Today is special for so many reasons. Tenth anniversary of the Varitek-A-Rod brawl and . . . the 50th birthday of the best hitter in at least the last half-century:
Note: on the day of that brawl, Bonds was an over-the-hill 40-year-old ballplayer who was hitting .362/.613/.769. And at that point of the season he was actually underperforming his full-season level of production, which was /362/.609/.812. Glad to see he got his power up over the last two months of the season.
In other news, three players are being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. Two of them were clearly inferior to Bonds and the third — Greg Maddux — may have been depending on whether you’re comparing them against the values of their hitting/pitching peers or whether you’re comparing them to each other (Maddux may have been the Bonds of pitchers for a time, but Bonds was objectively more valuable to the teams he played for). Oh, and at least one of the three managers being inducted into the Hall on Friday had a healthy assist from PED users to achieve what he achieved. The other two almost certainly benefitted as well.
Happy Birthday, Barry!!
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.