colorado 64 69 .481 10.0 (12-16)
Arizona 56 77 .421 18.0 (13-15)
San Diego 55 77 .4xx 18.5 (10-17)
Whew! Still with me? If so, thanks!!
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