By OPS anyway.
Adam Dunn and Curtis Granderson both entered Wednesday’s season finales with .800 OPSs. Dunn didn’t play and thus avoided overtaking Mark Reynolds for the single-season strikeout record (he had 222, Reynolds finished with 223 in 2009). Granderson did play and hit two more homers to finish with 43 homers and an .811 OPS.
Those two marks rank was the worst OPSs ever for a 40-homer guy.
.800 – Adam Dunn (2012, CWS) – 41 HR
.811 – Curtis Granderson (2012, NYY) – 43 HR
.827 – Tony Batista (2000, Tor) – 41 HR
.831 – Tony Armas (1984, Bos) – 43 HR
.833 – Juan Gonzalez (1992, Tex) – 43 HR
.833 – Dick Stuart (1963, Bos) – 42 HR
.836 – Jose Canseco (1998, Tor) – 46 HR
.849 – Rocky Colavito (1959, Cle) – 42 HR
.855 – Adam Dunn (2006, Cin) – 40 HR
.860 – Cecil Fielder (1991, Det) – 44 HR
Going by OPS+ instead, Batista’s season still ranks as the worst, since there was quite a bit more offense back in 2000 than there is now. Batista had just a 102 OPS+, meaning he was barely a league-average hitter with his .263 average and .307 OBP. Dunn’s OPS+ this year is 112, while Granderson was at 113 entering the night (it’ll probably climb to 115 or so as a result of his big game). No one else came in below Dunn’s 112, but the Rockies’ Vinny Castilla also finished at 112 as a 40-homer guy in Coors Field in 1996.
At .204, Dunn also has the lowest batting average ever for a 40-homer guy. Granderson’s .232 is the second lowest, squeezing in below two other Dunn seasons (he hit .234 in 2006 and .236 in 2008 with exactly 40 homers both years).
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.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.