Ronald Acuna Jr hits two home runs Spencer Strider hits

Ronald Acuña Jr. hits two home runs, Spencer Strider hits 11 vs. Phillies –

ATLANTA – After nearly matching the Braves’ single-season strikeout record in the modern era in a 9-3 win over the Phillies on Tuesday night at Truist Park, Spencer Strider came into the game wearing a 30-60 T-shirt Interview Room Designed to commemorate Ronald Acuña Jr., who became the first player to hit 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in the same season.

“He’s going to discard the t-shirt they made for him pretty quickly, so I thought I’d wear it,” Strider said. “Yes, I’m very grateful that he had a front row seat this year for everything he’s done this year. Who knows what he will do for the rest of his career. I’m sure this will make this year look like an average year for him.”

With a multihomer performance, Acuña was just one home run away from achieving the first 40-60 season in AL/NL history. He also recorded his 67th steal, putting him one home run and three steals away from achieving the first recorded 40-70 season in the major leagues.

Ozzie Albies actually predicted that his good friend would win 50-50 this year. But 40-70?

“When you hear something like that, you almost set it as a goal,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “But now that we’re here, I didn’t think I’d be in this situation.”

As for Strider, who is nearing the end of his first full season as a big league starter, he has 270 strikeouts. That’s almost 50 more than any other MLB pitcher this year. It’s also just six shy of John Smoltz’s franchise record set in 1996.

“He’s a superstar and an incredible pitcher,” Acuña said. “I’m just glad he’s on our side.”

There was an incredible amount of respect expressed as Acuña and Strider discussed what happened to help the Braves end a four-game losing streak that dates back to when they won their sixth NL East title last week got the episode.

The Braves still have a two-game lead over the Orioles in the battle for the best MLB record and home field advantage for the World Series. They hold a 3 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers, giving them the NL’s best record and home field advantage in the NL Championship Series.

It didn’t take long for Acuña to ease lingering concerns about the Braves losing four straight. The right fielder hit a home run off Cristopher Sánchez’s first pitch of the game and also launched a single to start a four-run fifth off Michael Lorenzen. During that inning, he recorded a stolen base and recorded his 39th home run and 100th RBI in the sixth inning. His MLB-leading run total is 138.

Acuña only wants to record a 15th season, which should include 200 hits, 40 home runs, 100 RBIs and 140 runs. Lou Gehrig (4) and Babe Ruth (3) combined for seven of the 18 such recorded seasons. The only players to achieve this since 1937 were Billy Williams (’70), Ellis Burks (’96), Larry Walker (’97), Todd Helton (2000) and Albert Pujols (’03).

If Acuña ends up scoring 150 runs and hitting all the other points, it would be only the eighth time a player has reached all of those thresholds in the same season, and the first time since 1937.

“He just keeps putting together a special year,” Snitker said.

Acuña needs another home run to secure the fifth 40-40 season in AL/NL history in addition to his first 40-60 season. Alex Rodriguez’s 46 steals in 1998 are the highest total recorded during a 40-homer season. So it’s safe to say that a 40-60 season, and especially a 40-70 season, didn’t seem remotely achievable before this season.

Strider exited the fifth inning having struck out eight of the last ten batters he faced. He now has an MLB-high 11 double-digit strikeout games this year. Kevin Gausman is in second place with eight places. Shohei Ohtani and Freddy Peralta have six.

How would Acuña approach Strider?

“I faced him in spring training,” Acuña said. “So I don’t have an approach or mentality. I never want to face him again.”