Manny Machado is on pace for the most doubles of all time

24 Comments

Manny Machado broke up Scott Kazmir’s no-hitter last night by smacking his 36th double of the season. Not only does that lead MLB by a wide margin–no one else has more than 26–it puts the 20-year-old third baseman on pace to break the all-time record.

Earl Webb is the record-holder with 67 doubles in 1931 and Machado is currently on pace for 74 doubles. Looking at things another way, Baltimore has played 79 games and here’s the all-time doubles leaderboard through 79 team games:

Edgar Martinez     1996     39
Earl Webb          1931     38
Paul Waner         1932     37
MANNY MACHADO      2013     36
George Burns       1926     36

Edgar Martinez and three guys from the 1920s and 1930s is pretty good company. Machado is two doubles behind where Webb was in 1931 and it’s worth noting that teams only played 154 games per season back then.

And just to show how incredible what he’s doing is at Machado’s age, here’s the all-time doubles leaderboard through 79 team games for 20-year-olds:

MANNY MACHADO      2013     36
Ted Williams       1939     27
Alex Rodriguez     1996     25
Vada Pinson        1959     22
Mel Ott            1929     22

Manny Machado is bogarting all the doubles.

(All of these numbers come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com’s indispensable Play Index, which is the single most valuable research tool in baseball.)

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

Getty Images
2 Comments

In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.