The DH has tainted hitting records? Really?

31 Comments

Terrence Moore of MLB.com would like you — and every single development in baseball since, I dunno, 1965, to get off his lawn:

No question, baseball’s home run records are tarnished by those who spent part of their careers with artificially enhanced bodies, or have been suspected of it. That said, why don’t folks talk much — if at all — about that other great evil in this regard called the designated hitter?

I’m all for bashing the designated hitter. It’s fun!  But to suggest — as Moore does here, at length and with his tongue decidedly not in his cheek — that an honest-to-goodness on-the-books-for-nearly-40-years baseball rule “tarnishes” hitting records is preposterous.

The story of baseball is all about changes in context. Baseball in 1865 was different than baseball in 1895 which was different than 1915, which was different than 1925, which was different than 1935, 1945, 1965, 1977, 1988, 2000 and on to today.  The ball has changed, So too have the parks, the bats, the rules, the mounds, the players and a host of other things. The only consistent thing about the conditions in which baseball is played and in which records were set is their inconsistency.

Yet, despite this, Moore brings up the idea of “asterisks” in the event Alex Rodriguez breaks the home run record as a DH with a straight face. Insanity.

Observation: if we let go of the notion that there was a time when baseball was in some Garden-of-Eden state, only to later become tarnished and corrupted, most of the crap that riles people up about it would simply melt away.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
1 Comment

Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.