Braves' Acuña Jr. approaching a new power-and-speed frontier: The 30-60 club
Ronald Acuña Jr. is on pace to create an entirely new club for baseball's top power-and-speed threats.
Acuña stole his 55th base Sunday night in Atlanta's 7-6 loss to the New York Mets. The star outfielder also has 26 home runs. No player has ever reached 30 homers and 60 steals in the same season.
Rickey Henderson came close to starting the 30-60 club. He had 28 homers and 87 steals in 1986 with the New York Yankees, then 28 homers and 65 steals when he won MVP honors with Oakland in 1990.
Two players are in the 30-50 club: Eric Davis had 37 homers and 50 steals in 1987 and Barry Bonds had 33 homers and 52 steals in 1990, when he won his first of seven MVPs. Davis also had 27 homers and 80 steals in 1986, joining Henderson as the only members of the 20-80 club.
If Acuña can finish strong and reach 40 homers, that would open another frontier. Nobody has ever had 40 homers and 50 steals in a season. There have been four 40-40 players: Jose Canseco in 1988, Bonds in 1996, Alex Rodriguez in 1998 and Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
Who is the most recent major leaguer to post a 30-30 season?
The Houston Astros took two of three in Baltimore this past week and then won a pair of 11-3 routs at home against the Los Angeles Angels. Only a 5-4 loss to the Orioles and a 2-1 defeat against Los Angeles stopped Houston from sweeping the week. The Astros have won 16 of their last 24 and look ready to pressure AL West-leading Texas down the stretch.
Every time it seems like San Diego is going to turn its season around and play to its talent level, the Padres take a step back. They were swept in a two-game series at Seattle, then dropped two of three against an Arizona team that has been sinking fast since the All-Star break.
San Diego is still only 5 1/2 games behind the National League's final wild card, but the resurgence of the Chicago Cubs over the past month has left the Padres with yet another team to chase. San Diego is in 10th place in the NL.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Speaking of teams ahead of the Padres, the Philadelphia Phillies have enjoyed a quick payoff following their deadline trade for Michael Lorenzen. The right-hander no-hit the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night in his second start with the Phillies.
Lorenzen struck out five and walked four, needing 124 pitches to finish his first career complete game. He isn't scheduled to pitch again until Friday at Washington, when he'll work on eight days of rest.
COMEBACK OF THE WEEK
The Nationals scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to beat Oakland 8-7. The Athletics actually had a chance to add to their five-run lead in the top of the ninth when they had the bases loaded and one out — and a win probability of 99.7%, according to Baseball Savant.
The A's came up empty, though, and then the Nats found themselves in the same situation — bases loaded, one out. Stone Garrett singled home a run, then Ildemaro Vargas hit a sacrifice fly that made it 7-4 but left Washington one out from defeat. After a walk re-loaded the bases, Dominic Smith drew a walk to force in a run. Then an error on shortstop Nick Allen allowed two runs to score.
With the game tied, Jeter Downs — who had walked to start the Washington rally — singled home the winning run.
Also on Sunday, the Miami Marlins scored five in the bottom of the ninth to beat the New York Yankees 8-7.
Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles had exactly 30 homers and 30 steals in 2021.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb