As we head into the first full week of this 60-game season most teams had a full slate of games. However, due to COVID-19, some teams like the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies did not play a single game. Other teams like the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles were not able to play a full week. But still, the baseball is flying out of the park. Let’s take a look back at the Week in Home Runs.
No other player had as big a week as Yankees star right fielder Aaron Judge. Judge led the league in home runs for the week with six, and he also was one of 12 players to have a two-homer game. The Yankees have something to prove this season and Judge is the catalyst of that. Judge is so hot that he has hit a home run in five consecutive games. The Yankees only played five games this past week and they won them all. The record for consecutive games with a home run is eight. It has been accomplished by three players.
The last player to hit home runs in eight straight games is Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners. Junior had his streak in 1993 and it ended with a 2-4 day including a double off the wall in centerfield. Former Yankee Don Mattingly had his streak in 1987. Donnie baseball also had a 2-4 day that ended his streak. Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates had his streak in 1956 before ending it with an 0-4 vs the Brooklyn Dodgers. Long was an unknown player at the time of his streak and did not have great careers as Griffey and Mattingly had.
Grand Old Time
There were four grand slams hit in this past week. The first player to hit one was Nicholas Castellanos of the Cincinnati Reds in Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Next was Luke Voit of the Yankees in Camden Yards against the Orioles. Yankee teammate Gio Urshela hit his slam in the Bronx against the Boston Red Sox. Finally, we have the future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels hitting his salami at Angels Stadium against the Houston Astros.
Welcome to the Big Leagues
During the course of this past week, three players hit their first career home runs. Evan White of the Seattle Mariners slugged a two-run home run at Minute Maid Park against the Astros. White’s teammate Jose Marmolejos hit his first major league dinger against the Angels at Angels Stadium. The homer by Marmolejos was a three-run home run. Chadwick Tromp of the San Francisco Giants hit his first major league homer at Oracle Park against the Texas Rangers.
Milestone Home Runs
There are two future Hall of Fame players chasing magical home run milestones. Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera both hit a pair of home runs this past week. Every round-tripper hit by these two players will be noteworthy for the rest of their careers.
After hitting two homers this past week Pujols is now two shy of tying the great Willie Mays for fifth all-time in MLB history. Assuming we complete this abbreviated season Pujols, who has 558 homers, should be able to pass Mays at 660. Cabrera’s two homers give him 480 career dingers. Cabrera is now just 13 homers shy of both Fred McGriff and Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.
Pujols is 40 years old and has one year remaining on his contract. Pujols will pass Mays but after that, it will take a very good season to reach Alex Rodriguez and his 696 career homers. Cabrera is 37 years old and has five years remaining on his contract. Assuming he plays out his contract Cabrera will certainly pass the 500 home run mark and in the process pass up several Hall of Fame players.
Multi Homer Games
During this past week, 12 players had multi-home run games. But one player stands out just a bit more than the others. Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez is the first player in 2020 to have multiple two-homer games. Hernandez accomplished this against the Nationals in the nation’s capital.
The American League players to have multiple homer games are Christian Vazquez and Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox, Hunter Renfroe of the Tampa Bay Rays, Maikel Franco of the Kansas City Royals, Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Aaron Judge of the Yankees.
The National League players who had multiple home run games are Colin Moran of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Javier Baez of the Cubs, Mike Yastrzemski of the Giants, and Nicholas Castellanos of the Cincinnati Reds.
Late Inning Magic
This past week there were three game-winning home runs with only one being a walk-off homer. Mike Yastrzemski capped a two-homer game with a walk-off bomb against the San Diego Padres in a 7-6 win.
Edwin Rios blasted a two-run game-winning home run in the top of the 13th inning leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-2 victory over the Astros. Tommy Pham clubbed a three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning leading the Padres to an 8-7 comeback victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Aaron Judge led the week with six homers hit. Three players totaled four. Those three players were Colin Moran of the Pirates, Teoscar Hernandez of the Blue Jays, and Nicholas Castellanos of the Reds. With such a small sample size the season, the leaders in homers is not much different.
Judge leads the league with six. A healthy Judge is a productive one. Judge appears to be on a mission to stay healthy and get back to the level he played at in 2017. But currently in second is Moran with five. Moran is the surprise name on this list. Last season Moran hit 13 homers in 466 at-bats.
There are four players tied with four homers. Among those four is Trevor Story of the Rockies. His name is no surprise to this list. Story already has two 30 homer seasons under his belt. Castellanos, who is finally playing in a homer-friendly park, is taking full advantage of it. After spending the majority of his career in spacious Comerica Park, Castellanos now calls the Great American Ball Park home and should see his long doubles turn into homers.
Vazquez burst onto the scene hitting 23 homers in his first full season as the catcher for the Red Sox. Hernandez has seen his home run total improve in the last two seasons and could be a mainstay in that young talented Blue Jays lineup.
Last week there was a total of 204 home runs hit in the major leagues. The two teams who led the majors, ironically are most experts picks for this year’s World Series. Both the Yankees and Dodgers hit 13 home runs each. It is worth noting that the Dodgers played six games to the Yankees five. Only two other teams reached double figures and both will come as a surprise. The Royals hit 11 homers and the Orioles hit 10. The individual game with the most home runs hit was this past Monday with the Braves and the Rays combining for seven long balls.
For the season the Yankees and Dodgers are tied with 17 homers. However, the Yankees have two fewer games and over 100 fewer at-bats. Next up is the team that led the majors in homers last year, the Twins. The Twins have picked up where they left off last year and have slugged 16 homers. The Cubs and Tigers each have 15 homers.
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