Major League Baseball won't have the spotlight to itself for much longer. The NFL and college football seasons are upon us, meaning fans attention will be divided in the weeks and months ahead.
Some of the league’s brightest superstars did their part to keep that spotlight on Friday. That includes Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. In Friday’s thrilling 2-1 win in 14 innings against the New York Mets, Acuña became the newest member of MLB’s 30-30 club.
Now his sights are set on an even more exclusive club: 40-40.
That was just one notable moment in a night filled with milestones, comebacks and records that highlight how fun and unpredictable baseball can be.
Let’s take a quick look back.
Second-youngest to join 30-30 club
If was a matter of when, not if, Ronald Acuña Jr. would reach 30-30. In doing so, Acuña became the second youngest player overall and the first Venezuelan-born player to reach the milestone.
Acuna is the second-youngest player to join the 30-30 club. Trout had 30 HR and 49 SB during his 20-year-old season in 2012. At 130 games, this is the earliest of the five occasions a Braves player has secured a 30-30 season. The previous earliest was 149 games (Gant in 1991).
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 24, 2019
It’s fitting that Mike Trout is the only player ahead of Acuña. Prior to Friday’s game, teammate Freddie Freeman made that exact comparison.
Freeman before the game on Acuna Jr. compared to Trout:
"Can Ronald be 1B? I think so. I think Ronald has a chance to be the Mike Trout of the National League. I know the person too. All-around great guy, off the field he’s not doing anything, all he cares about is winning..."
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) August 24, 2019
Trout ended 2012 with 30 homers and 49 steals. He’s not since repeated a 30-30 season, which gives Acuña an opportunity to go somewhere Trout hasn’t and likely never will.
Next stop: 40-40 club?
The question now is whether Acuña can achieve 40 homers and 40 steals.
Jose Canseco (1988), Barry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Alfonso Soriano (2006) are the only four players in MLB history to reach the 40-40 mark.
Acuña needs four more home runs and 10 steals in Atlanta’s final 32 games. He figures to have the green light on the basepaths, which gives him a really good shot to do it.
As for the other big happenings around MLB.
Marlins’ comeback makes history
If Acuña brought the fun, then the Marlins brought the unpredictable.
Friday’s game started like many others for Miami this season. Even without Bryce Harper in the Philadelphia Phillies lineup, Miami was down 7-0 by the third inning.
Seven runs is a lot for any offense. It likely feels like even more to Miami considering that’s twice what its NL-worst offense has averaged per game this season.
So what happened next?
Naturally, the Marlins scored seven runs in the third inning alone, and then nearly tripled that number by game’s end. Miami won the game 19-11, completing the biggest turnaround in an MLB game since 1990.
The @Marlins trailed 7-0 against the Phillies tonight, but ended up winning 19-11.
That's the largest margin of victory by any team after allowing the first 7 (or more) runs of the game since 7/8/1990, when the Brewers beat the Angels 20-7 after trailing 7-0.#JuntosMiami
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 24, 2019
The outcome is more of an indictment of the Phillies. Not only did they blow Friday’s game, they’ve missed several opportunities by going 6-8 against Miami this season. The Braves, Mets and Nationals have gone a combined 36-11 against the Marlins.
In other words, it’s one of the biggest reasons Philadelphia is struggling to gain ground in the wild card race.
Gary Sanchez’s history-making milestone
It’s only fitting Gary Sanchez reached a notable milestone on Players’ Weekend.
With “Kraken” written across his back, the New York Yankees catcher went down to one knee to launch the 100th home run of his career.
Only one player in MLB history has reached 100 home runs faster. And that player wasn’t a catcher.
MLB Catchers Fewest Games to 100 HR
355 Gary Sanchez NYY
422 Mike Piazza LAD
422 Rudy York DET
508 Roy Campanella BKN
521 Johnny Bench CIN
— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) August 24, 2019
Aristides Aquino sets another home run record
Cincinnati Reds rookie Aristides Aquino ended a six-day home run “drought” with a second-inning home run in Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Yet despite his slowing home run pace, he’s still making history.
Per @EliasSports, Aristides Aquino has established modern Major League records for home runs in a player's first 12 career games (8), first 14 career games (9), first 16 career games (10), first 17 career games (11) and now first 22 career games (12).
— Reds Media Relations (@RedsPR) August 23, 2019
You can’t stop Aristides Aquino. You can only hope to contain him.
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