Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds second after hitting a two run home run in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants during the game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
So I was watching R.A. Dickey pitching because I always watch R.A. Dickey pitching, and Gary Cohen happened to mention that Dickey's moving up on various leader boards, including innings pitched.
1. I was sort of surprised to learn that Dickey doesn't already lead the National League in innings.
2. I was really surprised to learn who does lead the National League in innings.
Which got me to thinking -- because, you know, I'm a Doctor of Thinkology --that if that really surprised me, there probably are some other things that would really surprise me. Or might surprise you. Or might surprise both of us, if we spent the last three months hibernating in a cave, without Internet.
Anyway, let's start with the innings guy and see what happens ...
Innings: Clayton Richard (135⅓)
The Padres' rotation has been a real mess this season ... and just imagine how messy it would have been without Richard, who also leads the league in losses (10) and sports a sub-par ERA but hey you can't have everything.
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio: Joe Blanton (6.4)
Yes, Joe Blanton. And it's not close as the next-closest guys, Matt Cain and Cliff Lee, are slightly under 5. Blanton's generally had pretty good strikeout-to-walk ratios, and especially in the last two seasons. But this year his walk rate is half his career walk rate, which does wonders for a man's K/BB if he maintains his strikeouts. Which Blanton has. Unfortunately he's also given up 20 home runs in 118 innings, and his ERA's even worse than Richard's.
Earned Runs Allowed: Tim Lincecum (69)
Hey, there's still hope. His strikeout-to-walk ratio's decent enough, and he's given up only 11 homers. But he's fared dreadfully with runners on base, leading to all those earned runs and that 5.93 ERA.
Earned Run Average: Ryan Dempster (1.86)
Sure, it "helps" that he spent some time on the Disabled List and missed five or six starts. Still, Dempster's been brilliant when he's pitched, and is currently working on a streak of 33 straight shutout innings.
Wins: R.A. Dickey (13)
With Thursday afternoon's victory against the Nationals, Dickey is tied (with David Price) for the major-league lead in wins, with just one loss on the other side of the ledger. As well as Dickey's pitched, he's just seventh in the league in ERA and has benefited from fantastic run support.
Next, the hitters.
Batting Average: Andrew McCutchen (.369)
Sure, he's young and everyone loved his potential and it was just a matter of time ... but McCutchen entered this season with a .276 career batting average, and hit just .259 last year. Oh, and McCutchen also leads the National League in slugging percentage.
Hits: Melky Cabrera (128)
Plus another couple of hits in the All-Star Game. Which he started.
Runs Batted In: Carlos Beltran (66)
Okay, so maybe it's not so surprising. But Beltran drove home only 84 runs last season, and has never led his league in RBI. Or for that matter, any other significant statistical category (except for a long time ago when he played in 162 games).
Really, though, what's most surprising is that Jason Kubel's only three RBI behind Beltrán, despite starting only 78 of his team's 91 games this season. Gosh, I wonder what sort of idiot would have questioned the Diamondbacks' wisdom in signing Kubel?