Ryan Howard thinks he can be a 30-100 guy again

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This is a few days old, but per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard thinks he can still be a 30-100 guy (as in 30 home runs and 100 RBI). Howard has been slowed by injuries ever since he tore his Achilles tendon making the final out in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals. He missed the final three months of the 2013 season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee as well.

Howard, however, looks at what David Ortiz has accomplished and wonders “why not me?”

“Everybody in this league has experienced success on every level that they’ve played,” he said. “You have success and then you have a little bit of turmoil. It’s how you find a way to get back to that success, like Marlon Byrd, like David Ortiz. Age doesn’t play a factor.”

He continued:

“Can I be a 30-100 guy?” he said. “Yeah, I definitely think so. I believe in my ability. I hear what people say. It’s cool. You guys are all entitled to your opinions. But let’s say I come back and I do what I do. Then what? If I come back and put up numbers like ’07, ’08, ’09, then what? Are we having these conversations?”

Howard last accomplished the 30-100 feat in 2011 and he just turned 34 years old. Since 2010, the only players 34 years old or older to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs are Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, and Alex Rodriguez. In the 2013 season alone, only ten players achieved the goal regardless of age: Ortiz, Soriano, Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Pedro Alvarez, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones, and Jay Bruce. The ten instances in 2013 are down from 19 in 2009.

Rougned Odor didn’t technically steal home, but he basically did

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Just saw this from last night’s Tigers-Rangers game. It was pretty wild.

Rougned Odor walked in the seventh inning. He broke for second on a steal and was safe due to the throw going wild, allowing him to reach third base. The Tigers called on reliever Daniel Stumpf and he was effective in retiring the next two batters, leaving Odor on third with two out.

Stumpf, a lefty, was paying no attention whatsoever to Odor, so Odor just took off for home, attempting a straight steal. Stumpf was so surprised that he tried to throw home to nail Odor, and in so doing, he balked. That technically means that Odor scored on the balk, but I think it’s safe to say he would’ve scored on the strait steal regardless. Watch:

 

He definitely gets points for style.

 

Aroldis Chapman is pitching himself out of a job

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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looked shaky again last night, coming in to the game with a three-run lead before allowing a two-run homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario. He would nail down the save eventually, giving Sonny Gray his first win as a Yankee, but Chapman’s struggles were the talk of the game afterward.

It was the third appearance in a row in which Chapman has given up at least one run, allowing five runs on three hits — two of them homers — and walking four in his last three and a third innings pitched. He’s also hit a batter. That’s just the most acute portion of a long slide, however. He posted a 0.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances this year, before getting shelled twice and then going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, missing over a month. Since returning he’s allowed 12 runs — ten earned — in 23 appearances, breaking out to a 4.09 ERA. He’s also walked ten batters in that time. At present, his strikeout rate is the worst he’s featured since 2010. His walk rate is up and he’s allowing more hits per nine innings than he ever has.

It’s possible that he’s still suffering from shoulder problems. Whether or not that’s an issue, he looks to have a new health concern as he appeared to tweak his hamstring on the game’s final play last night when he ran over to cover first base. Chapman told reporters after the game that “it’s nothing to worry about,” and Joe Girardi said that Chapman would not undergo an MRI or anything, but he was clearly grimacing as he came off the mound and it’s something worth watching.

Also worth watching: Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Chapman’s setup men who have each shined as Yankees closers in the past and who may very soon find themselves closing once again if Chapman can’t figure it out. And Chapman seems to know it. He was asked if he still deserves to be the closer after the game. His answer:

“My job is to be ready to pitch everyday. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer’s position, I’m always going to be ready to pitch.”

That’s a team-first answer, and for that Chapman should be lauded. But it’s also one that suggests Chapman himself knows he’s going to be out of a closer’s job soon if he doesn’t turn things around.