MLB Notebook: Double E joining the elite
Blue Jays third baseman in hallowed ground with stupendous May
On the morning of Sept. 1, 1927, there wasn't much separation between the two contenders for the American League home run crown, with Babe Ruth's 43 just ahead of Lou Gehrig's 41. And while Gehrig would add another six in the final month-plus -- one game was in October -- while posting a superb 1.071 OPS, Ruth went bonkers, hitting 17 homers to reach the magical total of 60. For good measure, the Bambino drove in 43 runs over that span.
Since then, there have been nine other players to produce at least 16 home runs and 33 RBIs in a monthly split, with the sequence through 2013 including Rudy York (in a pair of Augusts, 1937 and '43 -- one of just two two-timers), Hank Greenberg, Ralph Kiner, Mickey Mantle (in May of 1956, the year he captured the Triple Crown), Greg Vaughn and Sammy Sosa -- in both '98 and 2001.
Entering the 2014 campaign, that had been the list for the entirety of baseball history, with Sosa being the most recent and Mantle being the only one to do it in May. Sosa is no longer the most recent name that appears, and Mantle has some company, thanks to the otherworldly effort we've been witnessing from Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
Double-E doing serious damage
Encarnacion continued his historic May on Thursday, belting two more home runs in Toronto's 8-6 loss to the Royals. Encarnacion's fifth multi-homer game pushed his season total to 18 -- with 16 in May.
Encarnacion's total of 16 May homers:
• Matches Mantle's 1956 total for the most for an AL player in May and ties for second most of any player in May. Barry Bonds hit 17 in May 2001, while Mark McGwire hit 16 in May 1998.
• Sets a new Blue Jays record for most homers in any monthly split, surpassing Jose Bautista's 14 in June 2012.
• Represents the highest total for a player in any monthly split since Barry Bonds' 16 in September/October 2001.
• Makes Encarnacion the 17th player to hit at least 16 home runs in a month (including March/April and September/October).
Encarnacion now has 22 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, and a .789 slugging percentage in May. The 22 extra-base hits are the most for a Toronto player in May, and he is two shy of the team record for the most in any monthly split. Carlos Delgado had 24 in July of 2000.
Miggy keeps mashing
The Tigers defeated the Athletics, 5-4, getting two RBIs from Miguel Cabrera. That gave the two-time defending AL MVP 1,306 RBIs for his career, which includes 330 career multi-RBI games.
Dating back to 1914, Cabrera's 330 games with at least two RBIs are the 10th most for any player by his 32nd birthday. Note that Cabrera doesn't turn 32 until April 2015, so he has the rest of the season to move up this particular chart. The next four players ahead of him, in ascending order: Hank Aaron (334), Juan Gonzalez (336), Al Simmons (341) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (348);
Cabrera's 1,306 RBIs are seventh most in history for a player through his age-31 season, with the Tigers superstar now having one more RBI than Aaron at that age. Cabrera is 23 RBIs shy of matching Albert Pujols for sixth most.
Cabrera continues to shadow Aaron in so many respects. Through 31 years and 41 days old, Aaron had 2,085 hits to Cabrera's 2,058. Cabrera has him in extra-base hits (817 to 796) and home runs (373 to 366). Their slash lines are eerily similar, .320/.376/.567 for Aaron compared to .321/.398/.567 for Cabrera.
Aaron was 31 years and 41 days old in the offseason between 1964 and '65, so his age-31 season was played in '65. He'd drive in 89 runs that season to bring his total to 1,305.
Boston sweeps the Braves
Down 3-1 as they headed into the bottom of the eighth, the Red Sox rallied for two in the eighth and then secured a 4-3 victory in the ninth. The win gave the Red Sox a four-game winning streak.
Over the past 10 seasons combined, the Red Sox have scored the second-most runs in the Majors in innings 7-9, with their 2,256 behind only the Yankees' 2,331. It shouldn't be surprising these two teams are also first and second in the Majors in overall runs scored since 2005.
During this span, the Red Sox rank third in batting behind the Cardinals and Yankees, who are tied for first. Boston is tied for first with the Yankees in on-base percentage, and it is second in slugging.
Panda pummeling opponents
In a 6-5 victory over the Cardinals, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval went deep, and he has now driven in at least one run in nine straight games.
Sandoval is the first San Francisco player with a nine-game RBI streak since Bonds had an RBI in nine consecutive games in September 2000. Jeff Kent is the most recent Giant to produce a streak of more than nine games, with a 10-game run in June 2000. Since 1916, the other Giants with 10-game RBI streaks are Mel Ott (11 in 1929), High Pockets Kelly (10 in 1921), Ott (10 in 1928) and Matt Williams (10 in 1991).
Collmenter collars Reds
Right-hander Josh Collmenter threw a three-hit shutout in the D-backs' 4-0 win over the Reds. With no walks, five strikeouts and three double plays turned behind him, Collmenter faced the minimum 27 batters.
Collmenter is one of eight pitchers since 1914 to throw a nine-inning complete game and face the minimum 27 while allowing at least three hits and no walks:
• Four hits: Eppa Rixey (1916), John Candelaria (1982)
• Three hits: Hod Eller (1919), Walter Johnson (1921), Dick Kelley (1966), Mike Grace (1997), Roy Oswalt (2008), Josh Collmenter (2014)
Puig an OPS powerhouse
In the Dodgers' 6-3 loss to the Pirates, right fielder Yasiel Puig collected a pair of doubles and is now slashing .410/.508/.770 in 120 May plate appearances.
A .400/.500/.700 line with at least 100 plate appearances in a monthly split has been produced 112 times since 1914, most recently by Andrew McCutchen in July 2012. Two Dodgers appear on this list: Babe Herman (.449/.504/.780) in July 1929 and Manny Ramirez (.415/.508/.736) in August 2008;
Puig owns a 1.278 on-base plus slugging percentage in May. Thirty-two players since 1914 have concluded a May with at least 100 plate appearances and an OPS that high, with the most recent the Twins' Joe Mauer in 2009.
Of those 32, only Bing Miller in 1922 did this in his first or second Major League season. (Puig is in his second season.) In May 1922, Miller -- who debuted in 1921 -- posted a 1.370 OPS for the Athletics.