Stat of the day: Infield hits & bunt hits

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Here are the infield hit leaders, listed along with their number of bunt hits.
Numbers taken from Fangraphs.com
1. Ichiro Suzuki – 49 – 6
2. Michael Bourn – 29 – 17
3. Carl Crawford – 27 – 0
3. Shane Victorino – 27 – 0
5. Cristian Guzman – 26 – 1
6. Ryan Braun – 25 – 0
6. Jacoby Ellsbury – 25 – 9
6. Scott Podsednik – 25 – 5
9. Everth Cabrera – 23 – 13
9. Matt Kemp – 23 – 3
And here’s bunt hits, along with each player’s number of infield hits:
1. Erick Aybar – 18 – 15
2. Emilio Bonifacio – 17 – 18
2. Michael Bourn – 17 – 29
4. Willy Taveras – 15 – 13
5. Nyjer Morgan – 14 – 15
6. Everth Cabrera – 13 – 23
6. Rafael Furcal – 13 – 19
8. Denard Span – 10 – 19
9. Luis Castillo – 9 – 18
9. Jacoby Ellsbury – 9 – 25
9. Chone Figgins – 9 – 13
– Ichiro does rather stand out up there, doesn’t he? But I wonder if he wouldn’t be even better if he attempted a few more bunts. He’s 6-for-10 reaching base when he gets a bunt down this year, and he’s over 50 percent for his career.
But, then, I also wonder if he wouldn’t be worse off for it. Ichiro may just be the one hitter in baseball who doesn’t benefit from having the infield come in against him. His ability to beat out seemingly routine grounders is legendary. He probably doesn’t want the shortstop and second baseman any further in than they already are.
– Ichiro aside, the great “bunt for hitters” are generally in the 40s as far as reaching first when they get a bunt down. Cabrera (50), Bourn (47) and Ellsbury (47) are the best of the guys on the leaderboard. Castillo is the low man at 28 percent.
Also in the 50 percent club are Colby Rasmus (7-for-14) and B.J. Upton (6-for-12). Troy Tulowitzki and Brian Roberts are both 4-for-5. Bunting against the shift, Carlos Pena is 5-for-8 and Jack Cust is 3-for-3. Kemp is also 3-for-3.
– Back to infield hits, here’s the bottom of the leaderboard:
1. Brian McCann – 2
1. Bengie Molina – 2
1. Daniel Murphy – 2
4. Jermaine Dye – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Paul Konerko – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Andy LaRoche – 3
4. Carlos Pena – 3

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Yankees defeat Blue Jays to clinch postseason spot

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The Yankees guaranteed their place in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Sonny Gray led the charge against their division rivals, clinching his 10th win of the season with six innings of four-hit, one-run, four-strikeout ball.

Gray worked into a little trouble in the first inning, putting runners in scoring position after Josh Donaldson drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Smoak advanced him with a single. The Yankees’ ace induced two quick outs to end the threat, but was overpowered by a Teoscar Hernandez home run in the third inning, the rookie’s fourth blast of the season:

Thankfully for the Yankees, that was the only run that slipped through the cracks. Gray finished the remainder of his outing with two hits and two walks and was backed by another three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Greg Bird supplied the go-ahead run with a three-RBI shot in the fifth inning, plating Chase Headley and Starlin Castro to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.

Todd Frazier tacked on another solo homer in the eighth, while Starlin Castro returned in the ninth to cap the win with an RBI single. Aroldis Chapman did the rest, wielding just 10 pitches to get three straight outs from Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Rob Refsnyder.

Following Saturday’s win, the Yankees have at least secured one wild card berth, though they’re not out of the division race just yet. They still sit a full four games back of first place in the AL East, with eight games left to play.