Astros outfielder George Springer is on absolute fire. Since April 30 and prior to Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rangers, Springer was batting .381 with five homers and 11 RBI in 51 plate appearances. Of those five homers, two led off the Astros’ half of the first inning.
Springer kept it going on Sunday, belting a leadoff home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning off of Adrian Sampson. That marked Springer’s 29th career leadoff home run and his third in just the last week. In just his sixth season, he is more than halfway to Craig Biggio’s Astros record of 53 leadoff dingers. Springer would hit successfully in his next three trips to the plate as well, adding an RBI single in the second, and two more singles in the fourth and fifth innings. [Update: Springer hit a two-run homer in the sixth to boost the Astros’ lead to 15-3. He’s 5-for-5 on the afternoon.]
Springer has a long way to go if he wants to get the all-time record for leadoff homers. Rickey Henderson owns the title with 81. Biggio and Alfonso Soriano are tied for second with 53 each. More importantly, Springer has made himself an early-season MVP candidate, batting .316/.397/.639 with 14 home runs, 35 RBI, 33 runs scored, and four stolen bases in 184 plate appearances.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been suspended and fined for his actions during Thursday’s doubleheader against the Rays. Boone was ejected from Game 1 after making contact with home plate umpire Brennan Miller and will not be available to manage the Yankees during their series opener against the Rockies on Friday.
The ejection was triggered by a missed strikeout call in the second inning of Game 1, prompting Boone to run out to home plate and deliver one of his lengthier and more bizarre rants of the season. Incensed by Miller’s shaky grasp of the strike zone, Boone repeatedly referred to his players as “f***ing savages” and told the umpire to “tighten this s**t up.”
Exactly when the illicit contact came into play remains unclear, but crew chief Gerry Davis later commented on the situation and said Boone had crossed some boundaries during his tirade. Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch: “You’re not allowed to argue balls and strikes, so yeah. Yes he did [go too far]. That will all be in the report.”
In his own statements to the press, Boone defended his use of the word “savages,” claiming, “I always just want our guys all the time controlling the strike zone and making it hard on the pitchers. That’s something those guys take a lot of pride in as a lineup.” Several Yankees players, including Luke Voit and Aaron Judge, backed up the skipper’s decision to confront Miller as well, though Voit was the only player to explicitly support Boone’s use of the term.