Pace Car: Angels and Yanks rocking nine-man bands

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Kudos to the Angels and Yankees, who have put together a couple of the most well-rounded lineups of all-time. Or at least it’s headed that way.

As noted on Baseball-Reference Blog, the Angels could have 10 players with 100 hits. The only other team to do so was the 2004 Tigers. Meanwhile, the Yankees have 9 players on pace for at least 40 extra-base hits. That feat, too, has been accomplished only one other time – by the 2003 Red Sox.
In other words, the Yankees could become the first team to have 9 players with at least 40 extra-base hits without the use of steroids or female fertility drugs. I kid, I kid.
By contrast, the Mets will probably only have one player – David Wright – to go over 40. Coincidentally, Wright is the only Mets player who has more homers (8) than his jersey (5). Gary Sheffield (10) is currently tied, but even with more than a month to go, topping that isn’t a sure thing.
Also, Mark Reynolds continues to put up the least hyped awesome season ever. He’s currently on pace for 51 HR, 111 RBI, 224 K, 28 SB, and nearly 20 errors. Again, one of the most action-packed lines we can remember.
Finally, for those of you into the whole magic number thing, here are a few:
Yankees: 36
Tigers: 40
Angels: 38
Phillies: 37
Cardinals: 35
Dodgers: 38

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.