The Tigers are on fire and a big part of that is Victor Martinez, who has done nothing but rake this year. He hit another homer last night and now stands at .329/.379/.605 with 11 homers and 26 RBI. He leads the AL in average, slugging and OPS.
But what may be the most remarkable number he’s posted so far is 9. As in, he has struck out only nine times which, according to math, means that he has two fewer Ks than he has homers.
While always impressive for a person who hits a lot of homers, there was a time in baseball when such a thing was not necessarily a crazy-historic feat. Joe DiMaggio did it seven times in a 13-year career. Yogi Berra did it five times in the 1950s alone and had the same number of bombs and strikeouts another time. Ted Kluszewski did a few times — these days it’s a pretty rare feat. Heck, having, like, 100 more strikeouts than homers would get at least some people talking about your decent plate discipline in our free-swinging age. Only one player has done it with as many as 30 home runs since the 1950s and his name was Barry Bonds, who hit 45 homers and struck out 41 times in 2004.
I don’t expect Martinez to keep this pace up all year — he’s never been a guy who has struck out that much but in full seasons he has never had fewer than 50 — but for now it’s pretty darn impressive.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.