The 30/30 Club
Jose Ramirez has been terrorizing American League pitching throughout the 2018 campaign, and on Sunday he joined a very exclusive club.
With his first inning swipe of second base, the 25-year-old became just the 39th player in MLB history to record 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.
He’s the third player in Indians’ franchise history to achieve the tremendous feat, joining Joe Carter (1987) and Grady Sizemore (2008).
He’s also just the fourth third baseman to join the club, joining Howard Johnson, David Wright and Tommy Harper.
According to a nugget posted by Jon Morosi of MLB.com on Sunday, Ramirez is just the third player 5’9” or shorter to join the 30/30 club. Tommy Harper (1970) and Jimmy Rollins (2007) being the other two.
Entering the 2018 season, Ramirez had never eclipsed the 30-plateau for either home runs or stolen bases. His previous career highs were 29 homers in 2017 and 22 stolen bases during the 2016 season.
All of a sudden, everything has clicked for him this year and the Indians’ superstar has blossomed into a strong candidate for the American League MVP award. He’s hitting .282/.395/.575 with 37 homers, 97 RBI, 96 runs scored and 30 stolen bases on the season.
Ramirez currently ranks third in the American League in WAR, behind only Mookie Betts and Mike Trout, and just ahead of Alex Bregman. While the stat isn’t designed to be the be-all, end-all, those four players do seem to be the leading candidates to take home the MVP award.
Betts could very well be the next first-timer to join the club. Heading into play on Monday, he’s got 29 homers and 27 stolen bases.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona recognized the amazing accomplishment after Sunday’s game, but also gushed about just how much Ramirez means to their team. He explained, "It's not just the 30-30… Everything he does, he impacts the game in so many different ways… He's our three-hole hitter, He plays good defense, he runs the bases, he's one of the best players in the league."
He’s also going to be a surefire first round selection in all fantasy drafts next spring.
Quite the Duel
Fans that tuned in or came out to the U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday afternoon were treated to an unexpected masterful pitcher’s duel between Angels’ left-hander Andrew Heaney and White Sox’ right-hander Reynaldo Lopez.
The hometown hurler was outstanding in this one. He scattered just two hits and three walks over six scoreless innings, racking up 10 strikeouts in the process. Unfortunately for him, the White Sox weren’t able to scratch out a single run of support for him.
It was the first time that he had struck out double-digit batters since April 16. The 24-year-old hurler now owns a a 4.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 132/69 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings (29 starts) this season.
While Lopez was great, Heaney was even better on Sunday. The Angels’ southpaw scattered three hits -- all singles -- over seven scoreless innings while striking out a career-high 12 batters.
Like Lopez, his team also struggled to provide run support. It wasn’t until Kole Calhoun delivered a run-scoring single in the seventh inning that the Angels finally got on the board and put Heaney in line for a well-deserved victory.
With the win, the 27-year-old hurler improved to 9-9 on the season. He boasts a 3.98 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 161/40 K/BB ratio over 165 innings in his 27 starts on the year. With a strong finish to his season, Heaney is the type of player who could really boost his fantasy stock heading into 2019 drafts.
Saving the Day
As it was another day that ends in “y”, everyday Edwin Diaz was out there again for the Mariners on Sunday afternoon, recording the final three outs against the Yankees to preserve a one-run advantage and earn his 54th save of the season.
The 24-year-old right-hander is on a quest to set the All-time record in saves, but he’ll need eight more over the next 19 games to match the 62 set by Francisco Rodriguez set with the Angels during the 2008 season.
Even if he doesn’t get there, it has been an absolutely remarkable season for the Mariners’ closer, and one that will assuredly lead to many fantasy titles for owners who called his name on draft day during the spring.
He has now successfully converted 54 of his 58 save chances on the season while compiling a minuscule 1.84 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 118/16 K/BB ratio over 68 ⅓ innings.
American League Quick Hits: Andrew Miller (shoulder) will be activated from the disabled list Monday… Miguel Sano missed his fourth straight game on Sunday due to a sore knee. He’s still considered day-to-day… Tyler Austin (back) will resume taking batting practice on Monday… The White Sox hope to have Jose Abreu (groin) back from the disabled list Monday… Aaron Judge (wrist) is tentatively scheduled to take batting practice in the middle of the upcoming week… Sonny Gray will make a spot start for the Yankees on Tuesday against the Twins in order to give the rest of the rotation an extra day of rest… Randal Grichuk had to leave Sunday's game against the Indians after running into a security guard's stool while diving for a foul ball… Justin Smoak homered and drove in three, leading the Blue Jays past the Indians… Francisco Lindor clubbed his 34th home run in a losing effort there… Mallex Smith went 3-for-4 and swiped his 31st base as the Rays topped the Orioles… Willians Astudillo clobbered a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Royals… Ian Kennedy fanned six over six innings of one-run ball in a no-decision there…J.D. Martinez homered and drove in four runs as the Red Sox walked off the Astros on Sunday night. Martinez leads all of baseball with his 121 RBI on the season. He trails Khris Davis by just one home run for the MLB lead and lags behind only teammate Mookie Betts for the top batting average in either league.
National League Quick Hits: Sunday’s game between the Marlins and Pirates was washed out due to rain in the Pittsburgh area. It’ll be made up on October 1… The Cubs and Nationals were also rained out on Sunday, that one will be made up on Thursday… Nick Williams was held out of the Phillies’ lineup on Sunday due to shoulder and finger injuries… Jacob deGrom was scratched from Sunday's scheduled start against the Phillies due to inclement weather… David Peralta was held out of action on Sunday after turning his ankle while rounding first base on Saturday… Carlos Martinez worked a perfect ninth inning against the Tigers to record his second straight save. He looks to be the guy to own in the Cardinals’ bullpen at the moment… Michael Conforto belted his 23rd home run and drove in four as the Mets defeated the Phillies… Rhys Hoskins launched his 30th home run in a losing effort there… Jonathan Schoop swatted a grand slam off of Madison Bumgarner, propelling the Brewers to victory over the Giants… Ryder Jones is expected to miss the remainder of the 2018 season after dislocating his knee in Sunday's game against the Brewers… Charlie Blackmon went 3-for-4 and blasted a pair of home runs as the Rockies fell to the Dodgers… Justin Turner went 4-for-5 and slugged a two-run homer as the Dodgers won a slugfest at Coors Field… Nolan Arenado blasted his 32nd homer -- a towering 440 foot blast -- in that loss… Ender Inciarte blasted a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth inning, propelling the Braves to victory over the Diamondbacks… Ronald Acuna went 2-for-3 with a homer, triple, three runs scored, two RBI a walk and a stolen base in that win. His 18 homers since the All-Star break pace the National League...Luis Urias clubbed his second home run in his first 11 big league games as the Padres topped the Reds… Eric Hosmer blasted a go-ahead solo homer to lead the Padres to victory there…