Matt Murton went 3-for-5 last night, giving the former Cubs outfielder 213 hits on the year to break Japan’s single-season record of 210 hits set by Ichiro Suzuki in 1994.
Murton still has two more games to add to his total, although it’s worth noting that Suzuki played when the Japanese schedule was 130 games, compared to the current 144-game schedule. Murton acknowledged the difference in season lengths after breaking Suzuki’s record:
1994 and 2010 are two different seasons. He did it in 130 games. It is what it is, it’s a great honor. In terms of Ichiro, this doesn’t change anything. He’s one of the best players in baseball.
Meanwhile, last month Suzuki became the first player in MLB history to reach 200 hits in 10 consecutive seasons and joined Pete Rose as just the second player in MLB history to have 200 hits in 10 seasons, period. Prior to signing with the Mariners in 2001 he captured seven straight batting titles in Japan.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.