MLB Notebook: Davis crushing at All-Star break
Entering the 1921 campaign, the top two marks for total bases in a season had been produced in 1920, when the Yankees' Babe Ruth collected 388 and the Browns' George Sisler tallied 399. And while Sisler dropped to only 326 in 1921, Ruth reached a height that has not been seen since: 457.
In that incomparable 1921 campaign, the Yankees' 96th game was played on August 5, and it saw New York take a 7-3 contest against Detroit, with Ruth having a relatively quiet day at the plate: a mere single in three at-bats.
With the line, the soon-to-be record holder in the total-base category for a single season had 281 total bases on the season, giving him an average of 2.93 per team game. On his way to his first All-Star Game in 2013, Chris Davis -- who has more total bases than anyone in baseball and has collected as many at the All-Star break as anyone ever has -- is now averaging 2.56 per team game.
In the Orioles' final game of the first half, Davis went 2-for-4, with a home run, a double and four RBIs. The performance gives him a .315/.392/.717 line, with 37 homers, 64 extra-base hits, and 93 RBIs.
The 37 home runs place Davis in a tie with Reggie Jackson (1969) and Mark McGwire ('98) for the second most at the All-Star break, with only Barry Bonds (39 in 2001) having more.
The 93 RBIs give Davis the seventh most for a player at the All-Star break. He and Miguel Cabrera (30 home runs and 95 RBIs in 2013) are the only two players since 1933 with at least 30 home runs and 90 runs driven in at the break.
Davis' 64 extra-base hits are the second most for a player at the All-Star break, behind the 66 collected by Edgar Martinez in 1996.
His 246 total bases tie him with Luis Gonzalez (2001) for the most for a player at the All-Star break. Cabrera finished his first half in 2013 with 244. Davis' .717 slugging percentage is the 19th highest for a player (minimum 250 plate appearances) before the All-Star break, and his 1.109 OPS is tied for the 67th highest.
Davis has 14 games with two or more extra-base hits. For all players since 1916, those 14 through his team's first 96 games tie Davis for the 19th most.
Archer continues Rays' impressive staff work
Chris Archer threw a five-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and no walks as the Rays blanked the Astros, 5-0.
At 24 years and 291 days old, Archer is the youngest Rays pitcher to throw a shutout with no more than five hits allowed and no walks issued.
The Rays have 11 team shutouts -- the second most in the American League and the most through 96 games in the franchise's 16-year history.
Over their past 21 games, the Rays are 17-4 and own a team ERA of 2.03.
Mauer at 30 doubles
Joe Mauer collected his 30th double of the first half, the second most for any Senators or Twins player at the All-Star break. In 1994, Chuck Knoblauch had 37.
Choo and Votto teaming up
The Reds defeated the Braves, 8-4, on Sunday, with Shin-Soo Choo contributing two hits and two walks and Joey Votto adding a hit and two walks (the duo also combined for five runs, two RBIs, a double and a home run). The Reds teammates are 1-2 in the National League in on-base percentage, with Votto at .434 and Choo sitting on a .425 mark. The only other first half of a season in the All-Star era to see two Reds players with on-base percentages of at least .425 (with a minimum of 250 plate appearances) was 1976, when Joe Morgan led the NL at the break with a .463 OBP and Pete Rose was second in the league with a .432 mark.
A's at the All-Star break
Donaldson posts stellar first half
Josh Donaldson hit a game-tying two-run home run in the seventh and then drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single in the 11th, and the Athletics defeated the Red Sox, 3-2. Donaldson enters the All-Star break with a .310/.379/.522 line, and has 23 doubles and a triple, 16 homers, 61 RBIs, 40 walks and 50 runs. Donaldson is the ninth Athletics player to enter the All-Star break with at least 40 extra-base hits, 40 walks, 60 RBIs and a .900 OPS.
Chacin joins nine-win club
Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin limited the Dodgers to one run and six hits in six innings, and picked up his ninth win of the year while lowering his ERA to 3.50. Chacin joins teammate Jorge De La Rosa -- who owns a 3.21 ERA -- in the nine-win club this year. Before this season, only one other Rockies pitcher had entered the break with at least nine victories and an ERA no higher than 3.50: Ubaldo Jimenez, who was 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 2010.
Red-hot Cardinals top standings
The Cardinals collected 21 hits (with the first seven batters in the starting lineup having multihit games) and defeated the Cubs, 10-6, on Sunday.
St. Louis enters the break with the best record in the Majors (57-36), giving the Cardinals their best first-half winning percentage (.613) since 2005, and their ninth best in the All-Star era.
In the victory, Yadier Molina was 4-for-6 with four RBIs, and hit his seventh home run of the year. Molina enters the break with a .341 batting average, the highest first-half mark (minimum 250 plate appearances) for a Cardinals player since 2008 (Albert Pujols, .350) and the highest for a Cardinals catcher since 1967 (Tim McCarver, .348).
Allen Craig went 4-for-5 with one hit in one at-bat with runners in scoring position. Craig is batting .489 with runners in scoring position this year, the highest average for any player with at least 100 plate appearances in the situation (there are 51 players who qualify). Craig also owns the fourth-highest slugging average in the split, and the fourth-highest OPS. In the division era (since 1969), there have been only five players to finish a season with at least 200 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and a .400 batting average. Magglio Ordonez hit .429 in 2007, and he is followed by Paul O'Neill (.428 in 1997), Cecil Cooper (.416 in '80), Andres Galarraga (.413 in '96) and Pedro Guerrero (.400 in '89). If one drops the minimum plate appearances to 150, there are 28 players who finished with a batting average of at least .400, with the high mark of .469 produced by George Brett in 1980.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.