It’s still early enough to turn around, but there are a lot of hitters this year with many more homers than doubles:
Jose Bautista – 25 HR, 9 2B
Adam Dunn – 24 HR, 10 2B
Curtis Granderson – 21 HR, 9 2B
Carlos Beltran – 20 HR, 9 2B
Dayan Viciedo – 13 HR, 4 2B
Matt Kemp – 12 HR, 6 2B
Mike Napoli – 12 HR, 6 2B
Justin Smoak – 11 HR, 3 2B
That’s the list of players with at least 10 homers and no more than half as many doubles. There’s also Ryan Braun at 20 homers and 12 doubles, Edwin Encarnacion at 22 homers and 14 doubles and Josh Hamilton at 24 homers and 15 doubles.
Some of these are going to even out a bit, but it seems like a given that at least one or two guys here will become the first player(s) since 2008 to finish with at least 20 homers and have twice as many homers as doubles. Napoli (20 HR, 9 2B) and Marcus Thames (25 HR, 12 2B) both did it that year.
It’s also possible that someone will have at least 20 homers and three times as many homers as doubles since Frank Thomas finished with 39 homers and 11 doubles for the A’s in 2006. Viciedo and Smoak are both on such a pace at the moment, and Bautista is barely off.
Still, it seems safe to suggest no one is touching Mark McGwire, who had 29 homers and four doubles in his final season in 2001. He also had 32 homers and eight doubles the year before in 2000. He finished his career with 583 homers and 252 doubles, so he was pretty much the king of this stat.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.