MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

10 records to watch for down the stretch

10 records to watch for down the stretch

Barry Bonds' record of 73 homers in 2001 (yes, he really hit them, so that's the record, folks) is safe from Giancarlo Stanton.

The 116-win totals of the 1906 Cubs and 2001 Mariners are no longer likely to be matched by the Dodgers, who always had a bigger goal in mind, anyway. But here are 10 other records or statistical oddities in play in this final month of the season. All stats are through Sunday's games.

1. Stanton: Masher of multiples
There is actually a home-run record Stanton can obtain this season. He has nine multi-homer games, just two shy of the record held by Sammy Sosa (1998) and Hank Greenberg (1938). One fun thing about Stanton's homer parade is that the Marlins' last three road series take place in the launching pads of Citizens Bank Park, Chase Field and Coors Field.

Stanton's two-homer, 5 RBI game

2. MLB: Long live the long ball!
It's not just Stanton breaking homer barriers. Barring a sudden, seismic shift in rate here in September, this season will destroy the all-time mark for homers hit in a single season. That record was set in 2000, right in the heart of the so-called "steroid era," when 5,693 homers were hit.

The 5,000 mark was passed last week, and MLB is on pace to venture well north of 6,000. The Astros and Rangers are contributing to the explosion, as the Texas teams are on pace for two of the top-10 homer totals in history.

The Reds, on the other hand, are on pace to break their own all-time record of 258 homers allowed, set just last year.

Springer's 30th homer

3. Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger: Rousing rooks
Judge's second half has been nowhere near as extraordinary as the first, but that doesn't mean his 2017 won't go down as one of the better rookie years of all-time. Judge has 38 homers, meaning he'll likely fall shy of Mark McGwire's rookie record of 49 in 1987. But he could become the first rookie since McGwire -- and just the fifth all-time -- to lead his league in long balls (he entered the week in sole possession of the American League top spot).

Judge's massive two-run homer

Judge is also on the verge of breaking the rookie walks record of 107, set by none other than Ted Williams in 1939. He entered the week with 99 walks.

Bellinger is a veritable lock for a new National League rookie record for home runs. He hit his 36th of the season on Sunday, and the record of 38 is shared by Wally Berger (1930 Boston Braves) and Frank Robinson (1956 Reds).

Must C: Bellinger breaks record

4. Jose Altuve: Road runner
The highest single-season road batting average in history belongs to Harry Heilmann of the 1925 Tigers (.456), and nobody's approaching that anytime soon. But what Altuve has done away from the confines of Minute Maid Park this season is still pretty nuts.

Just look at the list of names Altuve has "visited" with this year:

Best single-season road batting averages
• Heilmann (1925 Tigers), .456
• Rogers Hornsby (1921 Cardinals), .419
• Ty Cobb (1925 Tigers), .418
• Stan Musial (1948 Cardinals), .415
• Cobb (1917 Tigers), .414
• Joe DiMaggio (1939 Yankees), .413
• Altuve (2017 Astros), .413

When Heilmann set the record, the Major Leagues as a whole hit .288 on the road. This year, they're batting just .251, which only adds to the Altuve allure. If Altuve is the road runner, the D-backs' Robbie Ray is the road block. After his brilliant outing against the Dodgers on Monday, Ray's 1.34 ERA on the road is currently the 12th-lowest all-time among qualifiers and the second-lowest this century, behind only 2005 Roger Clemens (1.32).

Altuve's infield single in 8th

5. Joey Gallo: Not much of a singles scene
No player better represents the current environment's love of launch angle and acceptance of the K quite like this Rangers slugger, who is on track to find himself in rare statistical territory when all is said and done.

Gallo had 37 home runs and only 24 singles at the start of the week. In big league history, only two other men have qualified for the batting title and hit more homers than singles -- McGwire in his record-setting 1998 and again in '99, and Barry Bonds in his record-setting 2001.

Gallo would be by far the youngest of the group, having done it in his age-23 season. Bonds and McGwire were both in their mid-30s. Gallo's 57.1-percent fly-ball rate is the second-highest FanGraphs has on record (going back to 2002), barely behind 2006 Frank Thomas (57.3).

Gallo's solo home run

6. Multiple players: Crazy K rates
Gallo is also a big part of a major surge in strikeouts. Prior to 2017, there had only been two players in history who qualified for a batting title while striking out in 35 percent or more of their plate appearances: Chris Carter (36.2) in 2013 and Mark Reynolds (35.4) in 2010.

But there are four such players in 2017 alone -- Gallo (36.6), Chris Davis (36.5), Miguel Sano (35.8) and Trevor Story (35.3).

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson isn't in that group, but he's still logged a strange strikeout-related stat. He has struck out 132 times and walked 12 times, a rate of just 0.09 walks for every strikeout. This would tie the modern era's all-time lowest rate set by Ivan Rodriguez with the Tigers in 2007, when the future Hall of Famer walked nine times and struck out 96 times.

The next-closest rate belongs to another Chicago shortstop, Shawon Dunston of the Cubs, who had 0.11 walks per strikeout in 1997. So basically, every 10 years, somebody gets into this rare rate terrain.

7. Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber: Strikeout specialists
This K stuff runs both ways, and these three aces among aces have put up some special strikeout stats this season.

Sale has notched 0.36 strikeouts per batter faced; Scherzer is at 0.35 and Kluber is at 0.34. None of them will top the single-season mark set by Pedro Martinez in 1999 (0.375), but each would fall in the top eight. Additionally, Scherzer is on track for one of the three lowest WHIP marks (0.85) since the mound was lowered in 1969.

Scherzer's dominant performance

8. Indians and Astros: K Club
No team in the modern era has ever logged a double-digit strikeouts-per-nine rate as a full staff (the Milwaukee Cream Citys are credited with a rate of 12.03 K/9 in 104 innings in 1884). The Indians are leading the league with a 10.06 K/9 mark, and the Astros are right behind at 9.95.

Kluber's 14th win

9. Derek Holland and Ariel Miranda: Homer-prone
Obviously, "more strikeouts" and "more homers" is something of a recurring theme. Within that context, Holland and Miranda could become just the fifth and sixth qualified pitchers in history to give up at least two homers per nine innings. Holland is at 2.08, Miranda at 2.10 (John Lackey is close behind at 1.95). Jose Lima set the record in 2000, at 2.20.

10. Jed Lowrie and Brandon Drury: "Inter"stellar
You want obscure? We've got obscure!

Two second basemen have a chance to set a record by… reaching second base. Currently, the A's Lowrie and the D-backs' Drury are tied with seven other players for the single-season record for doubles in Interleague play, with 11.

Maybe this isn't quite "McGwire and Sosa in 1998" territory, but keep an eye on this when the A's play in Philadelphia on Sept. 15-17 and the D-backs play in Kansas City on the final weekend of the season.

These guys make being "out of your league" a good thing.

Drury's RBI double

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.