Todd Frazier has reached base in 22 straight games. He's hitting .294/.354/.554, making him a top-25 hitter in his rookie season. In the past 30 days, only Buster Posey, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and teammate Ryan Ludwick have put up bigger numbers. In that same 30-day stretch, the Reds have gone 19-11, blazing to the best record in baseball and giving themselves a shot at their first World Series in 22 years.
So what does the best team in baseball do with the guy who's been its best hitter for the past two months? Bat him cleanup? Give him a long-term deal? Throw him a parade?
Not quite. When Joey Votto comes off the disabled list on Saturday, Dusty Baker plans to look Frazier square in the eye, and give him the good news. Congratulations, you've just been benched.
Here are the most compelling matchups, stories, and personalities in Major League Baseball for the coming weekend.
10. Reality Cometh for One (BAL-CLE)
Now for this weekend’s metaphorical boxing match between two of the luckiest teams in baseball. In one corner, we have the Baltimore Orioles — 48-44, in a really good division, with a run differential of -55. In this corner, you've got the Cleveland Indians, standing 47-45 in a pretty good division, with a run differential of -36. Stick with me while I analyze these teams with some complex baseball terminology: They are total flukes. In games decided by two runs or less, the Orioles are 32-14 (first in baseball), and the Indians are 25-16 (good for fourth). But do they have great starting pitching? Nope. Do they have great bullpen pitching? Baltimore is pretty solid, but Cleveland is near the bottom. What about run-scoring from the seventh inning on? Again, average to below average for both. Average with RISP and two outs? Mediocre. All this means that both teams have been very, very lucky to stay above, and that both are due for bad times. If you get excited by regression, then you'll be riveted by this series, where cold, hard, statistical truth will dig its icy claws into temporary luck.