Home run, RBI stat leaders still to be decided

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With one week, the AL and NL batting titles and OPS crowns are no longer in doubt. Still, there are plenty of league leaders left to be decided.
AL Home Runs
1. Carlos Pena – 39
2. Mark Teixeira – 38
3. Jason Bay – 36
Pena has been done since Sept. 7, but he just might get the crown anyway. He homered once in every 12.1 at-bats this year, compared to one in every 15.7 for Teixeira so far.
NL Home Runs
1. Albert Pujols – 47
2. Mark Reynolds – 44
3. Prince Fielder – 43
3. Ryan Howard – 43
Pujols still has a shot to be the first player to get to 50 homers since Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder in 2007. Also up in the air is whether Adam Dunn will get the two homers he needs for a sixth straight 40-homer season. He’d join Babe Ruth (seven), Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa as the only players to pull that off.
AL RBI
1. Mark Teixieira – 120
2. Jason Bay -115
Teixiera could get two-thirds of the way to the Triple Crown. He’s also in a big fight for second place in the league in OPS. He’s at 952, barely ahead of Miguel Cabrera and Kevin Youkilis at 951. Bay is fifth at 930.
NL RBI
1. Prince Fielder – 137
1. Ryan Howard – 137
3. Albert Pujols – 132
Talk about a three-man race: Derrek Lee is in fourth place with 109.
MLB Bases on Balls
1. Albert Pujols – 112
2. Adam Dunn – 111
3. Adrian Gonzalez – 110
Shockingly, Chone Figgins is the AL leader at 98. No one would have guessed that at the start of the year.
MLB OBP
1. Albert Pujols – .446
2. Joe Mauer – .444
3. Nick Johnson – .420
We know Mauer will lead the majors in average and Pujols will lead both leagues in slugging and OPS. OBP remains up for grabs.
MLB GIDPs
1. Miguel Tejada – 29
2. Evan Longoria – 27
2. Yadier Molina – 27
Tejada needs just one more 6-4-3 to become the second player in baseball history to ground into 30 double plays in back-to-back years. Jim Rice did it three straight years from 1983-85.
NL ERA
1. Chris Carpenter – 2.30
2. Tim Lincecum – 2.47
3. Adam Wainwright – 2.58
The NL Cy Young race appears down to Wainwright and Lincecum, with Wainwright likely to clinch it if he can earn his 20th victory this week.
MLB Strikeouts
1. Justin Verlander – 256
2. Tim Lincecum – 254
They’ll both lead their leagues. On a per-inning basis, Lincecum has a clear lead. He fans 10.5 per nine, while Verlander is at 10.3. Jon Lester is third at 10.0.
MLB WHIP
1. Dan Haren – 0.99
2. Chris Carpenter – 1.01
3. Javier Vazquez – 1.02
Zack Greinke is the AL leader at 1.07.
MLB Home Runs Allowed
1. Braden Looper – 39
2. Jeremy Guthrie – 32
3. Bronson Arroyo – 31
No, this one isn’t in doubt. But we will get to see if Looper becomes the first pitcher to allow 40 homers since Eric Milton in 2005.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.