By Scott Barancik, Editor

Here are your MLB highlights for the week of September 9-15, 2019:

Mazel tov

  • Israel’s national baseball team finished 4th in the 12-team European Championship that ended Sunday (9/15/2019), good enough to advance to the Olympic qualifiers taking place in Italy from September 18-22.

Stats to share

  • Two players — rookie Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) and veteran Ryan Braun (Brewers) —┬áreached the 20-HR plateau last week. That brings to 5 the number of Jewish players with 20-plus home runs this season, smashing the previous record of 3 set in 2009 by Ryan Braun (32), Ian Kinsler (31) and Kevin Youkilis (27), and matched in 2016 and 2018. Jewish home-run hitters have not always been so prolific. From 1980 through 1996, for example, not a single player broke the 20-HR barrier.
  • Braun’s 20th home run was historic. A go-ahead grand slam, it came with 2 outs in the 9th, a full count, and the Brewers trailing. According to Baseball Reference, it was just the 5th grand slam in Major League history to match those criteria.

  • Alex Bregman (Astros) and Joc Pederson (Dodgers) have matched the record for most Jewish players with 30-plus home runs in a single season. Shawn Green (42) and Mike Lieberthal (31) set the record in 1999, which was equaled in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
  • Bregman has more walks this season (109) than anyone but Mike Trout (110). Meanwhile, he is averaging 1.4 walks for every strikeout, by far the best in the Major Leagues. Speaking of Trout, columnist Richard Justice makes a strong case for why Bregman should be named American League MVP this season, but it looks like sportswriters rank him second to the Angels centerfielder.
  • When 20-year-old Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. stole his 35th base and stroked his 35th home run of the season recently, he became the youngest player in Major League history to reach the 35/35 plateau, an exclusive club populated by only 15 players. The sixth-youngest player in the club is Shawn Green, who joined it in 1998 at age 25.

At the plate

  • C Garrett Stubbs (Astros) hit .400 (2-for-5) with a double.
  • 3B Alex Bregman (Astros) hit .222 (4-for-18) with 2 HRs, a double, 4 RBIs, an astounding 9 walks, and a .481 OBP.
  • 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) hit .211 (4-for-19) with 2 HRs and 4 RBIs. He also made a nifty over-the-head catch.

  • CF Kevin Pillar (Giants) hit .250 (6-for-24) with a double. Speaking of catches, how many times has Pillar made this play in 2019? We’re running out of fingers.

  • LF Joc Pederson (Dodgers) hit .250 (5-for-20) with 2 doubles and a .286 OBP.
  • LF Ryan Braun (Brewers) hit just .105 (2-for-19) but he made the most of his two hits, stroking 2 HRs — his 19th and 20th of the season — and driving in 7 runs. Braun now has 10 season of 20-plus home runs, tying him for #4 among active Major Leaguers.
  • 2B Ian Kinsler (Padres) is out for the rest of the season with a herniated cervical disk.

On the mound

  • Richard Bleier (Orioles) went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA across 3 games. In 4 no-hit innings, he yielded just one walk and struck out one. After going 0-0 with a 7.27 ERA, 2 saves, and 1.50 walks/hits per inning before the All-Star break, Bleier is 3-0 since then, with a 3.86 ERA, one save, and 1.24 walks/hits per inning.
  • Max Fried (Braves) had a rough week, losing two starts while posting a 12.27 ERA.
  • Robert Stock (Padres) is out for the rest of the season with a right bicep strain.

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