Guerrero Triple Crown watch: The chances of him winning it are slim, but the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in Triple Crown territory. He leads the American League in home runs (45) and batting average (.317) and is just 9 RBI behind the leader, Salvador Perez, with 103. Oh, yeah, he also leads the league in runs (116), hits (173), on-base percentage (.406), slugging (.611), OPS (1.017), OPS+ (173) and total bases (333).
This is why I’m just a baseball fan: It’s a good thing I’m not in anyone’s front office. When the Phillies signed starter Zack Wheeler to a deal that will net him as much as $26 million per year, I thought they must be absolutely crazy. He was good with the Mets, disappointing, mostly, but good. Hey, that’s why they’re the experts: Since joining Philadelphia, he is 17-11 with a 2.87 ERA and 146 ERA+ in 40 starts; in 226 1/3 innings, he has struck out 278 batters. He made the All-Star team this season and is leading the league with 225 Ks.
RBI Ramos: Never mind Diamondbacks rookie Henry Ramos’ anemic .222 average over the past week, he is still doing his part. In 5 games, he has 6 RBI and 3 runs scored, with 2 of his 4 hits going for extra bases, including his first career home run off Seattle’s Marco Gonzales on September 10. The 29-year-old was excellent at Triple-A Reno this year, posting a .371/.439/.582 line with 12 home runs and 57 RBI in 75 games. The 47-99 Diamondbacks have had little to be excited about this year. Ramos gives them something.
Dug out a few triples: Giants outfielder Steven Duggar has been a helpful member of the club this year, hitting .267 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI in 247 at-bats. In the past couple weeks, he hasn’t done anything too exciting, except manage a trio of triples, including 2 in one game. That’s only been done five times this season; in 2019, there were eleven occurrences. It’s not a feat for superstars, either. The other names with a couple three-baggers in a game this season include Edmundo Sosa, Brandon Marsh, Victor Reyes and Luis Arraez.
A long time coming: Orioles relief pitcher Cole Sulser didn’t make his major league debut until 2019, when he was 29. In that seven-game cup of coffee, he didn’t allow a single run in 7 1/3 innings, while striking out 9 batters. Quite a prelude of things to come. This year, the 2013 25th round draft pick has a 2.98 ERA, 157 ERA+ and 11.1 K/9 IP ratio in 54 games. He is the pillar of Baltimore’s bullpen, with his ERA the only one among the main relievers under 4. Since August 31, his mark is 1.93.
Another one helping the Jays: Blue Jays journeyman relief pitcher Trevor Richards is already with his third big league team this season, having begun the year with Tampa Bay before being traded to Milwaukee, who then sent him to Toronto in July. It looks like he might have finally found a home. Since arriving in Canada, the hurler has made 25 relief appearances, posting a 3.04 ERA and 146 ERA+; in 26 2/3 innings, he has 33 strikeouts and batters have hit .143 against him. Since late August, he has a 1.93 ERA and Toronto is 7-1 in the games in which he’s pitched.
Woe unto us Mets fans: As late as July 9, New York was 5 games up in the National League East, not quite running away with the division, but holding their own. By August 6, they had squandered sole possession of first place, and by August 21, they were 6.5 games back. Sure, star pitcher Jacob DeGrom got hurt, but to collapse so bodaciously requires a team effort. Here’s how some of their formerly excellent players have performed since they fell into second place on August 7. Taijuan Walker: 0-3 W-L, 5.40 ERA, 10 HR in 35 IP; Tylor Megill: 2-4 W-L, 6.47 ERA, 11 HR in 40 1/3 IP; Miguel Castro: 16 G, 4.60 ERA; Trevor May: 17 G, 5.40 ERA, 1 BSV; Jeurys Familia: 2 L, 3 BSV; Dominic Smith: .157 BA, 21 K in 70 AB. Starters, relievers, batsmen … hey, at least they’re all getting in on it.