This must be the year of the leadoff power hitter.
|Springer: Leadoff slugger|
The American League has one of their own, similarly, playing in the West conference and on a contender, Houston's George Springer is among the leaders in home runs and RBI.
In Houston's 7-2 win at Texas Sunday, Springer was the catalyst leading off the game with a solo homer - his 15th - singling in another run in the second inning and popping a second solo shot in the fourth (#16), as the Astros built a 6-0 lead en route to their 10th straight victory and a whopping 13 1/2 game lead in the AL West.
Springer's totals are eye-popping, especially for a leadoff hitter. He's tied for third in home runs and his 37 RBI are tied - with New York's Matt Holliday and Tampa Bay's Logan Morrison - for eighth. He has one more RBI than Mike Trout.
Houston's streak has them playing .719 ball, with a record of 41-16, easily the best in the majors. After taking three of four from Detroit, they've swept the Orioles, Twins and Rangers, the last two on the road. Taking their road show to Kansas City, the Astros open a four game series with the last place Royals on Monday at 8:15 pm ET.
Reds' pitchers simply couldn't keep Inciarte off the bases. He singled and scored in the first, singled in a run in the second, socked a three-run homer in the third, was intentionally walked in the fifth, singled again in the seventh and capped off his day with an RBI single in the ninth.
Inciarte, in his fourth year as Atlanta's center fielder, deserves notice, if not for his power, but all-around solid play. A career .293 batting average, 66 stolen bases, 497 hits and 247 runs in 1698 at-bats are close to all-star level numbers.
Atlanta's win gave them sole possession of second place in the NL East, though they trail the Nationals by 10 1/2 games. Cincy dropped into a tie for last place with Pittsburgh in the Central, but they are only four games behind division leader, Milwaukee.
The Reds stay home to host the Cardinals for four games starting Monday, while the Braves head home for a pair of four-game series, starting with the Phillies on Monday, followed by the Mets, Friday, with a double header on Saturday.