It’s not quite an out of nowhere power explosion like Jose Bautista in 2010 or even Jacoby Ellsbury last season, but Braves center fielder Michael Bourn has already set a new career-high for homers in a season.
Bourn went deep yesterday for the sixth time in 57 games. His previous career-high was five homers, set in 2008 when he played 138 games. And in the three seasons since then Bourn had a total of seven homers in 456 games. In other words he’s never shown this type of power before, even in the minors.
And here’s the craziest part: All six of his homers have come in the last 24 games. Bourn had zero homers on May 11. Fast forward a month and suddenly he’s on pace for 17 homers after coming into the season with a grand total of 13 homers in 716 games and 2,663 plate appearances.
Along with adding significant thump at age 29 the impending free agent is also hitting a career-high .305 with a career-high .354 on-base percentage. He’s cut back some on the bases, stealing “only” 15 bags after leading the league in steals during each of the past three seasons, but if Bourn can maintain most of this new-found offensive production he doesn’t need to rely on his legs so much to provide value.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.