(CBSLA/CBS Local Sports) — As the Major League Baseball season moves into its final month, the records continue to pile up. More are sure to follow in the coming weeks, but this weekend delivered some impressive accomplishments.
A couple of familiar names added another bullet point to their Hall of Fame resumes in the making. Mike Trout continued to show why he’s a generational talent, even while his Los Angeles Angels remain far from contending in any real way. His latest milestone on the road to immortality is 200-200. That’s 200 home runs and 200 stolen bases, though the numbers themselves don’t do the accomplishment justice.
The Minnesota Twins broke the team record for home runs in a season. And a month still remains in a regular season that has seen more than its share of long balls. Look for them to build on that record.
Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander has been a casualty of the home run onslaught. He finds himself among the League leaders in home runs allowed, even as he continues another strong season. Over the weekend he threw his third no-hitter, elevating himself into elite company, even among pitching greats.
This week’s Baseball Report looks at Trout’s home run-stolen base milestone, the Twins’ home run record and Verlander’s most recent no-hitter.
Mike Trout Reaches 200-200
Mike Trout is generally recognized as the best player in baseball, even if his Angels remain hopelessly mediocre. And this past Saturday he proved it again, becoming the youngest player to hit 200 home runs and steal 200 bases. Trout turned 28 years old in early August, and he set the record more than a year earlier than both Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds, who were both 29 when they set it.
But the 200-200 milestone doesn’t fully capture the accomplishment. Trout has long since surpassed 200 career HRs. His current total, as of Monday, stands at 283, 43 of which he hit this season. So Trout is actually also the youngest player to hit 250 HRs and steal 200 bases — the 40th player to reach that milestone. Framed another way, he is the first player ever to reach 275 home runs and 200 stolen bases before their age-28 season.
The record-setting moment came in the second inning of a home game against the Boston Red Sox. Trout tied the game with a single and then stole second base. The steal didn’t even attract a throw. While Trout isn’t the fastest baserunner — it was only his 11th stolen base of the season on 13 attempts — he is one of the smartest. He picks the right spots.
The Angels went on to beat the Red Sox 10-4 on Saturday. Their record stands at 65-73 going into Tuesday’s action, well out of the American League wild card race.
Twins Set New Home Run Record
The Twins have mashed home runs at a record pace all seasons. So it was only a matter of time before they broke the season record. This past Saturday was that night. The team set the record in Detroit, when Mitch Garver smashed a ninth-inning blast, the team’s 268th of the season and sixth of the game. It was Garver’s second of a game that also saw Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and C.J. Cron go yard.
Garver’s home run put the Twins past the New York Yankees season mark of 267, which they set last season. And Minnesota has most of September to add to the total.
The 2019 MLB season has been defined, in part, by the long ball. The MLB season record is 6,105, set in 2017. But with 5,745 home runs hit through Monday, the current record looks destined to fall.
The ball is flying further this season, due, in part, to decreased drag on a slightly altered ball and harder hitting. That the team record for most HRs in a season has fallen makes sense. That the Twins have done it is a little surprising.
The Twins last led the League in home runs in 1964, and they haven’t cracked the top 10 since 1991. They finished 23rd last season. The New York Yankees, with 256 home runs through Monday and history on their side, could, in theory, catch the Twins. But like the American League Central race, which Minnesota leads by 6.5 games, the home run record is theirs to lose.
Justin Verlander Throws Third Career No-Hitter
Astros pitcher Justin Verlander has given up his fair share of long balls this season. None of them happened on Sunday. That afternoon the right-hander threw his third no-hitter ever, his first with the Astros. He tossed the previous two with the Detroit Tigers.
It took him just 120 pitches, two-thirds of which were strikes, to get through nine innings He struck out 14 and gave up one walk.
Verlander becomes the only active pitcher with three no-hitters. The all-time list of pitchers with three or more no-hitters isn’t that much longer. It includes Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Bob Feller (3), Cy Young (3) and Larry Corcoran (3). All of them are in the Hall of Fame, except Corcoran, whose pitching career flamed out in the 1880s.
The no-hitter elevates Verlander in the race for the American League Cy Young Award, where he has plenty of competition. It would be his second Cy Young.