By Sam McPherson
They say records are made to be broken, although some marks last longer than others for a reason: They’re really hard to do! We saw evidence of this in Major League Baseball last week, so in case you were too busy preparing for the solar eclipse, here’s what you missed.
Joey Votto almost matches Ted Williams’ record for reaching base twice in 21 consecutive games
Barry Bonds couldn’t do it in 2004. Pete Rose couldn’t do it in 1979. Add the Cincinnati Reds first baseman in 2017 to the list now. Last Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs, Votto reached the 20-game mark in his attempt to tie and/or surpass the Splendid Splinter’s all-time record for getting on base twice in consecutive games.
However, on Wednesday at Wrigley Field, Votto only managed one hit in four plate appearances to see his streak come to end—just like Bonds and Rose. Considering Williams set this mark back in 1948, it has to be considered one of the greatest records to be set in the modern era of MLB competition.
Giancarlo Stanton homers in six straight games
The record for consecutive games with a home run is eight, set by three different players: Pittsburgh’s Dale Long (1956), New York Yankees’ Don Mattingly (1987) and Seattle’s Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993). Mattingly currently manages the Miami Marlins, and he had a front-row seat last week as his right fielder, Giancarlo Stanton, made a run at the record.
In his attempt at seven straight games last Wednesday at home against the San Francisco Giants, Stanton managed two hits in an 8-1 win for the Marlins—but he didn’t leave the yard. By Sunday, however, the Marlins slugger found his HR stroke again, hitting No. 45 on the year in road win against the New York Mets.
Los Angeles Dodgers become the first team since 2004 to reach 50 games over .500 in the regular season
Fans of all four major professional sports leagues in North American know that regular-season wins don’t always translate to postseason championships. However, it’s still fun to marvel at what some teams do accomplish during the course of a season. The Dodgers have been reaching amazing heights this year, and they did something special again last week.
With Tuesday’s 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox, the Dodgers matched the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals—who didn’t win the World Series, by the way—for regular-season success. Los Angeles is on pace for 116 wins this year, which would tie the 2001 Seattle Mariners and the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most wins in an MLB season ever. Neither of those teams won it all, either.
Baltimore’s Manny Machado busts out in a big way on Friday night against the Angels
The Orioles third baseman was an All-Star pick in 2013, 2015 and 2016. However, Machado hit just .230 before the break this year, and he didn’t make the American League roster for the Midsummer Classic. Machado has been on a tear since then, hitting .333 with eight HRs and 34 RBI in the 37 games of the second half to help Baltimore get back into the AL wild-card chase.
This walk-off, grand slam to beat Los Angeles at Camden Yards completed a three-HR, seven-RBI effort for the Orioles star, and it certainly will be a night he remembers for the rest of his career. Machado is just 25 years old, and MLB fans everywhere will be hearing his name for a long time.
More National League aces go on the disabled list
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs starter Jon Lester, and Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer all went on the disabled list last week—continuing a crazy trend that has seen a plethora of NL aces injured this season. The San Francisco Giants lost 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner earlier this year to a random injury, while the Dodgers already have Clayton Kershaw on the DL, and the Nats already had Stephen Strasburg out as well although he has returned now to the active roster.
What’s with all the injuries? For Los Angeles and Washington, each with double-digit leads in their respective divisions, caution is the key word as the two teams can afford to rest their players in anticipation of reaching October baseball. However, for the defending champions—stuck in a crazy-close division battle with multiple teams—injuries like this could derail postseason hopes. Only time will tell.