MLB Week in Review (September 15-21)

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The MLB saw some contrasting events this week as the season winded down and two major accomplishments made headlines.

One was hardly a mystery as the MLB had been trending towards a record for the most home runs in a single season since the first month of the year.

The power in the league has grown to numbers that take a look back to the steroid era in baseball.

This week Alex Gordon hit the 5,694th home run of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays passing the old record set in 2000.

For some, this record will go a long way to erasing the stigma of the steroid era as a season that is decidedly cleaner now sits at the top of the all-time home run list.

For others, it is a sign that something has changed and that the record might not be as clean as some might think.

Either way, the Dead Ball era 2.0 seems to be over with such an offensive output from the big hitters this season.

It might come out at another time that the season was not as great as people thought if it is ever revealed that different balls were in play or a new steroid era began but for now it is a massive offensive output.

That can be concerning for some as the defensive side of the game could be suffering thanks to the long ball.

That isn’t exactly the case though as pitchers have also been doing some big things this season and this week one pitcher threw his name into an elite club.

Chris Sale earned his 300th strikeout of the season joining some of the best to ever pitch but the 300 number was bigger considering where he did it.

Sale got all of his strikeouts this season in Boston as a part of the American League and became the first pitcher since 1999 to earn that many strikeouts in the AL.

The American League has always been the place of offence and it is considered the tougher of the two leagues to pitch in with the DH adding an extra big bat for every team.

It can be challenging for pitchers in the league and they tend to have a tougher time against the offences in the league.baseball-sidebar

Sale made an impression this year and continues to be one of the best in the game.

Both accomplishments may at first look seem like they are polar opposites as one is clearly a massive offensive accomplishment while the other is a major defensive accomplishment.

The fact is that these accomplishments tend to go hand in hand as pitchers tend to increase their strikeout numbers when power is the name of the game on offence.

Power hitters are notoriously bad at fighting off the pitcher as some of the best home run hitters in the game have terrible strikeout rates.

The majority of power hitters are all or nothing as they get big swings and when they connect the ball leaves the park.

When they don’t connect they usually are swinging so hard that they entirely miss the ball and don’t even get contact.

To hit home runs these players need to swing the bat and swing it with reckless abandon in order to get the power behind the bat.

That leads to rises in strikeouts as more power hitters swing away without much concern about just making contact.

So when the home run totals continue to rise it seems logical that strikeouts are there for the taking for some of the best pitchers in the game.

The Homerun total will only be added to with a couple of weeks left in the season for the power hitters to continue swinging for the fences.

As they continue to do that the league’s pitchers pursue the strikeout record that was set only one season ago.

To date, the MLB has a total of 37,569 strikeouts with the record standing at 38,982 total strikeouts in 2016.

It seems like a lot to go but the pitchers are continuing to put up big numbers and it is certainly a reachable stat.

The MLB is in the midst of a new resurgence of power on both sides of the ball and for the fans, it means a lot.

The league would love to keep the trend going and with so many of the biggest hitters and pitchers headed to the postseason things are going to be wild in October.

The season continues on with only a few spots remaining and races heating up but with a wild season almost entirely behind these teams, it’s time to focus on the most interesting part of the season every year.

 

Extra Innings

Protection Debate

The debate is back and the MLB is doubling its efforts after a young Yankees fan was hit in the face with a ball during a game this week. It brought back the idea that teams should be extending the netting that protects the seat right behind home plate. The call has come from everybody after the latest incident in New York and it wouldn’t be surprising if the nets are extended by next season. The Boston Red Sox have already done it and with other teams and the Commissioner fully behind it ballparks could look a little different next season.

Streak Ended

The Cleveland Indians were riding high as they headed to the end of the season with one of the longest winning streaks in the history of the sport. After 22 games without seeing a loss the Kansas City Royals shut down the Indians and ended their pursuit of the real winning streak record. As they head into the final few weeks Cleveland is ready for the postseason and they are hoping that some of the momentum gained in the winning streak and a still great September can help them get back to the championship and join their fellow Cleveland teams on top.

Tigers vs. Umps

  Major League Umpires have been a constant topic of conversation this year with many umpires believing they are taking more abuse than any other year. Others believe that they should learn how to handle it better or simply stop screwing up. The Detroit Tigers have often been in the conversation as their relationship with the umpires has not been great this season. It only got worse this week when Quinn Wolcott accused the Tigers of intentionally hitting him after he tossed their manager and catcher. The MLB investigated and found no evidence of the claim but the relationship between players and umpires is clearly at a new low.

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