September 10, 2009
Baseball's division races aren't quite coming through with the scoreboard-watching fix we all like to enjoy in September, but that doesn't mean there's no reason to watch these final few weeks.
With that in mind, here are a few numbers to keep track of as the regular season winds to a close.
4 hits Ichiro(notes) Mania has hit such a fever pitch across the sea that a Japanese TV crew is even following Geoff Baker and his Seattle Times copy editors to breathlessly chronicle how the American media will breathlessly chronicle the Mariner's march toward history. With any combination of four slap singles, bingles or even anything greater, Ichiro will become the first major leaguer to record nine straight seasons of more than 200 hits and will break the record of eight straight seasons he shares with Wee Willie Keeler, who did his thing between 1894 and 1901.
10 doubles Baltimore's Brian Roberts(notes) just became the fourth player in MLB history to record three or more 50-double seasons and considering the other three guys are Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Paul Waner and Stan Musial, he's in some pretty good company. Roberts has a chance to earn more accolades, however. Hit 10 more two-baggers and he'll be the first player to reach the 60-double mark since Charlie Gehringer and Ducky Medwick both did it in 1936.
Exactly 5 home runs If he blasts five more shots over the outfield wall, Washington's Adam Dunn(notes) will have achieved one of the oddest statistical outcomes we've ever seen — finishing the year with exactly 40 homers in five straight seasons. Let's all agree to hoist a Schlitz Malt Liquor with Lou Piniella if this goes down.
27 plate appearances With 24 games remaining in the regular season, Magglio Ordonez(notes) can guarantee next year's $18 million contract by striding to the plate at an average of just over one time per game. All signs point to him reaching the number — the Tigers don't want to incur the wrath of the union — but at least he won't be hurting the Tigers as much as he did earlier this season. Since Aug. 1, he's hitting .371/.447/.528.
3 homers, 14 RBIs, .012 OBP, 1 walk Albert Pujols(notes) is close to setting all sorts of personal season bests, which lends at least a little bit of drama to the final month of the regular season down in St. Louis. If he reaches all of the above, he'll most likely maintain his career-best OPS and SLG numbers, too.
7 home runs It's maybe the longest shot on here, but A-Rod can pass Mark McGwire for the eighth spot on the career home run list with seven more homers. Should that happen, we insist that Big Mac be on hand for a Sammy Sosa(notes)-style bear hug.
1 hit .... and a little-known shortstop named Derek Jeter(notes) will pass some guy nicknamed the Iron Horse for most hits recorded while a member of a local nine in the New York borough named the Bronx. It's a shame this isn't being covered more, really.