Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera did something pretty unusual today in a loss to the Giants; he became the first player since the White Sox’s Lou Frazier in 1998 to steal four bases without recording a hit.
Cabrera walked twice and stole second and third each time. He scored on a Hector Sanchez throwing error on the second steal of third.
Cabrera now leads the NL with 41 steals. He’s also been caught just three times. Despite all of the talk about how speed is supposed to rule the game again, it’s been a poor year for steals in the NL. Michael Bourn is second in the league with 40 steals in 52 tries. Shane Victorino has 39 steals. Cabrera’s total will be the lowest total to lead either league since Alfonso Soriano topped the AL with 41 steals in 2002. It’ll be the lowest total to lead the NL since Craig Biggio had 39 in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Apart from that, the NL leader has had at least 45 steals every year since 1963.
As for Cabrera’s feat today, he became the 8th different player since 1918 to have four steals without a hit. Vince Coleman did it three times and Rickey Henderson twice, so it’s been done 11 times in all.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.