Every season has ’em. It might be an all-time record that will be tied
or broken. It might be reaching that next even number in hits, saves or
home runs. It might be surpassing a franchise record. Whatever it is,
it’s a milestone.
And 2011 will be no different.
So who are the candidates for these 2011 milestones and what is the likelihood they will be achieved? Glad you asked.
Player – Derek Jeter
Milestone – 3,000th hit
Current # – 2,928 hits
This is easily the most talked about milestone of 2011. Jeter is only
72 hits away from his inevitable 3,000th hit. So barring a significant
injury, he should get there and get there soon. Jeter is not only the
face of the franchise and embodies everything it means to be a Yankee,
but he will be the first Yankee to complete this feat.
As he draws closer, opponents stadiums will sell out with fans hoping to be there when he reaches that famous mark.
Predicted date – June 12th
Player: Ivan Rodriquez
Milestone – 3,000th hit
Current # – 2,817 hits
Pudge sits 183 hits away from this mark. Is 183 hits doable in a
season? Without a doubt. Is it doable by him? Probably not. It’s a
mark he’s only hit twice before in his career and both times were over a
decade ago. These days he’s at about the 100 hit mark for the season.
So if Pudge is going to his this mark, he will have to gut it out for
at least one more season after this one. I predict he does just that
and cements his legendary status in the game of baseball.
Predicted date – 2012
Player: Alex Rodriquez
Milestone – 631 home runs (5th on the all-time list)
Current # – 613 home runs
Every one knows that A-Rod will eventually be going for his 700th home
run and even is potentially capable of overtaking Bonds on the all-time
list. But first things first. You have to climb the list one player at
a time and next on the list is Ken Griffey Jr. who set his mark not too
A-Rod needs 18 home runs to get past him. Looking ahead, with 48
dingers, he could overtake Willie Mays in the #4 spot. But let’s not
get greedy; he’s not gonna be hitting 48 home runs this season. The 18
home runs should be an easy accomplishment, although I expect him to
struggle when he draws close to the number, as he did when he neared
#600 home run.
Predicted date: July 29th
Player: Jim Thome
Milestone – 600 home runs
Current # – 589 home runs
Thome will only be the 8th player in the history of the game to get to
the 600 home run mark. No doubt this is quite an accomplishment and
from everything I’ve seen and heard of Thome, it couldn’t be by a nicer
guy. The Twins saw him pass Twinkie legend Harmon Killebrew last year
and are ready to see him continue on his journey by reaching this
Predicted date; July 6th
Player: Alex Rodriguez
Milestone – 1,952 RBIs (5th on the all-time list)
Current # – 1,831 RBIs
Currently 17th on the list, Alex is 121 RBIs from being in the top 5.
The fact that he could potentially break the top 5 all-time in two major
categories this year just shows how good this guy really is. Yeah,
he’s had his moments, his off-days and the stupid personal drama, but
when it is all said and done, he will be one of the best in the game
A-Rod looks to be a shoo-in for at least 100 RBI, but after that is when
it gets tricky. Can he get the extra 21 he needs? Well, since
becoming a Yankee 7 years ago, he has reached 121 RBI in a season 4
times. So if history is an indicator, that would give him a 50 / 50
shot. I predict he does it, but by the skin of his teeth.
Predicted date: September 27th
So several hitting milestones to look forward to this year, mostly by Yankees. And even though others may not be hitting as big of a milestones there will be plenty of smaller stepping stones hit to future milestones. 300 or 400 home runs, 2000 hits, etc. Every player in hopes of bigger and better marks have to hit these smaller ones along the way.
Player: Mariano Rivera
Milestone – 602 saves (1st on all-time list)
Current # – 559 saves
It’s not a matter of whether Mariano break’s Hoffman’s save record, but when. And technically, he has two back to back milestones here. First when he hits the 600 mark, becoming only the 2nd player in the history of the game to do so and then when he break’s Hoffman’s record.
Still will he do it this year? He’s 43 shy of the all-time mark, which can be done and has been done by him before. But it’s far from a guarantee. After all, even if he converts every save chance he gets, he’s limited by the total of opportunities he has. And that’s why I do think he will break this mark, but not yet.
Predicted date: 2012
Sadly, this is it. And since I don’t think this out gets hit this year, that means, there will be no significant pitching milestones in ’11. Jamie Moyer is still claiming he’s not retired, even though he’s going to be close to 50. (50???) So who knows what 2012 may bring in terms of milestones. Though, the fact that pitchers aren’t what they used to be means that most pitching milestones and records will never be reached, such as the 300 win mark, complete games, shutouts and others like that.
Good luck to all players going after these marks. Even though baseball is a team sport and I’m sure most players would give up these marks for a ring in October, they are nice achievements to reflect back on at the end of your career. To know that you are the only player who reached a certain plateau or that others are chasing your record has to be a great feeling.
Chasing the blogging milestone,
Sometimes it’s hard to believe a team with so mach talent on paper has lost so much, but sometimes a scrappier team just seems to have what it takes. We saw it when the ’04 Redbirds were shockingly swept while the ’06 version went the distance. Baseball’s funny that way. Funny or makes you want to beat your head against the wall. Either way.
But with the Reds only 3 games away from celebrating, the Cardinals still have a lot of talent. And that is seen in their accomplishment of many different personal milestones and pursuit of personal achievements.
Albert has hit 40 homers again, Holliday has hit 100 RBIs and now today, Wainwright has reached his 20th win. Honestly, it should have come before now, but either way, he’s now reached that mark for the first time in his career. He continues to make this Cy Young Race neck and neck. Halladay and Wainwright are tied atop the league in both wins and strikeouts. Wainwright leads Halladay in ERA by a smidge. The difference is that barring unforseen circustmances, Halladay should get two more starts, while Wainwright is only guaranteed one. However, it’s not inconceivable that he could go on one less day of rest and get two more starts in. So this race is far from over, as we see how it ends up playing out.
The last couple of days have been fun, watching the Memphis youngsters come up and give the club a boost. Add into that Wainwright’s 20th win and it’s about as much fun as you’re going to have when your team is 7 games out of 1st place.
This will be a lot more meaningful if it can be combined with a Cardinal victory. Right now the Cards lead 5-4 in the 6th inning. Let’s go Redbirds!
Make no mistake about who the ace of the Cardinals staff is. His name? Chris Carpenter. That is not a sleight to Adam Wainwright. Waino has been awesome for us this year and so far this year, has been the more dominant of the two. He has a better ERA, more wins and more Ks (although to be fair, even in his best years, Carp tends to get the groundball out more than the strikeout), and is the leading favorite right now in the Cy Young vote.
So what makes Carp, “the ace?” Simple. He’s a stopper. Tonight, the Cardinals had their backs against the wall. They just suffered a five game losing streak, dropping them a season high 4 1/2 games behind the division leading Reds. We put hurler after hurler on the mound, most of whom pitched well. Very well, in fact. But a struggling offense was not able to help out. And any runs given up seemed to make it that much harder for the Redbirds to score.
And then Chris Carpenter strolls to the mound. I described him once in this very blog, as cold, methodic and calculating. He’s intense and knows how to pitch. And that’s why, although I might pick Wainwright over Carp, if I had one game to win, there’s nobody in the league I would pick over Carp, if I needed a guy to be a stopper. He’s proven time and time again that he is up to the task. Basically, it’s what I would call “clutch pitching.” If a hitter can constantly get hits when it counts, when runners are on, he gets a lot of attention as being a clutch hitter. Pitching doesn’t get the same notoriety, but I think a pitcher that gets wins at the right time—say when you’re team just had it’s longest losing streak of the season—that’s pretty clutch in my book.
Hopefully, this little debacle is now behind us and the Cardinals start cruising back to 1st place, where they belong. The Reds have already fallen behind LA 7-1. And while I would never count those feisty Reds out until the last pitch is thrown, things are definitely looking promising for us to gain a game in the standings. Beating the Giants, coupled with the Phillies loss to the Nats, means we also made up ground in the wild card race.
In other news, recent acquisition Pedro Feliz has gone 4 for 8 for the Cardinals so far. Obviously, it’s still quite early, but that’s a big plus right now. His defense is certainly not spectacular, but it’s adequate. He can field a routine ground ball, which is more than I can say for the efforts of Allen Craig or Felipe Lopez whenever they manned the hot corner.
Albert upped his hitting streak to 7 games, giving him a batting average of .414 for August. In fact, since July 30th, Albert has only not gotten a hit in one game. Yesterday, he hit his 8th home run this month, sitting just 2 away from the 400 milestone and giving him 1200 career RBI. I’ve heard some say he has “peaked,” but to me, he looks to have no signs of slowing down. I can’t wait to see where he ends up at the end of his career.