Dodgers shortstop putting up big numbers despite missing plenty of action
When the two leagues completed the first half of the 1950 season, Boston's Ted Williams was leading the American League in runs scored, slugging percentage and OPS, he was tied for first in homers, ranked second in on-base percentage, and he was third in doubles and RBIs (behind two teammates).
Unfortunately for the Red Sox and Williams, his left arm suffered an "impacted fracture of the radius" during a collision with the wall in that year's Midsummer Classic, and Williams wouldn't resume his season until Sept 7.
Despite playing in only 89 games, Williams still finished the year tied for sixth in the AL in home runs (with 28) and finished 13th in RBIs (with 97), and his rate stat slash line -- although a little low with the batting average (.317) -- offered a typically robust .452 on-base percentage and .647 slugging mark.
With a 1.099 OPS in this abbreviated season, Williams stands just a little bit taller than Hanley Ramirez in 2013, another player who has packed a whole lot of offense into a truncated season.
Short season, big power
Only three players (Ted Williams twice) have had a higher OPS than Hanley Ramirez during a year in which they hit at least 20 homers with at least 57 RBIs in fewer than 100 games.
Led by Ramirez's two homers and four RBIs, the Dodgers defeated the D-backs, 7-6, on Thursday to clinch the National League West. Ramirez has 20 home runs and 57 RBIs in 81 games this season.
With nine games left in the Dodgers' season, Ramirez obviously will not hit the 100-game mark. The shortstop will be one of 34 players in history (or maybe 35, depending on how much playing time Evan Gattis gets with the Braves the rest of this year) to hit at least 20 home runs and drive in at least 57 runs while playing in fewer than 100 games in a season.
Of this group, Ramirez's current 1.059 OPS would be the fifth highest. A look at the current top five, along with Ramirez:
With Ramirez in the starting lineup, the Dodgers (88-65 overall) have gone 49-24. L.A. has gone 58-23 since the start of play on June 22 to clinch its 12th NL West title, and first since 2009. The 58-23 record is 8 1/2 games better than any other team in the Majors in that span.
Cole on fire The Pirates defeated the Padres 10-1, with rookie Gerrit Cole picking up his ninth win and recording his first double-digit strikeout game.
With 12 K's, Cole became the third Pirates pitcher since 1916 to have a 12-strikeout effort within his first 18 games. In his fourth game on June 26, 1975, John Candelaria fanned 13 in a five-hit, complete-game win. On Aug. 20, 1983, Jose DeLeon -- in his seventh appearance -- struck out 13 in a two-hit shutout.
In Cole's past three starts -- each following a Pirates loss -- he has gone 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 28 K's in 20 innings.
Tigers hurlers racking up K's The Tigers' Doug Fister struck out 10 in 7 2/3 innings in a 5-4 win over the Mariners. With the effort, the Tigers have 18 games this season in which their starter has notched at least 10 K's. For AL teams since 1916, those 18 tie the 2013 Tigers with the 1967 Indians for the ninth most.
Through 153 team games, Detroit's pitching staff has accumulated 1,323 strikeouts. The 2003 Cubs -- who hold the MLB record with 1,404 K's -- had 1,321 through 153 games.
Ubaldo back in ace form In the Indians' 2-1 win over the Astros, Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one run in seven innings and struck out nine. Since the All-Star break, Jimenez's 1.77 ERA is the second lowest among pitchers with at least 10 starts. Only Miami's Jose Fernandez -- with a 1.32 -- sits lower. Since the beginning of August, Jimenez has tallied 68 strikeouts -- tied with Anibal Sanchez for the third most in the Majors for this stretch. Jimenez and Sanchez trail Yu Darvish (88) and Cliff Lee (70).
Dickerson doubles his triples pleasure In the Rockies' 7-6 win over the Cardinals, Corey Dickerson tripled in the game-winning run. The 15th-inning walk-off hit was Dickerson's second triple of the game, following one in the eighth that drove in a run to tie the game at 5-5.
Before Dickerson's game-winner, there hadn't been a walk-off triple in the 15th inning (or later) in the big leagues since Aug. 10, 1993, when the Marlins' Rob Natal delivered one in the bottom of the 15th. Natal's three-base hit scored Walt Weiss -- the Rockies' current manager.
Dickerson is the only player in the past 40 seasons to have -- in the eighth inning or later -- a game-tying and game-ending triple in the same contest.
Helton still clutch for Rox Also in the Rockies' win over the Cardinals, Todd Helton tied the game at 6-6 with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. Helton's home run marked the 19th time in his career he had hit a long ball in the ninth inning or later to either tie the game or put his team ahead (includes game-ending home runs).
Helton has three this season, tying Jay Bruce for the fourth most. Those two are behind Paul Goldschmidt (five), Jose Bautista (four) and Josh Hamilton (four). As for the 19 in his career, Helton's total stands tied for the 15th most in the past 40 seasons.
Here and there • Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner fanned 10 in seven innings of one-run ball and improved to 13-9 as the Giants defeated the Mets, 2-1. Bumgarner has 677 career strikeouts. Among all left-handers since 1893, through their age-23 season, that total is fifth highest behind tallies from Frank Tanana (937), Sam McDowell (865), Fernando Valenzuela (824) and Clayton Kershaw (745). Among all pitchers since 1893 with at least 500 K's through their age-23 season (there are 42 of them), Bumgarner's 3.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the second highest behind Mark Prior's 3.90.
• In the Nationals' 3-2 win over the Marlins, Bryce Harper had a pair of singles and a home run, his 20th of the year. With it, Harper joins Tony Conigliaro as the only players in history to hit at least 20 in both their age-19 and age-20 seasons.
• John Lackey threw a two-hitter and improved to 10-12 on the season as the Red Sox defeated the Orioles, 3-1, and clinched a postseason berth. Lackey's gem gave him his first complete-game victory since Sept. 10, 2009, and lowered his WHIP to what would be a career-best 1.156. Among Red Sox pitchers over the past 10 seasons, only Josh Beckett (in '07 and '11) and Curt Schilling (in '04) have finished a season with a lower WHIP.