It’s silly to put much stock in pitcher wins, but it’s still noteworthy when someone gets there.
Jered Weaver became the first American League pitcher to reach 20 victories this season with a 7-4 win over the Rangers last night. Most importantly, it helped the Angels keep pace with the Athletics and Orioles, who also won last night. The Angels sit two games behind the Athletics for the second Wild Card spot and three games behind the Orioles with five left to play.
Weaver allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out five and walking a pair. He has won four straight starts and now holds a 2.73 ERA and 141/43 K/BB ratio over 187 2/3 innings in 29 starts this season. Probably not enough to top David Price or Justin Verlander for the American League Cy Young Award, but still pretty fantastic.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.