Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the first inning Thursday against the White Sox, giving him 30 homers and 100 RBI on the season.
Three innings later, he reached another little milestone: he walked for the 20th time in 567 at-bats.
Barring a stunning turn of events, Jones is about to become the 57th player (37th different) in major league history to hit 30 homers and finish with more homers than walks. Adrian Beltre was the last to do it, finishing with 32 homers and 25 walks for the Rangers in 2011. Alfonso Soriano has done it three times, most recently in 2007. The only other active player to have done it was Ryan Braun in his rookie year (34 HR, 29 BB). Juan Gonzalez did it four times.
The lack of walks certainly hasn’t stopped Jones from being a very valuable player these last couple of years. He’s currently batting .295, so his OBP (.326 at the moment) isn’t too bad. This is his second straight 30-homer season after he hit 32 last year, and he’s well on his way to scoring 100 runs again (92 right now).
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.
Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.
According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.
Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.
Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.