Stephen Strasburg tossed six innings of two-run ball in a series-sweeping victory over the Blue Jays this afternoon and in the process became the first pitcher this season to crack 100 strikeouts.
Justin Verlander is next up with 95 strikeouts, so he’ll likely join Strasburg in the triple-digit club when he starts tomorrow against the Cubs.
As for Strasburg, he’s 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 100/20 K/BB ratio in 77 innings this season, allowing just five homers and a .213 opponents’ batting average through 13 starts. He’s now made 30 total starts for his career–12 before Tommy John surgery and 18 after–and Strasburg is 14-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 216/39 K/BB ratio in 169 innings.
During that time his 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings leads all pitchers with 25-plus starts and no one else has more than 10.0. And his 5.54 strikeouts per walk is the third-best in baseball behind only Cliff Lee at 6.81 and Roy Halladay at 6.27, with no other pitcher above 4.75. Oh, and he doesn’t turn 24 years old until next month.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.