In 2012, San Francisco's Buster Posey reached an offensive height that no previous Giants catcher had previously attained. Producing a 171 OPS+ , which was tied for the third highest for any qualifying backstop in the modern era, Posey won the National League MVP Award and helped navigate his ballclub to a World Series title.
Last year, Yadier Molina couldn't match Posey's adjusted and contextualized OPS, but his 130 did give him the 10th highest for a catcher in Cardinals history, and his 44 doubles established a new bar for any NL backstop in league history. Molina's lumber helped carry the Cards all the way to a league pennant.
Hopping on this theme in 2014, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has already collected 33 doubles (through 101 team games), and -- even with a recent skid that came to a resounding halt on Tuesday night -- he owns a 142 OPS+ that would be the highest in team history for a Brewers catcher who qualified for the batting title.
Milwaukee can only hope that such lofty production from its All-Star catcher can help carry the Brewers to the kind of excess enjoyed by Posey's 2012 Giants and Molina's 2013 Cardinals.
Lucroy walks off a winner
Facing the Reds' Sam LeCure, Lucroy led off the bottom of the ninth Tuesday with a game-ending home run to give the Brewers a 4-3 win. Lucroy now has two career walk-off home runs, with both coming against Cincinnati. Last season, he hit a two-run shot off of Aroldis Chapman as the Reds reliever was trying to seal a 6-5 victory.
Lucroy's ninth-inning homer Tuesday contest was his second round-tripper of the game, making him the seventh player in team history to have a walk-off home run as the final statement in a multihomer game. The others: Cecil Cooper (July 27, 1979), Sixto Lezcano (April 10, 1980), Matt Mieske (June 16, 1994), Jeromy Burnitz (July 25, 1998), Richie Sexson (Sept. 1, 2001) and Norichika Aoki (June 7, 2012). Lucroy's two solo homers followed bases-empty long balls from Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez, who went back to back in the first. The most recent time Milwaukee had hit at least four home runs in a win and had as many homers as runs was on Sept. 2, 2002, in the first game of a doubleheader vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Headley a hero in Yanks debut
In his first game since being acquired by the Yankees earlier in the day, Chase Headley gave his new team a victory with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th.
The win over the Rangers -- which had included Jacoby Ellsbury delivering a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the 13th -- was the first since July 31, 2005, to see the Yankees produce a game-tying hit in one extra inning and follow that hit with a game-ending knock in a subsequent frame. In the aforementioned win against the Angels in '05, Gary Sheffield produced the game-tying single in the 10th and Tony Womack won the contest with a single in the 11th.
In addition to Headley producing a walk-off hit, Jeff Francis picked up the win in his debut with New York. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Headley was the first batter to deliver a walk-off RBI in his Yankees debut since Roy Weatherly on April 22, 1943. In that contest, Weatherly produced a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth with the Yankees down by one to the Senators.
Jeter tops another list
In the bottom of the ninth Tuesday, Derek Jeter collected his 535th career double to enter into sole possession of first place on the Yankees' all-time list.
Jeter, who had been tied with Lou Gehrig, is also the Yankees' all-time leader in games, at-bats, plate appearances, hits, strikeouts, steals and times on base. He is second in runs (behind Babe Ruth), third in total bases (behind Ruth and Gehrig), fourth in walks (behind Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Gehrig), fifth in extra-base hits (behind Gehrig, Ruth, Mantle and Joe DiMaggio), and fourth in offensive WAR (behind Ruth, Mantle and Gehrig).
Altuve's hits come in bunches
In the Astros' 3-2 win over the Athletics, Jose Altuve went 3-for-6 to register his 43rd multihit game of the year.
Over the past 10 seasons, Altuve is one of nine players to have at least 43 multihit games through his team's first 100 contests. Ichiro Suzuki owns the top three figures, with 48 in 2007, and 47 each in '06 and '09. After Suzuki, the list aligns this way: Jose Reyes (46 in '11), Melky Cabrera (46 in '12), Martin Prado (44 in '10), Miguel Tejada (43 in '09) and Adrian Gonzalez (43 in '11).
Dating back to 1914, Chuck Klein (57 in 1930) and Ducky Medwick (57 in 1937) share the mark for the most through 100 team games.
Rizzo rolling in July
Anthony Rizzo popped two homers -- the third multihomer game of the year for the NL leader in round-trippers -- and the Cubs blanked the Padres, 6-0.
Rizzo has eight home runs and is slugging .681 in July. The most recent Cubs player to finish a July with at least 75 plate appearances and a slugging percentage of at least .680 was Ramirez in 2006, when he slugged .750. The most recent Cubs player to do this and be in his age-24 or younger season (like Rizzo): Gabby Hartnett, who slugged .862 in July 1925.
Here and there
• Jacob deGrom allowed a run and five hits in seven innings and picked up the win as the Mets defeated the Mariners, 3-1. The right-hander, who also fanned seven and issued one walk, is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 34 strikeouts in four starts in July. The only Mets first-year pitcher to finish a month (or a March/April or September/October) with a sub-2.00 ERA and at least 30 K's: Dwight Gooden in 1984. That season, Doc had 40 K's and a 1.99 ERA in six June starts, and a 1.29 ERA and 62 strikeouts in five starts in September.
• The Rays, behind starter Jake Odorizzi, won their sixth straight, defeating Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals, 7-2. On June 10, Tampa Bay and Odorizzi lost to Wainwright and St. Louis, 1-0, to fall a season-low 18 games under .500 and a season-worst 15 games out of first place. Since then, they have gone 24-11 for the best record in the Majors, and they are now eight games off the lead in the American League East.
• With switch-hitters Reyes and Cabrera each contributing three hits and switch-hitters Reyes and Dioner Navarro each homering, the Blue Jays defeated the Red Sox, 7-3. Before this contest, the Blue Jays had only one other game in which they had multiple switch-hitters produce three-hit lines and multiple switch-hitters hit home runs. On Sept. 4, 2001 -- in a 14-0 win against the Yankees -- Toronto had Jose Cruz, Jr., Felipe Lopez and Cesar Izturis all have three hits, while Cruz, Lopez (two homers) and Tony Fernandez all went deep.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.