Rangers, Rockies on pace for historic finishes

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With two teams already there and the rest set to hit the halfway point of the season within the next few days, I wanted to look at what kind of pace each team was on. Below are the number of wins each team would finish with given its current pace, plus how that would stack up against the team’s history. As things stand now, there’s one team on pace for its most wins ever and another on pace for its fewest.

AL East
Yankees – 100 – most since 2009
Orioles – 87 – most since 1997
Red Sox – 86  – fewest since 2001
Rays – 84 – fewest since 2009
Blue Jays – 82 – most since 2010

AL Central
White Sox – 86 – most since 2010
Indians – 83 – most since 2007
Tigers – 80 – fewest since 2008
Royals – 74 – most since 2008
Twins – 69 – most since 2010

AL West
Rangers – 101 – most ever
Angels – 90 – most since 2009
Athletics – 77 – most since 2010
Mariners – 68 – most since 2009

NL East
Nationals – 95 – most since 1979*
Mets – 87 – most since 2008
Braves – 85 – fewest since 2008
Marlins – 79 – most since 2010
Phillies – 72 – fewest since 2000

NL Central
Reds – 89 – most since 2010
Pirates – 87 – most since 1992
Cardinals – 84 – fewest since 2007
Brewers – 75 – fewest since 2006
Astros – 66 – most since 2010
Cubs – 60 – fewest since 1981**

NL West
Giants – 91 – most since 2010
Dodgers – 89 – most since 2009
Diamondbacks – 81 – fewest since 2010
Rockies – 62 – fewest ever
Padres – 61 fewest since 1993

*The Expos were 74-40 and on pace to win 105 games when the strike ended the 1994 season.

**The 1981 Cubs went 38-65 in that strike-shortened season, which also works out to 60-win pace. Their last full season under 60 wins was 1966, when they went 59-103.

If the Rangers keep at it, they’ll set a franchise high for victories for the second straight year, topping last year’s total of 96. Before that, their high was 95 win sin 1999.

The Rockies are on pace for their fewest wins, excluding the 1994 strike season (they were on pace for 73 wins that year). Their low total is 67 wins, from both their inaugural season in 1993 and from 2005.

The Yankees and Rangers are both on pace for 100 wins. Only one team, the Phillies, got there last year. No team did in 2010. If the Yankees can do it, it’d be their sixth 100-win season since 1998.

And then there’s the Pirates, on pace for their first .500 season since Barry Bonds left. Their high total since was 79 wins in 1997.

Giancarlo Stanton dented the outfield wall in Marlins Park

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If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.

It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:

Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.

The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.