My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
– After hurling six shutout innings in the Chicago Cubs’ win on Saturday, Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, B.C.) has now pitched 33 consecutive scoreless innings. I checked with venerable Canadian baseball statistician Neil Munro and he’s pretty certain that this is a Canadian record. In 1974, Chatham, Ont., native Fergie Jenkins pitched 29 consecutive scoreless frames between August 27 and September 8 as a member of the Texas Rangers.
– Speaking of Munro, I’m one of the fortunate people that he sends his mid-season report on Canadian players to each year. Just one of the great pieces of information included in that report is that Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) has 35 doubles and is on pace to break the big league single-season record of 67 set by Earl Webb with the Boston Red Sox in 1931.
– More gold from Munro’s report: On May 3, Pittsburgh Pirates lefty Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.) struck out 11 batters in a game against the Cardinals. This was the 14th game in which the Canuck southpaw has struck out at least 10 batters, moving him into a tie with Dempster for the second most 10-strikeout games by a Canadian. Jenkins fanned 10 or more batters in 48 contests.
– And yet another great nugget from Munro’s report: With his homer against the Padres on May 26, Mets catcher Mike Nickeas (Vancouver, B.C.) became the 22nd Canadian to hit a grand slam. New Brunswick native Matt Stairs has hit the most grand slams by a Canadian (12) – three of them off of Dempster.
– I thought I followed ex-Blue Jays as closely as anyone, but I didn’t know until yesterday that Jeremy Accardo was a member of the Cleveland Indians bullpen.
– As good as Joey Votto has been over the past three seasons, he has yet to register a hit in three all-star games. After his 0-for-3 performance on Tuesday, he’s now 0 for 7 in the Midsummer Classic.
– One second-half milestone to watch out for is Justin Morneau’s quest to become the fourth Canadian to belt 200 home runs in their career. The New Westminster, B.C., native needs four round-trippers to join that exclusive club which currently includes Larry Walker (383 home runs), Stairs (265) and Jason Bay (207).