Matt Kemp stole his 20th base of the season last night, which along with 20 homers puts him halfway to joining the 40-homer, 40-steal club after just 75 games.
Jose Canseco was the first 40-40 player in 1988 and since then Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano have joined him in the club.
Kemp obviously has a long way to go, as getting another 20 homers and 20 steals in the remaining 87 games would be a major accomplishment for anyone, but he’s off to a historic start.
Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. did some digging and found that Kemp is just the ninth player to reach 20-20 by the midway point (81st game) of a season. Actually, he’s the eighth player, as Canseco did it twice and Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Eric Davis, and Ken Williams each did it once.
And Kemp still has another six games to add to his before-the-midway-point totals.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.