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Eric Thames is having himself an April so far. In his return to MLB, the 30-year-old Brewers first baseman has batted .370/.489/.904, with that last italicized-for-emphasis number powered by a league-leading 11 homers. Milwaukee and Thames have three games left to play this month, and in those three games, the best story of 2017 so far has a chance to tie or set a record for homers in baseball's opening month.
In 2006, Albert Pujols smashed 14 dingers in April, en route to a career-high 49 for the season — that set a new record for the month. A year later, Alex Rodriguez tied that mark with his own 14 blasts, which inevitably led to 54 homers and the league lead with an MVP on top of all that. Thames has a long way to go before we see him approach either of those season figures or the lines they're attached to, but three homers shy of joining that duo for an April record is certainly in the cards.
It helps that Thames gets to face the Braves for the next three games. Bartolo Colon is many things, but he's not a guy who limits homers. The same goes for Jaime Garcia, who had a problem with the long ball a year ago that has continued into the start of 2017. Mike Foltynewicz only has 248 career innings, but he's given up 1.4 homers per nine over those frames, so, yeah, Thames has a pretty good shot at 14 bombs, especially since Atlanta's bullpen hasn't been much better at keeping the ball in the park.
This all assumes that the leg injury Thames was pulled for on Wednesday is minor enough that Thursday's day off is all the rest he needs, of course. It didn't look serious, more precautionary than anything, so we'll know either way soon.
- John Henry abandoned the Marlins to buy the Red Sox, and despite this, he's likely the best owner the organization has ever had. That's, uh, not normal, but with Jeffrey Loria on the way out and the Derek Jeter/Jeb Bush tag team on the way in, maybe Miami will finally see some normalcy.
- The Pirates called up the first-ever African-born MLB player on Wednesday. Gift Ngoepe took advantage of the moment by singling in his first at-bat.
- Aaron Judge hit an opposite-field homer and made a diving catch into the stands on his own birthday.
- Eric Thames' start is powered by something, sure, and it definitely begins with a "p." As Mike Petriello explains, it's plate discipline fueling the powerful Thames.
- Here are five reasons why the White Sox have been fun to watch so far in 2017.
- Here's Beyond the Box Score on how Albert Pujols has become a forgotten man
- Mike Matheny still thinks it's 2013, and that isn't great news for the Cardinals.
- Ben Lindbergh wonders if MLB teams are gaming the new 10-day DL system.
- Here's Jeff Sullivan on what he's calling the Joey Gallo Threshold.