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BASEBALL AT THE BREAK

On a Record Pace

July 09, 1996|HOUSTON MITCHELL and ROSS NEWHAN

Some statistical oddities and projections for the 1996 baseball season:

* There are 49 players on a pace to hit 30 or more homers (the record is 28 players in 1987), 27 on a pace to hit 40 or more and seven on a pace to hit 50 or more. A total of seven players have hit 50 or more in a season since 1950.

* There are 30 American League players on a pace to drive in 100 or more runs (the 1936 AL record is 18 in a season) and 16 more in the National, where the record is 17, set in 1930. Eight of those 46 are on a pace to drive in 140 or more runs. A total of six players have driven in 140 or more in a season since 1960.

* The runs-per-game average of 10.19 and the home run-per-game average of 2.26 are both all-time highs, and the midseason home run pace will shatter the major league record of 2,634, set in 1987.

* The AL earned-run average of 5.10 eclipses the 1936 record of 5.04, and the 4.18 ERA in the NL has been exceeded only twice since 1960, the last year before baseball expanded for the first time.

* There have been 28 games when both teams have scored double figures and five games in which the winner has scored at least 20 runs; the major league record is eight.

* In the AL, with the designated hitter, the runs-per-game average is 10.95 and home runs-per-game average is 2.46.

* If Juan Guzman were to win the AL's ERA crown with his current league-best 3.25, it will be an all-time high.

* The Baltimore Orioles had the AL's best ERA in June at an appalling 4.72.

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