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Albert Pujols and Joey Votto must go through Omar Infante to win the Triple Crown

Aug 24, 2010, 1:49 PM EDT

Believe it or not, Omar Infante may determine whether Albert Pujols or Joey Votto can win the Triple Crown.
Pujols leads the NL in homers and RBIs while ranking third in batting average. Votto leads the league in batting average while ranking second in RBIs and third in homers. There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, but the two best hitters in the league are set up to go hit-for-hit down the stretch in search of the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
That is, unless Infante gets enough playing time to qualify for the batting title.
Despite (controversially) making the All-Star team Infante spent the first half as merely a part-time player for the Braves, so right now he has just 338 plate appearances and his .350 batting average doesn’t appear on the official leaderboard. However, now that he’s playing every day Infante is rapidly closing in on the 502 plate appearances needed to qualify.
Plus, if he finishes a small number of plate appearances short there’s a rule in place that will give him hitless at-bats until he reaches 502. In other words, if he hits .350 in 490 plate appearances Infante will then be given an 0-for-12 for the purposes of determining the batting title.
Infante has averaged 4.5 plate appearances per start this season, so assuming he’s in the lineup for, say, 35 of the final 37 games he’d end up with around 495 plate appearances. It may prove to be a moot point if Infante slumps over the final six weeks, but right now he has a 27-point edge over Votto and is definitely a factor in the Triple Crown picture.

  1. nps6724 - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Question: why when Philly is 22-8 it’s indicative of their true talent but when the Braves go 20-8 in May it isn’t? Because Philly has bigger names and pays their guys more? Because of their recent success? Because they wear more red? Or is it the cheese steaks they eat? I’m all for cheering your favorite team, but at least try to be a LITTLE objective. There’s a reason after 125 games Atlanta is still in 1st. And it has nothing to do with Philly. Especially since Philly’s winning % last year was .574 and was .568 in 2008. If they win tonight, they’ll be at .568 again. They’re right where they should be. In 2nd place.

    Go ahead and knock the Pythagorean W-L if you want. Philly the past 2 years has been 1 game off each time.

  2. nps6724 - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Then your eyes are blind. You don’t magically get to 1st place after 125 games. Unless you think only the Phillies are good. Which you seem to. And if you’re only watching the times Atlanta plays Philly, then you’re really uninformed.

    If you look at the WAR leaders, they are all names you would expect to be there in 2010. Hamilton, Cano, Zimmerman, Beltre, Votto, Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Andres Torres, Longoria, Crawford, Huff, Holliday, Mauer, Jose Bautista, and Adrian Gonzalez are your top 15. Any of those who don’t deserve it based on 2010? I didn’t think so.

  3. nps6724 - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    The Braves are 7-5 vs. Philly this year. So head-to-head may not be what you really want. Halladay is the only guy I’d chalk up a loss to. Oswalt and Hamels are both good, but so are Hanson and Jurrjens. Hanson just came off a streak of 9 games allowing 1 or fewer runs. Don’t let his run of bad luck (super-high BABIP) or his record fool you.

    I really hope the final series of the year decides the NL East and the Wild Card and then the Braves and Phils meet in the NLCS. That would be some fun.

  4. CJ - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    be that as it may, the Phillies haven’t had their regular lineup in place for months (even still, since, though Howard as returned, polanco had the night off last night. Tonight should be the first time their starting 8 has played together in literally months).
    As for starting pitching, Hanson has been inconsistent this year, though better lately, and you’re forgetting one very critical factor: Bobby Cox’s loyalty. Do you really think he’d leave Lowe out of a playoff rotation? I know you WANT him to, but do you really think he would? I’m not so sure. Cox may do it, but only because Lowe is more experienced coming out of the bullpen from earlier in his career. It is possible that the major reason why players love playing for Cox could be the one thing that bites them in the rear this postseason.

  5. nps6724 - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    That’s a good point re: Lowe. I don’t know.

  6. Fernando - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Chris – I’ll have to disagree that the Phillies have the best 1-2-3 in baseball. Wainwright, Carpenter and Garcia have produced much better results than Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt.

  7. Tony A - Aug 25, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    Hey, NPS, check out the 1906 Cubs before you blow that smoke about no team ever playing .750 ball…

  8. nps6724 - Aug 25, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    The fact you had to go back to when Mordecai “Three finger” Brown was playing to find a team that did it speaks for itself. Hell, the Cubs hadn’t even won the world Series yet!

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