Ronald Acuña Jr. became the first-ever member of the MLB’s 30th stolen home base club last month. Then he created the 40-60 club last week.
You can probably guess where this is headed.
The Atlanta Braves star stole his 70th base of the season to become the first player in MLB history to record a 40-70 season, as he swiped a sack in the 10th inning against the Chicago Cubs.
Acuña reached base by tying the game with a single to the opposite field to score the extra innings runner. He stole the bag on the next pitch, then celebrated by pulling second base out of the ground and raising it above his head as the Braves fans gave him a standing ovation:
The moment halted a tense situation for the Cubs, who are currently fighting for life in the playoff race and are now tied with the Miami Marlins for third place in the NFL. Of course, the team only had themselves to blame after blowing a lead in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings, a day after Seiya Suzuki’s error cost the game.
The next batter, Ozzie Albies, put the game away on the next pitch with a line drive single to right for a 6-5 win.
The win was notable for the Braves 102-58, as it earned them the best record in the National League, 4.5 games ahead of the Dodgers 97-60. The 99-59 Baltimore Orioles are the only team left in the AL that can get home-field advantage in a hypothetical World Series.
Acuña, the current favorite for NL MVP honors, was clearly an important part of those 102 wins. His stolen base total was aided by recent MLB rules changes that limit home runs and expand the bases, yes, but the 2023 season His is still one of the best power-speed combinations in MLB history.
This type of season is so unprecedented that none of the other players to record a 40-40 season — Jose Canseco (1988), Barry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Alfonso Soriano (2006) — posted 50 bases, let alone 70.
With the top seed and likely MVP secured, all that’s left for Acuña is to compete for his first career world championship. The Braves will begin their NLDS playoff campaign against the winner of the Wild Card Series between the No. 4 and 5 seeds, currently the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.
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