So who's the last pitcher to have a 100-start stretch (or longer) with an ERA tinier than 2.00? Who else? Maddux, of course. He had a 1.99 ERA over an incredible 132 starts, spanning the final month of 1991 and all of the next four seasons. All Kershaw has to do to beat that is keep this up for another year. That's all. But would anyone bet against him? Not me!
The 40-40 Rookie Club: There has been a rookie who hit 40 home runs ( Mark McGwire, who bopped 49). There have been a bunch of rookies who hit 40 doubles (most recently Ryan Zimmerman and Hanley Ramirez in 2006). Ah, but our man Abreu is on pace for 44 home runs and 40 doubles. You know how many rookies have ever done that? Not a one. Albert Pujols (47 doubles, 37 homers) came closest. And he didn't spend two weeks on the disabled list like this guy.
Extra, extra: Thanks to all those homers and doubles, Abreu would finish his rookie season with 85 extra-base hits if he keeps mashing at this rate for the rest of the year. While that's not unprecedented, it's still a feat that comes along only once every couple of decades. Want to hear the only five rookies in history who have ever thumped 85 or more? Here goes: Hal Trosky (89), Joe DiMaggio (88), Pujols (88), Ted Williams (86) and Nomar Garciaparra (85). Cool group.
Slugfest: In a related development, Abreu's slugging percentage is up to an outrageous .624. Our first attempt to put that in perspective: Among the hitters who have never slugged .624 in any season, we'd toss out the names of Giancarlo Stanton, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun. Even Miguel Cabrera has slugged .624 or better just once. But here's the best perspective: How many rookies have ever had a slugging percentage that high over a full season? None. The current record: .618, by McGwire.
So let me ask one more time: Do we talk enough about Jose Abreu? Nooooooo.
Run, run, run: In his rookie season, Trout led the AL in runs scored. In his second season, he also led the league in runs scored. And this season? Yep. He just caught Brian Dozier of the Twins to tie for the league lead again. Here's the first reason that's so cool: In the past 50 years, the only men ever to lead their league in runs three straight seasons were Pete Rose (1974-76) and Pujols (2003-05). I've heard of them. How 'bout you?
But here's the second reason it's so cool: In the past 100 years, these are the only men ever to lead the AL in runs scored three years in a row: Babe Ruth (twice), Ted Williams (1940-42) and Mickey Mantle (1956-58). Wait. Who?