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.
Random Miscellany

Stolen Bases: A Rejuvenated Offensive Weapon

MLB has instituted several rule changes that favor the use of stolen bases. They have re-emerged as an offensive weapon. Ronald Acuna Jr. has attained the 40-40 Club (40 home runs and 40 stolen bases) this year, joining Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Alfonso Soriano as the only players to reach these combination of milestones. Acuna is also the first in the 40-60 Club and with two more steals, the 40-70 Club. Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez made it to the 30-30 Club, and there are 13 players who reached the 20-20 Club. Just eight years ago, there were only four players that reached 20-20.

Ohtani: A Money Machine

Sports Illustrated recently reported that the Angels’ superstar Shohei Ohtani will earn a non-baseball income that exceeds his baseball salary this year. Forbes estimates an income of $35 million from endorsement partners this year, while his salary is $30 million with the Angels. By comparison, Aaron Judge’s non-baseball income this year is $4.5 million. Some analysts believe Ohtani will command the first $500 million contract in sports history, including the NFL, NBA, and NHL. He will be a free agent after this season.

Spencer Strider: Keeping Company with Braves HOF Pitchers

Atlanta pitcher Spencer Strider is doing his best imitation of Braves Hall of Fame pitchers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine. As of Saturday, he leads the National League in wins (18), Strikeouts (270), Fielding Independent Pitching (2.81), WHIP (1.063), and SO/9 (13.8). He’ll be a strong candidate for the Cy Young Award. The three Hall of Famers collected seven awards between them. Amazingly, all three played as teammates.

Kyle Schwarber: Unconventional Leadoff Hitter

Normally you wouldn’t think of a team’s leadoff batter hitting 45 home runs. Baseball-Reference displayed some distinctive stats for Philly’s Kyle Schwarber as their leadoff hitter. As of last Thursday, he was batting .196. 63 of his 109 total hits were extra-base hits, including 45 home runs. But his On-Base Percentage (OBP) is .344 (league average is .3xx), because he has walked 123 times. He has 99 RBIs. The only knock on him is that he has struck out 207 times. His total for the “three true outcomes” (comprised of walks, home runs, and strikeouts—those plate appearances in which only the opposition’s pitcher and catcher are involved) is a whopping 54.4%. The National League average is 34.3%.

AL West Division: Going Down to the Wire

Houston, Texas, and Seattle have been battling back and forth for the last couple of weeks for the division title and possibly one or two additional playoff teams. And it appears the battle will continue through the last few games of the regular season. None of the teams seem to want to separate themselves from the others. For example, the Astros lost three series to two of the worst teams in the league—the Royals (twice) and the A’s. Texas lost three games to the Guardians, a team it’s supposed to beat. Seattle can’t seem to break the Rangers.

St. Louis Cardinals: Most Disappointing Season

I don’t think anyone foresaw the pitiful showing by the Cardinals this year. For a team that won the NL Central title in 2022 to finish dead last in the division this year was unthinkable. It’s true the Reds and Pirates improved over last year, but they weren’t blowing teams away. The Cardinals stand to finish 20-25 games worse than last year. Offensively they were slightly better than league average, but their pitching was second from the bottom of the league. The Mets weren’t too far behind the Cardinals in having the most disappointing season.

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