Two days after notching his 100th RBI of the year, Rockies’ slugger Charlie Blackmon did it again. This time, his two-run shot off of the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu cemented his spot in the history books, lifting him to 102 RBI for the most single-season RBI by any major-league leadoff hitter.
Blackmon came through for the club in the second inning, tagging a 3-2 changeup from Ryu and postmarking it an estimated 454 feet into the second deck of the right field bleachers in Coors Field:
Technically, the 31-year-old centerfielder only needed 101 RBI to eclipse the standing record, which was established by Darin Erstad with the 2000 Angels.
The blast capped a five-run lead for the Rockies, building on a pair of first-inning homers by Nolan Arenado and Mark Reynolds. Justin Turner put an end to the shutout with an RBI single in the third, but the Dodgers still trail the Rockies 7-1 in the fifth after Trevor Story clubbed a two-RBI home run of his own. The Rockies will need a win — and a Brewers’ loss — to clinch a wild card berth.
Postseason or no postseason, it’s been a career year for Blackmon. He entered Friday with a .328/.598/.995 batting line, including 36 home runs and a career-best 208 hits and 14 triples.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.