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[Posted early Wed. a.m.]
Baseball Quiz: One of my favorite records in baseball is 100 extra base hits in a season. It’s only been accomplished 15 times, by 12 different players. Name the only three to do it twice. [Hint: Two played in the 1920s/30s, one in the 2000s.] Answer below.
--The Yankees have serious injury issues. Slugger Aaron Judge has now missed 24 games, over which time the Yanks are 14-10, with a wrist injury. Judge still can’t swing a bat, after it was initially thought he might miss just three weeks. Judge said Sunday “It’s still fractured.... It takes about four to six weeks for stuff like that to heal so wait for that six weeks.”
So up to another three weeks, which takes us into mid-September.
Catcher Gary Sanchez, who has been disabled since July 24, a few days before Judge broke his wrist, is now playing rehab games, at least, having hit the DL with a groin strain.
But then the Yankees had to place shortstop Didi Gregorius on the disabled list Tuesday for a bruised heel, suffered in Sunday’s game, so he’s out at least ten days, retroactive to Monday. New York can ill afford to lose him for much longer than two weeks. Remember, they still have six games against the A’s and Mariners, Sept. 3-9, and it might be critical, re the wild card race, to have Didi back for that.
But wait...there’s more! Last night, in the Yanks 2-1 win over the Marlins, closer Aroldis Chapman came in for the bottom of the 12th, New York having just taken the lead in the top of the frame, and Chapman went out after six pitches, due to pain in his balky left knee. Status unknown. As I go to post.
Wild card standings...
Yanks 79-46... +3.5
A’s 76-50... --
Astros 76-50... --
Mariners 72-55... 4.5
Mariners 72-55... 4.5
--Boston is still on track for 113-114 wins despite losses in its last three, but it’s going to be tough to equal the all-time record of 116 by the 2001 Mariners and 1906 Cubs, both of whom lost the World Series.
What shocked me, though, in reading a story on the 116 mark is the fact the Red Sox have won 100 games just three times in their history (1946, 1915, 1912).
I would have lost some coin at the bar if I was asked whether the Red Sox won 100 games in one of their three World Series campaigns...2004, 2007, 2013...thinking surely one of them they had.
The respective win totals are 98, 96 and 97.
--The Dodgers continue to struggle mightily, as closer Kenley Jansen made his return from the disabled list due to a heart issue, entering a tie game in the ninth against the Cardinals, Monday, and promptly giving up home runs to the first two batters he faced, Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter (his league-leading 34th), Los Angeles falling 5-3 at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers then lost last night to the Cards, 5-2.
--The Washington Nationals, 7 ½ back in the NL East, 6 back in the wild card, officially waved the white flag on the season, Tuesday, in shipping first baseman/outfielder Matt Adams to the Cardinals for cash, and second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Cubs for a Class-A player and another to be named later (which might be a significant prospect). Great moves for St. Louis and Chicago.
But Nationals fans no doubt are in a state of depression. The team could have gotten far more for both at the trade deadline, but Washington still harbored playoff hopes then.
And then there’s free-agent-to-be Bryce Harper, who was claimed off waivers by reportedly the Dodgers this week, but no deal materialized. Harper will walk at season end and, shockingly, the Nats will have received nothing for him, though Harper could still be dealt in the next few days.
--Cool moment on Monday, as Oakland slugger Khris Davis, who has flown very much under the radar for a third season, homered in a 9-0 win over the Rangers, after Davis had Anthony Slocumb, a 10-year-old in remission from a rare cancer, sign his jersey; Slocumb a guest of the A’s as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Davis then wore the signed jersey throughout the game.
“I wanted to rock that. I wanted him to know that I was thinking about him,” Davis said. “He just told me I was his favorite and he was here to watch me play.”
So wearing that jersey, Davis crushed a home run (438 feet) in the third inning off Bartolo Colon.
“I thought about (Slocumb) around the bases. There’s not a better feeling than hitting a home run, so hopefully he got some excitement and joy from watching that,” Davis said. “They’re really the stars. ...He was excited. I could tell that he was just happy to be here and wanted to have some fun. It was amazing, the look on his face.”
Slocumb told the Associated Press of the pregame meeting, “I was down there with the other kids and then two other players came down and then (Davis) came down.”
“So I was like, ‘You’re my favorite player’ and he was like, ‘Cool.’ I said, ‘Can you sign my jersey?’ and then he said, ‘Sure, do you want to sign mine, too?’ And I was like, ‘Sure,’ so we basically signed each other’s jerseys. That’s what happened.”
So Khris Davis goes in the December file for all the right reasons.
But when I said Davis has been flying under the radar, obviously the reason for this is because he’s in Oakland.
So look at these numbers.
2016: 42 HR 102 RBI
2017: 43 – 110
2018: 38 – 102 (thru Tuesday)...Davis homered again last night in Oakland’s 6-0 win over the Rangers.
But in the ‘this is kind of remarkable’ category, Davis hit exactly .247 each of 2015, 2016, 2017. He’s at .263 this season.
--A Mickey Mantle jersey from the 1964 World Series has been sold at auction for $1.32 million. It was the jersey Mantle wore when he homered for the Yankees in Games 6 and 7 at the St. Louis Cardinals to give him 18 for his career in the Fall Classic, a World Series record that still stands.
The winning bid shattered the previous mark for a Mantle jersey - $486,000 last year for a road jersey from his final season in 1968.
A Ruth jersey from 1920 has the record at $4.415 million in an auction in 2012.
Two brothers sold a 1952 Mickey Mantle card for $810,000 as part of the Heritage Auctions’ Summer Sports Collectibles offerings.
AP Preseason Poll ...the one that matters, until the College Football Playoff rankings start up around Week 8.
1. Alabama (42)
2. Clemson (18)
4. Wisconsin (1)
5. Ohio State
10. Penn State
11. Michigan State
12. Notre Dame
The Coaches poll, released a few weeks ago, has the same top ten, only shuffled a bit.
The AP poll is important because it is the oldest, and because it’s about preconceived notions for teams, setting the bar on expectations.
And the reason why that’s important is that in the history of the College Football Playoff, the lowest-ranked team in the preseason AP Top 25 to reach the playoff was Oklahoma in 2015. It began the season at No. 19. Last season, Georgia started the year at No. 15 before making its climb.
For example, UCF was unranked in last year’s preseason poll, and it took an undefeated, 13-0, season to finish No. 6 in the AP. But in the CFP Rankings that determined the playoffs, [Clemson vs. Alabama; Oklahoma vs. Georgia] UCF finished No. 12 in the last one.
Had UCF been preseason AP No. 18 or so, I’m guessing we have a much different story by year end.
--Today, Wednesday, is to be the big one for Ohio State trustees, who are holding a meeting to talk about the future of coach Urban Meyer as the university seeks to move past a scandal that has consumed the football program for nearly a month.
Meyer has been on leave during an investigation into his handling of former assistant coach Zach Smith over domestic-abuse allegations. President Michael V. Drake will have the final say.
The Columbus Post Dispatch, citing two anonymous sources, reports that the likely outcome will be a suspension for Meyer, possibly with his two weeks on leave counting as time served.
You could easily suspend him for the first two games, which are against Oregon State and Rutgers. More appropriately, if he’s not dismissed outright, a suspension should really be for three games, but that would cover the TCU game, the Horned Frogs preseason AP No. 16. That would show some guts on the part of the school administration at least.
And now we wait....
--Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh announced junior Shea Patterson will start at quarterback in the Sept. 1 opener at Notre Dame.
--Minnesota tabbed true freshman walk-on Zack Annexstad as its starting QB...rather startling, without looking up any details on the story.
--No. 4 AP preseason Wisconsin suspended wide receiver Quintez Cephus after he was charged with felony sexual assault. This guy was a big contributor last season; 30 receptions, 16.7 avg., 6 TDs.
--It’s all about the looming disaster...the start of regular-season play and the new helmet rule. I haven’t watched too much of the exhibition season, but I know of all the controversies, already, and penalizing offensive and defensive players for lowering their head to initiate contact with the helmet to any part of an opposing player’s body, a rule designed to make the game safer. But it’s how it’s enforced by officials that is generating controversy and if the rule isn’t clarified, as much as possible, by the opener, droves of fans will walk away from the sport out of frustration...while player/coach protests will explode.
We’re looking at the rule having an impact on game results and when fans see that, they’ll go in unison, “This is bulls---. Why watch?”
For starters, coaches aren’t getting good explanations on early controversial calls in the exhibition games when they ask for one from league officials.
The NFL is making a new video, prepared by Al Riveron, the league’s vice president of officials, that will serve as an updated tutorial in time for the regular-season openers.
One source told ESPN that the NFL is looking at a “probable three-year” adjustment to the new emphasis that will change behavior with consistent application. But we know the application won’t be consistent, like every other controversial call in the game...pass interference, catch rule...
As for the new roughing the passer rule, which prohibits a lineman from landing on a quarterback with his full weight, that should be worked out satisfactorily.
--It seems the Jets are strongly leaning towards Sam Darnold to be the opening game starter. GM Mike Maccagnan said on WFAN’s Boomer and Gio Show that Darnold was “unflappable,” which is high praise for a rookie.
“Of all the young quarterbacks I’ve been around, I’ve been exceptionally impressed by Sam. Sam probably is at the top of that list.”
Yeah, he’s gotta be startin’ the opener.
Which means that Teddy Bridgewater, who has showed the league that he is healthy, with two very strong performances in the exhibition season, is available...at the right price. A great situation for the Jets to be in.
If the team isn’t blown away by any offer now, they can just wait a few more weeks as other clubs see their QBs go down to injury.
--The Washington Redskins signed seven-time Pro Bowler running back Adrian Peterson to a one-year deal. Peterson is 33 and rushed for 529 yards last season, splitting time with Arizona and New Orleans, but it was only good for a 3.4 yard average.
The Redskins are desperate for backs after a number of injuries to the likes of second-round pick, Derrius Guice, Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall.
--Last time I wrote about Denver Broncos GM John Elway and his comment on Colin Kaepernick and a supposed contract offer that the quarterback turned down.
“I don’t know if I’ll be legally able to say this,” prefaced Elway, before shutting down any Kaepernick-to-the-Broncos chatter.
Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, called out Elway for violating a gag order concerning a deposition given in the collusion case against the NFL.
“Clearly he violated the protective order that the NFL has been wielding like a club at me,’ the celebrity lawyer said. “We’ll deal with that in the hearing.”
According to Geragos, Kaepernick is still in shape and awaiting a phone call from an interested team that at this point is simply not coming.
--U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk has two weeks, the first two FedExCup events, to make three of his four captain’s pick selections for the squad. It is thought Tiger and Phil are in. Then it’s Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele for the other two spots.
This week’s event, the Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, is followed by the Dell Technologies Championship in Newton, Mass. It’s going to be interesting. Who wants it most?
As for Euro captain Thomas Bjorn, his team currently has: Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren and Thorbjorn Olesen.
Olesen, Noren, Rahm, Fleetwood and Hatton are all rookies, and Darren Clarke lost badly with six rookies at Hazeltine two years ago. So this isn’t good news for Eddie Pepperell and Russell Knox.
Which means Bjorn could choose among Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera Bello...all on the outside looking in.
I’d go with Poulter, Stenson, Pieters and Cabrera Bello. Just not sure on Casey’s toughness, though Casey has done everything possible to please Bjorn, starting with rejoining the European Tour to enhance his chances.
Which means it’s really between Pieters and Cabrera Bello. I forgot Pieter was 4-1 at Hazeltine. Cabrera Bello went 2-0-1.
--Normally I couldn’t care less about non-Grand Slam tennis events, but this past weekend in Cincinnati, we had what could be a significant final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the 31-year-old Serb beating Federer 6-4 6-4 in their U.S. Open tune-up.
Djokovic, the Wimbledon champion, had lost the Cincinnati final to Federer on three previous occasions.
Federer was trying to level the rivals’ head-to-head record at 23-23.
So on to Flushing Meadows...play starts Monday.
--IndyCar driver Robert Wickens, who was seriously injured in a horrific multicar crash Sunday at Pocono Raceway, underwent surgery Monday to stabilize a fracture related to a spinal cord injury he suffered.
“Titanium rod and screws were placed successfully” in his spine during the procedure at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, PA, Wickens’ team announced. However, officials added that “the severity of the spinal cord injury is indeterminate at this time.” Wickens, 29, also sustained fractures of his lower legs and right forearm and is in stable condition. Pray for the guy.
--A South Carolina woman trying to protect her dog was killed by an alligator at a private resort, Sea Pines, on Hilton Head Island Monday.
I don’t need give her a name, but the 45-year-old was walking the dog along a residential area, with a large pond, when the gator attacked the dog, she tried to protect it, and the 8-foot alligator attacked her and dragged her under the pond. The alligator was later found and killed, said David Lucas, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
“She was walking the dog near the lagoon and the alligator came out of the water and tried to get the dog,” Lucas said. “The lady tried to rescue the dog and a maintenance worker ran over to help.”
The alligator latched onto the dog’s leash and engaged in a tug of war with the woman, authorities said. The dog was unharmed in the attack.
Since 1976, there have only been about 20 attacks on people in South Carolina, one prior fatality.
But in June, a woman in Florida was killed by an alligator while walking her dogs near a lake.
There have been other gators spotted at Sea Pines, but management quickly removes them.
I know I’ve seen some monster alligators at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, north of Hilton Head, but I’m normally playing in December, and if there’s a chill in the air, you don’t see them. If it’s warm, though, they are there...and you never carelessly go into the brush for a lost ball.
Top 3 songs for the week 8/22/64: #1 “Where Did Our Love Go” (The Supremes) #2 “Everybody Loves Somebody” (Dean Martin) #3 “A Hard Day’s Night” (The Beatles)...and...#4 “Under The Boardwalk” (The Drifters) #5 “The House Of The Rising Sun” (The Animals) #6 “C’mon And Swim” (Bobby Freeman) #7 “Because” (The Dave Clark Five) #8 “Walk-Don’t Run ‘64” (The Ventures) #9 “Wishin’ And Hopin’” (Dusty Springfield...super...) #10 “How Do You Do It?” (Gerry and The Pacemakers...pretty darn good week...the great thing about the Sixties was how a tune like Dean Martin’s could hit #1...as it did the week before...in the midst of the British Invasion...)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Babe Ruth has the single-season mark with 119 extra base hits (44 2B, 16 3B, 59 HR in 1921). Lou Gehrig is next at 117 (52-18-47 in 1927).
100 XBHs has been accomplished just 15 times, with Gehrig, Chuck Klein, and Todd Helton doing it twice.
Hall of Famer Chuck Klein did the vast majority of his damage in a terrific five-year streak while with the Phillies, 1929-33. Klein had 200 hits each year during this period, with 120+ RBIs, while batting .356, .386, .337, .348, .368 (leading the league in ’33 as part of a triple crown season, 28-120).
But after 1933 and the triple crown, the Phillies traded the 28-year-old Klein to the Cubs for two veterans on their way out, and a minor leaguer who never made it to the majors, plus $65,000.
After two so-so seasons with the Cubs, Klein was sent back to Philadelphia and the cozy confines of the Baker Bowl. That year, 1936, he had one final burst of glory, a four-homer game, and he did it in Pittsburgh, Forbes Field. He finished that season with 25 home runs and 104 RBIs, but never came close to equaling those numbers again.
While the little bandbox in Philadelphia aided Klein and his big five-year run, you can say the same thing about Todd Helton and playing in Coors Field, where he had back-to-back 100 XBH seasons in 2000 and 2001. [Long before they started tinkering with the baseballs there, which have helped hold down the offensive numbers some, let alone drug testing.]
Back to Klein, he finished his career with 300 homers, 1,201 RBIs, and a .320 batting average.
After baseball, Klein ran a bar in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, but he suffered from the same vice that eventually did in Jimmie Foxx, the bottle, and Klein died in 1958 at the age of 53 of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Speaking of Todd Helton, his two monster years we had the following splits.
2000...59 2B, 2 3B, 42 HR...103 XBH
Home 27 HR – 88 RBI, .391 BA
Away 15-59, .353
Home 27-84, .384
Away 22-62, .286
In 1930, Chuck Klein had 40 homers, 170 RBIs, and hit .386...59 2B, 8 3B, 40 HR...107 XBH.
But check out his home / away splits.
Home 26-109, .437 in 77 games! 109 RBIs!
Away 14-61, .332
Next Bar Chat, Monday.