The Weekend Takeaway
At this point, we should probably give Trevor Story his own record book.
In April, he joined a limited cast of players with two-homer games against Zack Greinke, and an even more limited cast of players with two-homer MLB debuts. He was the first rookie with home runs in his first four career games and the first to rack up six home runs in the first four games of the season. By the end of the month, he joined Jose Abreu with the most home runs by a rookie in April, with 10.
On Saturday, Story did himself one better with his 25th homer against Braves’ right-hander Matt Wisler:
The blast propelled him past Troy Tulowitzki’s rookie record for most home runs by an NL shortstop in the National League. By Sunday afternoon, Story had grafted two more homers onto his record, planting a Jim Johnson sinker in the center field bleachers
and solidifying a five-run lead with a two-run moonshot off Tyrell Jenkins.
Hitting for power isn’t the only valuable attribute a young infielder like Story can bring to the table, but you won’t hear the Rockies complaining anytime soon. His .272 TAv and 3.6 WARP accentuate what has already been a remarkable first half and looks to be the start of an equally memorable finish to his first year in the majors.
The next question isn’t whether or not Trevor Story will continue to shatter major-league records, but who will be the first to top his historic rookie season.
Quick Hits from the Weekend
While Trevor Story did what Trevor Story does best, Jose Fernandez did what Jose Fernandez does best. Halfway through the season, Fernandez is already just a tick away from his career peak value of 5.6 WARP and looking more invincible every time he takes the mound.
Saturday saw seven innings from the right-hander, who set down seven hits, two walks, and two runs in his third consecutive win and 26th in the last 27 home games. The Mets, like those who came before them, swung at curveballs in the dirt and lobbed changeups back to the infield for soft outs. Yoenis Cespedes caught the tail end of a 100 mph fastball, sending it to the far reaches of right field for an RBI basehit, while James Loney’s sac fly took care of the rest of the Mets’ two-run effort.
Although Fernandez’s average run support dips just below 4.0 on the season, he completed the Marlins’ first offensive drive of the night with an RBI single off of deGrom in the second inning. No ace should have to be a one-man show, however, and in the third inning, Giancarlo Stanton belted a two-run shot on the back of deGrom’s 0-2 curveball:
Sorry, let us rephrase that: Stanton saw a flash of rubber and cowhide come spiralling out of Jacob deGrom’s hand and used it to tattoo his name on the Jumbotron with a combination of Herculean strength and poise that could only rightfully be commemorated by a neon display of oversized marine life. There are home runs, and then there are 441-ft., earth-shattering, sound barrier-breaking Giancarlo Stanton home runs.
Stanton, being Stanton, didn’t stop there. He tacked on another three hits to his night, albeit not of the cycle-completing variety, and drove in Fernandez in the fourth inning to help cement the Marlins’ 7-2 win… and his .324 TAv.
It doesn’t take some shredded throwback uniforms to shift a day from good to bad, and Tyler Glasnow had no such excuse on Saturday against the Phillies. The rookie right-hander made his second career start to the tune of four hits, two runs, and three walks in three innings. Tommy Joseph and Cesar Hernandez tag-teamed in the first two innings to put the Phillies on the board, first on a fastball lingering at the bottom of the strike zone, then on a curveball plucked from the top of the zone.
Luckily for Glasnow, the Pirates were equally adept at exploiting Aaron Nola’s weak spots. Nola utilized a sinker-curveball combo that, while it appeared to stretch home plate umpire Todd Tichenor’s strike zone, induced only seven swinging strikes and fueled the Pirates’ slap-happy approach at the plate.
Perhaps the only time offense failed to dominate this game occurred in the fourth inning, when Josh Harrison got flummoxed by Nola’s… well, we’ll let you decide what to call it:
Defensive Play of the Weekend
Angel Pagan doesn’t always run down center-field flyballs at 20 mph, but when he does, he turns them into double plays.
What to Watch on Monday
Monday’s smorgasbord of dominant pitchers includes Jake Arrieta against the 48-50 White Sox, Noah Syndergaard against St. Louis automaton Carlos Martinez, Justin Verlander against PECOTA’s projected 4.3 WARP, and Yovani Gallardo against Trevor Story’s home run record.
Can’t narrow it down? Consider this salve for your first-world problems: The Tigers sit just six games back of the division lead, and they’re fighting to remain relevant with a rotation that’s past its prime. Justin Verlander can still hang with the top 10 WARP performers, but he’s a lone wolf in a roster full of veterans with no real competition lurking in the depths of the farm system.
On the hill opposite the Tigers is newly minted Red Sox southpaw Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz is headlining an even tighter division race, one that begins with the Orioles sitting 1.5 games ahead of the Sox and appears to be teetering on the brink of a satisfying role reversal. Not only could Pomeranz’ 2.95 DRA help narrow the gap at the top of the AL East, but it could put some necessary distance between the Sox and the Blue Jays, who sit just three games out of first (7:10 ET).