The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Acuna's Home Run Spree Was Good, But Donnie Baseball's Was Better

The Atlanta Braves are demonstrating they have the necessary grit and determination late into the season to remain a contender for a post-season playoff berth, their first since 2013.  One of the “Baby Braves” who is proving to be a key catalyst in their winning ways is 20-year-old Ronald Acuna Jr.

Acuna put on an impressive display of power from August 8 through August 15 that spawned a set of comparisons with major-leaguers before him.

  • He became the youngest player since at least 1908 to homer in five straight games.  Brian McCann was 22 years old in 2006, when he did it.

  • In three of his games, he hit a leadoff home run as the first Braves’ batter of the game.  The only other player in modern history to hit a leadoff home run in at least three straight games was Brady Anderson in 1996, when he did it in four games.

  • He tied the Braves’ franchise record for most consecutive games with a home run, joining the likes of Rogers Hornsby, Joe Adcock, Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, and a few others.

Altogether during his eight-game stretch, Acuna hit a total of eight HR and 15 RBIs, while scoring 13 runs.  On August 10, he went homerless, but countered that with two on April 15.  His slash line during that period was an astonishing .471/.514/1.235.

As impressive as Acuna’s recent performance was, there was one even more notable in the annals of baseball.  New York Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly tied Dale Long’s major-league record of hitting a home run in eight consecutive games during July 8-18, 1987.

During his streak, “Donnie Baseball” accomplished a few other key milestones.

  • He hit a total of 10 home runs during the eight-game stretch.

  • He extended the hitting streak by delivering an extra-base hit in 10 consecutive games.

  • Two of his home runs were grand slams.  He wound up hitting a total of six slams that season.

Altogether during Mattingly’s stretch, he managed to hit a total of 10 HR and 21 RBIs, while scoring 11 runs.  His slash line was .459/.487/1.324.

Long’s record was set during May 19-28, 1956, while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. also tied the major-league record during July 20-28, 1993.

Although not a record, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins belted eight homers over nine consecutive games during August 19-27, 2017.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see more results like this and Acuna’s, with the recent increase in home runs throughout baseball.

If there was a blemish on Mattingly’s solid 14-year career, it was that he reached the playoffs only once (1995) with the Yankees.  Braves fans are hopeful Acuna’s rookie season is the first of many for the Braves as a contender for the post-season.

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