On this Mothers’ Day weekend, fans, here are some random thoughts and notes on this past week in baseball:
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, all of 21 years old, collected his fourth career game with 3-hits, 3-RBIs, 3-runs scored this past week. That accomplishment before age 23 puts him in some rare company with great Red Sox like Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr, but also other Hall of Fame names like Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, and Al Kaline, who actually had 6 such games before he turned 23. Jimmie Foxx, also a Hall of Famer and great Red Sox player collected 6 such games, too, though, he managed the feat in his earlier years with the Philadelphia Athletics.
Beyond the four such games by Williams and Doerr, other Red Sox with 3-hit, 3-RBI, 3-runs scored games before the age of 23 are Tony Conigliaro (three such games), Carl Yastrzemski, Gene Stephens, and Gary Geiger (each with two), and Jim Taybor, Phil Plantier, Joe Lahoud, Tony Horton, and Ellis Burks (each with one).
- The Cubs, on a monstrous tear to start the season, were the first club to reach the 20-game win milestone in 2016, a feat the Red Sox pulled off in the World Championship season of 2013. Of the previous 25 clubs to reach or tie for 20 wins first in a season since 1995, only two have won the World Series that season, the 2013 Sox and the 2005 White Sox.
- We’re all thrilled with the start the Red Sox are off to in 2016, but who could have imagined the pace David Ortiz is on? Through the Sox first 28 games, Papi is batting .319. Only in 2013 (.487) and 2012 (.380) has he gotten off to a better AVG. This season Ortiz has 30 hits (his most through 28 games since 34 in 2007), 23 RBI (his most since 24 in 2006), and of course, that one stolen base.
- The end to Friday night’s Red Sox game against the Yankees was bizarre. Not in many years of following baseball do I remember a home plate official so blatantly retaliating against a batter as we saw 17-year veteran umpire Ron Kulpa do to David Ortiz. As Jerry Remy tweeted, after the game,
That call reminded me of the old days when some umps would screw you intentionally. Doesn't happen as much today but did last night.
— Jerry Remy (RemDawg) (@Jerry_Remy) May 7, 2016
Surely if MLB is serious about game integrity, the reason they point to again and again as a justification for long umpire play reviews, they need to have the courage to admonish their officials for bad calls. None of this is to say the Sox should have won Friday. The Red Sox had ample opportunities in that game and failed to convert them into runs.
- It’s still early, but MLB clubs are so far averaging 4.3 runs per game so far this season, the most since the full-season rate of 4.36 in 2012. Through last Thursday, National League clubs are averaging 4.47 runs per game, compared to 4.01 for American League teams. The NL has not outscored the AL in a single season since 1974, when they managed 4.15 runs per game compared to 4.10 in the AL. Of the eight highest scoring teams this season, six are in the NL. Last season six of the top eight scoring teams in the Majors were in the AL. The Red Sox entered the weekend averaging 5.25 runs per game, the most in the AL and fourth most in baseball.
- Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist, who has already collected 4 relief wins through 28 games this season, has 11 such wins over the past two seasons, the most in baseball. During that same period of time the nearest Red Sox pitcher is Matt Barnes with 5 wins, including one he picked up this past Thursday against the White Sox.
- Already two losses into the weekend series against the Yankees and the Red Sox have to be thankful they won’t face Masahiro Tanaka for the series final Sunday night. Tanaka made his 50th MLB start this past week in Baltimore going 8.0 IP with five hits and a walk allowed but no runs and striking out seven for 315 career SO, the most of any Yankees pitcher through his first 50 games. With a 26-12 career record, Tanaka is one of just six pitchers since 1913, including Roger Clemens, with 25+ wins and 300+ strikeouts through 50 MLB appearances.
- Met pitcher and one-time Red Sox Bartolo Colon, 16 days from his 43rd birthday, hit a home run on Saturday, the first of his career and, in so doing, became the oldest player ever to hit his first round tripper. Colon, officially the oldest player in the Majors this season, is also 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA this season in 7 appearances (6 starts) with New York. This season his 8.250 strikeout-to-walks ratio is 2nd best in the National League behind only Clayton Kershaw.
- Speaking of one-time, older Red Sox, John Lackey, himself 37 years old, is off to a 4-1, 4.02 ERA start with the Cubs. After leaving Boston Lackey was 16-13 with a 3.10 ERA in 43 starts over two seasons with the Cardinals. His teammate, one-time Sox ace Jon Lester, a youngish 32, is 3-1, 1.58 ERA in 6 starts of 2016. Out in Oakland, another former Sox pitcher, Rich Hill, has quickly whittled down a high ERA after a rough start to the season and is now 4-3, 2.39 ERA after 7 starts. Hill, who just turned 36, hasn’t allowed more than two runs in his last four starts, a combined 24.2 IP.