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The Home Run King of Queens

David Shovein

The Home Run King of Queens

Mets’ rookie sensation Pete Alonso has had quite a memorable 2019 season already. From his prodigious power display during the Grapefruit League season that allowed him to win the starting first base job away from Dominic Smith, to his epic performance in winning the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities in Cleveland -- Alonso has been an incredible story.

By all accounts, the 24-year-old slugger is clear favorite to take home National League Rookie of the Year honors, but that’s not enough. What he’s doing now, is re-writing the record books.

He has already hit more home runs in a season than any other rookie in Mets’ franchise history. On Saturday, he clobbered a 451-foot blast off of Max Fried for his 41st home run of the season. That tied the club’s franchise record for most home runs in a single season -- by any player. That record, which should soon fall, is currently shared by Carlos Beltran and Todd Hundley.

The Polar Bear was awestruck when asked about it after the game, telling reporters, “It’s nuts… As soon as the ball left the bat, I just knew it. The fans went absolutely nuts. It’s something you dream about as a kid. It’s surreal.”

It seems inevitable that Alonso will soon have sole possession of that record. Will he be able to re-write any other team history?

Alonso’s three-run blast on Saturday also saw him eclipse the 100-RBI plateau. That puts him on pace to surpass the club record of 124 RBI, which is currently shared by Mike Piazza and David Wright. Stamping his name all over the Mets’ record books is one thing, but could Alonso also make his mark league-wide this season?

The current mark for most home runs by any rookie in a season is currently 52 -- set by Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge in 2017. Alonso is currently on pace to hit 51 long balls.

The Mets remain squarely in the thick of the Wild Card race in the National League -- sitting two games out of the final spot heading into play on Sunday. Alonso has been a major catalyst in their success, and in their second half surge. If he keeps blasting baseballs over the wall and is able to run down Judge’s rookie record, he may also be able to bring playoff baseball back to Queens for the first time since they dropped the Wild Card game in 2016.

 

No Way, Jose

The Cleveland Indians have miraculously erased a double-digit deficit in the race for the American League Central division crown, in large part to the outstanding offensive contributions from Jose Ramirez in the second half of the season.

If they’re going to overcome the 2 ½ games that they need to pass the Twins though, they may have to do it without their star third baseman.

Ramirez was pulled from Saturday’s game against the Royals in the first inning with a right wrist injury. Ramirez suffered the injury on a swing during his first at-bat of the game and immediately grabbed his wrist in pain.

Ramirez underwent an MRI exam on Saturday to determine the extent of the injury, but the Indians haven’t commented on the results yet, other than to indicate that they want multiple people to review it first.

While the results of that exam are not yet known, Yu Chang was pulled from his game at Triple-A Columbus and is on stand-by in the event that Ramirez requires a trip to the injured list. Stay tuned on Sunday, as the superstar third baseman could be looking at an extended absence.

Ramirez has been absolutely locked in since mid-June, hitting .325/.370/.675 with 15 homers, 47 RBI and seven stolen bases over his last 53 games. Any missed time would be a crushing blow to both the Indians and to fantasy owners.

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Rizzo Hitting the IL?

The Cubs were dealt some unfortunate injury news on Saturday as Anthony Rizzo was removed from Saturday’s game against the Nationals due to mid-back tightness.

On the surface, that doesn’t seem like a major issue -- or one that would land him on the injured list -- but when we look deeper there may be cause for concern.

It’s not the first time that these back issues have cropped up for Rizzo, it’s seemingly turning into a regular thing. Has it progressed to the stage that the best thing to do would be to shut him down for a couple of weeks?

The real telling sign could be that David Bote was a late scratch from the lineup at Triple-A Iowa on Saturday with the expectation that he was being recalled by the Cubs. The important thing to note there is that Bote was just optioned to Triple-A on August 19. The only way that he can rejoin the Cubs without spending the requisite 10 days in the minor leagues, would be if he were replacing someone that was heading to the injured list.

While it’s possible that someone else on the roster could be heading for the injured list on Sunday, it seems to be a strong indication that Rizzo is going to miss some time. If that’s the case, it’s a big blow to the Cubs -- and to fantasy owners who have been enjoying the steady production that he has provided this season. The 30-year-old slugger is hitting .290/.402/.526 with 25 long balls, 80 runs scored, 82 RBI and five stolen bases on the season.

 

American League Quick Hits: Rangers’ right-hander Jesse Chavez will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow and will miss the remainder of the 2019 season. … Framber Valdez will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to start for the Astros on Sunday. He’ll make at least two starts in place of the injured Aaron SanchezRamon Laureano (shin) was able to run on the field on Saturday and has been taking live batting practice as he progresses in his recovery. He could rejoin the Athletics before the end of next week. … Hunter Pence will miss the remainder of the weekend series against the White Sox due to lingering lower back tightness. … Jose Alvarado struggled as the Rays’ opener against the Orioles, then was placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation - an injury that could end his season. … Pedro Severino clobbered a grand slam on Saturday, propelling the Orioles past the Rays. … John Means punched out seven over seven innings of one-run baseball in that victory. … Kolby Allard struck out a career-high eight batters over 6 ⅓ shutout innings in a dominant victory against the White Sox. … Danny Santana and Willie Calhoun each clubbed two-run homers to back him up. … Alex Bregman blasted his career-best 32nd home run as the Astros downed the Angels… Wade Miley earned his 13th victory, allowing just one run over five innings in that one… Mike Clevinger whiffed eight over 5 ⅔ innings of one-run ball in a win against the Royals. … Franmil Reyes demolished a three-run homer - his 30th of the season - to lead the offense in that victory. … Max Kepler socked his 35th dinger as the Twins triumphed over the Tigers. … Brock Holt blasted a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning, leading the Red Sox past the Padres. … Felix Hernandez allowed two runs on three hits over 5 ⅔ innings in his return from the injured list. … Bo Bichette went 3-for-5 with a homer, double and three RBI, propelling the Blue Jays past the Mariners. … Omar Narvaez crushed his 19th home run in a losing effort.

 

National League Quick Hits: The Marlins placed Brian Anderson on the 10-day injured list with a fractured finger. He’s expected to be sidelined for six weeks, which means that his 2019 season is essentially over. .... Pablo Sandoval will undergo Tommy John surgery during the first week of September. … The Brewers designated Jhoulys Chacin for assignment. … The Braves signed Francisco Cervelli to a one-year contract. He made quite the impact in his debut with the club on Saturday, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBI in a victory over the Mets. He also cut down Amed Rosario attempting to steal. … The Mets designated Aaron Altherr for assignment, again, to make room for Jeff McNeil on the active roster… David Peralta unexpectedly landed on the 10-day injured list on Saturday with right AC joint inflammation. … Edwin Diaz was removed from Saturday's game against the Braves with right trapezius tightness. … Kolten Wong left Saturday’s game after fouling a ball off of his toe. While he’s dealing with pain and swelling, X-rays ruled out any fractures and he’s considered day-to-day… Trea Turner went 2-for-3 and swiped his 27th base in a victory over the Cubs. … Justin Turner crushed a two-run homer to power the Dodgers past the Yankees. … Scott Kingery slugged a three-run home run in a lopsided victory over the Marlins. … Josh Bell launched his 32nd home run of the season in a blowout win against the Reds. … Trevor Williams fired six shutout innings to cruise to an easy victory in that one. … Jeff McNeil (hamstring) went 2-for-2 with a double in his return from the injured list… Josh Donaldson socked his 30th home run in a victory over the Mets. … Freddie Freeman set a new career-high with his 35th homer in that win. … Dakota Hudson fired six shutout innings to beat the Rockies… Chase Anderson twirled five scoreless frames in a win over the Diamondbacks. … Stephen Vogt clubbed a three-run homer, leading the Giants past his former club in Oakland.