MLB Notebook: Kipnis does it all for Indians
Few second basemen in Major League history have been so productive
From 1901 through '48, 31 second basemen had a season in which they collected at least 37 steals. This same span of seasons also saw eight second basemen drive in at least 124 runs, 22 mash at least 66 extra-base hits and 50 draw as many as 86 walks.
But there had been zero second basemen who reached all four of those numbers in the same season. Then along came Jackie Robinson, who attained all of those heights in 1949 and came away with the NL MVP Award in acknowledgment of this all-around, spectacular, do-a-whole-lot-of-everything season.
Through 2012, no other second baseman had ever matched Robinson's 1949 season and reached 37 steals, 124 RBIs, 66 extra-base hits and 86 walks, and no one is going to do it this year, either.
But in terms of doing it all at second, Jason Kipnis has certainly produced a wonderful -- if not MVP-caliber -- season as he tries to lead his team, as Jackie did, to the postseason.
The Indians got a three-hit, five-RBI night from Ryan Raburn and a two-hit, two-run, two-RBI performance from Kipnis and defeated the White Sox, 14-3.
Kipnis also drew a walk and stole a base in his all-around night. For the season, the he has 53 extra-base hits, 28 stolen bases, 70 walks, and 78 RBIs. Drawing up a list of second basemen who have reached all of these numbers in a season:
• Roberto Alomar: 1993, 1999, 2001
• Joe Morgan: 1973, 1976
• Jackie Robinson: 1949
• Craig Biggio: 1997
• Brian Roberts: 2009
• Jason Kipnis: 2013
As for Raburn, in 74 games this season he has four with at least four RBIs. Those four tie him with three others for the sixth most in the Majors:
• Six four-RBI games: Chris Davis, Mike Napoli, Alfonso Soriano
• Five games: Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion
• Four Games: Ryan Raburn, Hunter Pence, Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder
Middle of order mashing for Braves
The Braves' 3-4-5 hitters (Freddie Freeman, Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson ) each drove in two runs in a 6-1 win over the Marlins. Johnson had a pair of doubles and a single, raising the third baseman's batting average to .330 (second in the NL).
Five qualifying third basemen in Braves history have finished a season with an average of at least .330. Two did it in the 19th century -- Ezra Sutton (.346 in 1884) and Jimmy Collins (.346 in 1897) -- and three followed in the modern era -- Chipper Jones (league-leading .364 in 2008), Jones (.337 in 2007) and Jones again (.330 in 2001).
Since the start of the 2001 season, Braves third basemen own the second highest composite batting average in the Majors (.286), just behind the Mets' hot corner men (.288).
Gattis, meanwhile, has driven in 57 runs in his debut season to go along with his 19 home runs. He's put up these numbers in 291 at-bats. There have been two first-year players to have a season in which they finished that year with less than 400 at-bats but still tallied at least 20 home runs and 60 RBIs.
In 323 at-bats for the Braves in 1978, Bob Horner put up 23 and 63. In 1997, Jose Cruz totaled 26 and 68 in 395 at-bats for the Mariners and Blue Jays.
Freeman hit his 20th home run and raised his RBI total to 98. With two more RBIs, Freeman would become one of 14 different first basemen in the modern era to be in their age-23 or younger season and post a 20-100 year.
Jimmie Foxx and Hal Trosky each had three such seasons, while the rest each had one. Those other 11: Don Hurst, Hank Greenberg, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Joe Pepitone, John Mayberry, Jason Thompson, Don Mattingly, Alvin Davis, Mark McGwire, and Prince Fielder.
Locke-ing it up
Jeff Locke allowed three hits and a run in seven innings, and the Pirates defeated the Cubs, 3-1.
Locke's outing gives the Pirates 20 games this season in which their starter has finished with at least seven innings and three-or-fewer hits allowed. Those 20 lead the Majors, ahead of the Dodgers' 18 and the Nationals' 17.
Pirates starters have held opponents to a .247 batting average, which is tied for fourth lowest in the Majors. (The Reds, Cubs, and Dodgers are lower, and the A's are at .247.) The .247 would be the lowest for Pittsburgh since 1984, when that club's starters also held the opposition to a .247 average. The last season to see Pirates starters produce a mark below .247 was 1968 (.241).
Hitting streaks on the decline
Washington's Denard Span went 1-for-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 23 games. Span's streak is the second longest in the Majors this season, behind Michael Cuddyer's 27-game run.
The only other player to hit in 20 straight games in 2013 is David Freese. If no other players reach 20 games, '13 will feature the fewest number of hitting streaks of at least 20 games since the shortened 1994 season had two. The last full season to see as few as three was '92, when there were three.
Here and there
At age 21 or younger, 70 extra-base hits and 90 walks
• The Angels defeated the Blue Jays 4-3, getting a home run from Kole Calhoun and an RBI double from Mike Trout. The Angels are 8-4 in September, and during this stretch Calhoun has posted the seventh highest OPS (min. 40 plate app.) in the Majors, with a line that sits at .421/.442/.684.
Trout also drew a walk in the Angels victory, giving him 70 extra-base hits and 94 walks. He is the fifth player to have at least 70 and 90 in an age-21 or younger season.
• In the Nationals' 7-2 win over the Mets, Ryan Zimmerman homered and doubled and drove in a pair of runs. Zimmerman, who had amassed 15 home runs in 121 games through the end of August, has now hit eight in 11 games in September. The franchise record for a September/October is 13, by Vladimir Guerrero in 2000. With his eight, Zimmerman is already tied with Gary Carter (1977), Larry Parrish ('79) and Zimmerman, himself, (2012) for the eighth most in this month.
• Right-hander A.J. Griffin surrendered two hits and a run in seven sparkling innings, and he improved to 14-9, as the Athletics defeated the Twins, 8-2. Griffin has 21 wins through his first 45 games. That total for all A's players since 1916 is the fourth highest. Tim Hudson recorded 24 through his first 45, while Jim Nash and Vida Blue notched 22.
• Wil Myers drove in the Rays' first run with a single, capped the team's scoring with an RBI double in the eighth, and Tampa Bay defeated Boston, 4-3. In Rays victories, Myers owns a .348/.399/.535 line, while in losses, the rookie has posted a .214/.294/.375 slash line.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.