Some Notes from the Middle Third of the Baseball Season

I’m behind on posting some notes that I find interesting from the baseball season.  Here are a few from the middle third (June and July) of the 2015 season.

Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis established the all-time MLB record for consecutive errorless games by a non-pitcher on June 18, breaking the previous mark of 392 set by Darren Lewis from 1990-94.   Markakis extended the streak to a new record of 398 consecutive games without an error until June 25, when Denard Span of the Washington Nationals singled to right leading off and Markakis bobbled the ball for an error, allowing Span to take second base.  Markakis had not made an error since Aug. 10, 2012, while with the Baltimore Orioles.  Markakis signed with Atlanta in the off-season.
 
On June 28 the  St. Louis Cardinals not only became baseball’s first 50-win team of the season, they became the first team in a decade to reach that mark in its first 74 games.  The 2005 Chicago White Sox were the last team to reach 50 wins that quickly, along the way to winning that year’s World Series championship.  Thirteen of the last 17 clubs to reach 50 games by this point in the season (just before the halfway mark) went on to finish with at least 100 victories, and only two of those teams missed the playoffs.  Four of the previous 18 teams over the past 50 years to attain 50 wins before losing 25 games — the Tigers (1984), Mets (1986), Yankees (1998) and those 2005 White Sox — went on to win the World Series that season.
 
On July 7, Joey Rickard, a Tampa Bay Rays OF prospect, walked a Southern League record six times in a win for the AA Montgomery Biscuits.  He didn’t swing once in his six trips to the plate. That patience earned the 24-year-old a run batted in and two runs scored. He also recorded three stolen bases. Rickard posted a .418 on-base percentage (OBP) across two minor league levels to that point in the season and had a .319 batting average since joining Montgomery on May 8.  Rickard finished the season at AAA Durham. improving his OBP and OPS (On-base percentage Plus Slugging percentage) at each level.  His combined 2015 season batting average was .321 with a .427 OBP.  
 
I have lots of notes for August-September….
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