Brad Penny is going to be in the best shape of his life

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If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you know that I obsessively track those players who are reported to be “in the best shape of their life” each spring.

Best Shape of His Life stories can take a couple of different forms. There’s the straightforward “Player X is looking good” story which, if we’re lucky, actually uses the phrase “best shape of his life.”  Close relatives to these stories are the “Pitcher X has developed a new pitch/developed a new grip/is standing on the other end of the rubber now” stories and “Player Y has taken up yoga/medicine ball work/Thighmaster and is now way more flexible than he used to be.  The specifics aren’t terribly important. What’s key is that they are put out there by some anonymous source or agent or someone, and are clearly designed to counteract a public flaw assigned to the player the previous season related to conditioning, fragility or just plain sucking.  They’re as predictable as the first crocuses of spring.

And they’re getting earlier!  Today we had what I consider to be my first official sighting of a Best Shape of His Life story. Self-reported, from Brad Penny:

Heading to the gym. I’m going to be i’n the best shape I’ve ever been for the upcoming season.

I know the season just ended, my friends, but with that report, I feel like spring is right around the corner!

Odubel Herrera’s on-base streak ends at 45 games

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera‘s streak of reaching base safely has ended after 45 consecutive games. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Cardinals.

Herrera’s streak tied Chuck Klein for the fourth-longest on-base streak in Phillies history. The only longer streaks were done by Mike Schmidt (56), Klein again (49), and Bobby Abreu (48). It’s the longest on-base streak in the majors since Freddie Freeman reached base in 46 consecutive games from August 6 to September 28, 2016. Jayson Werth also got to 46 in a row June 20 through August 18 that same year.

After Sunday’s 0-fer, Herrera is batting .344/.411/.544 with seven home runs, 30 RBI, and 24 runs scored in 180 plate appearances. He leads the National League in batting average, and ranks sixth and ninth in slugging percentage.