Asdrubal Cabrera breaks a home run record

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Not the home run record, because that probably would have gotten some more hype.  But it is a record nonetheless.  By hitting No. 24 today, Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera broke the single-season record for homers by a Venezuelan shortstop.

OK, yeah, Babe Ruth wasn’t eligible for this one.

Alex Gonzalez had held the record, hitting 23 in 2004 with the Marlins and then matching that total with the Blue Jays and Braves last year.  Carlos Guillen has the next three biggest seasons: he had 21 homers while primarily playing shortstop in 2007, 20 in 2004 and 19 in 2006.  And then there are a couple of more Gonzalez seasons before one gets to Dave Concepcion’s career-high 16 homers in 1979.

So, obviously, while Venezuela has produced some great shortstops, including Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel, it hasn’t produced a whole lot of power-hitting shortstops.

Cabrera, who made his first All-Star team this year, is hitting .274 and has 88 RBI.  His 24 homers this season are six more than he had in 1,415 major league at-bats from 2007-10.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.