MLB Notebook: Puig's run rare this early
Kipnis, Blanks turning in gigantic Junes for Tribe, Padres
In the second game of a doubleheader on Sept. 17, 1941, in St. Louis, a right fielder named Stan Musial made his Major League debut. Life in the big leagues began quite nicely for the 20-year-old, who -- thrust immediately into the No. 3 spot in the batting order -- drove in a pair of runs and finished with a double and a single. Musial would play in 11 more games that season, furnishing the game's texture with one of those special September callup lines: a .426 batting average, a .574 slugging percentage, 20 hits (five for extra bases) and seven RBIs.
And then, even after a six-month hiatus from real games, Musial picked right up where he left off, opening the 1942 season with 13 hits (four for extra bases) and eight runs scored in his first eight games of the season. The performance early on in '42 left Musial with the following numbers through his first 20 games: a .413/.440/.613 line, 33 hits (nine for extra bases), 16 runs, and 10 RBIs: a 20-game start that offers an interesting backdrop to what 22-year-old Yasiel Puig has done through his first 20 contests.
The Dodgers defeated the Giants, 3-1, on Monday night, with right fielder Puig contributing three hits (including his seventh home run) and two RBIs. It was his 20th Major League game, after which Puig -- who owns a .442/.476/.753 slash line -- had 34 hits (10 for extra bases) and 14 RBIs.
Since 1916, for players through their first 20 games:
- Puig's seven homers tie him with 14 others for the sixth most. Those with more: George Scott (9), Alvin Davis (9), Dusty Rhodes (8), Mandy Brooks (8) and Carlos Delgado (8). Puig's seven tie him with Matt Kemp for the most for a Dodgers player.
- Puig's 10 extra-base hits tie him with Ed Stevens and Tony Abreu for the fourth most for a Dodgers player. Del Bissonette (13), Gibby Brack (12) and Spider Jorgensen (11) are ahead of him.
- Puig's 34 hits are the most for any Dodgers player, ahead of Gibby Brack's 33. Those 34 place him in a tie with Danny Litwhiler, Terry Pendleton and Mark Lewis for the fourth most overall. Joe DiMaggio and Tom Oliver lead, with 37 apiece. Kirby Puckett had 35.
- Puig's 12 multihit games tie him with DiMaggio, Oliver and Roy Weatherly for the second most, behind Mark Lewis' 13.
- Puig's 14 RBIs tie him with Ed Stevens and Russell Martin for the ninth most for any Dodgers player. George Shuba leads with 20.
Jeremy Hellickson allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings against the Blue Jay, the Rays' offense contributed three consecutive home runs in the second inning, and Tampa Bay defeated Toronto, 4-1, to end its 11-game winning streak.
- With the victory against the (previously 38-36) Blue Jays, Hellickson improved to 19-13 with a 3.35 ERA in 48 games against teams with a .500 or better record. In 38 career games against teams with losing records, the Rays right-hander is 14-11 with a 3.61 ERA.
- For the game, the Rays allowed four hits, and they are holding opponents to a .244 batting average for the season. The mark ties Tampa Bay with the White Sox staff for the second lowest in the AL, behind the .243 of the Tigers. In 2012, the Rays led the AL in the category, with their .228 batting average against the lowest for any AL team in the DH Era (in 1972, the last season without the DH, three AL teams posted lower marks).
- The three straight homers in the second -- by James Loney, Wil Myers and Sam Fuld -- marked the second time in team history the club saw players go back-to-back-to-back. On June 9, 2008, Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro opened the second inning with three straight blasts against the Angels Joe Saunders.
- For the game, Myers was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and he has driven in seven runs in his first eight games. The seven through eight games are the most for any player in the franchise's 16-year history, topping the six from Carl Crawford and Ben Zobrist;
In the Indians' 5-2 win over the Orioles, second baseman Jason Kipnis was 1-for-4 with a double, a hit-by-pitch and a run scored. Kipnis owns a 1.059 OPS in June, and has 11 extra-base hits, 15 RBIs, 12 walks and seven steals in the month.
- The last Indians player to conclude June with an OPS as high as 1.059 (in at least 100 plate appearances) was Travis Hafner (1.117) in 2006, while the last Indians second baseman to do it was Roberto Alomar in 2001 (1.155).
- If Kipnis could reach 10 steals this month, he would be the 36th player since 1916 to have a June that featured double digits in walks, extra-base hits, steals and RBIs. The most recent player to do this was Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton in 2009. Since '16, four Indians players have done it: Braggo Roth in June 1918, and then Kenny Lofton in '93, '94 and '96.
- Kipnis has reached base safely in 26 straight games. The streak is tied for the third-longest active one in the Majors. Colorado's Michael Cuddyer sits at 40 games, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera is riding a 38-game streak and Boston's Jose Iglesias is also at 26 consecutive games.
- The Indians win over the Orioles improved Cleveland's record in June to 10-11 (they have won nine of their past 12). The Indians have not had a winning record in a June since 2007, and from 2008-12, their aggregate record for the month is 55-82 (only one team has a lower June winning percentage over that span).
In San Diego's 4-3 win over Philadelphia, Kyle Blanks drove in two runs in the ninth inning with a single, scored the game-tying run in that ninth inning and then singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th. The right fielder finished the game with four hits to go along with the three RBIs.
- Blanks has 17 RBIs this month - the most in a June for a Padres player since Adrian Gonzalez had 23 in 2010. The top mark for the month for the franchise is 31, by Dave Winfield in 1978.
- The Padres (39-38 overall) improved to 25-16 when Blanks is in the starting lineup.
- The Padres' win in 10 innings marked the 39th extra-inning game of the month. Since 1998, the top number for any June is 2007's 44.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.