The Braves would be a sweet spot for Billy Wagner

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And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Braves fan.  MLB.com’s Braves expert Mark Bowman thinks so too, reporting that Wagner’s agent has been in contact with Atlanta and making the excellent point that, though signing Wagner may very well cost a team a first round pick, the Braves are unique in that their need at closer will be occasioned by losing two relievers — Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez — each of whom will bring a similar compensation pick in return.

More generally, Wagner is the kind of guy Bobby Cox and the Braves brass loves: older and lower maintenance. He’s coming off of surgery sure, but at a point in his career where there isn’t a huge need for Cox to baby him.  He makes more sense in Atlanta than just about anyplace else.

Bowman cites Fernando Rodney as a fallback option, but after the John Rocker and Mark Wholers eras, I’m pretty sure that Bobby Cox swore off of wild things with great gas.  It’s a health thing. Both mental health and cardiovascular health.  Bobby’s old now and doesn’t need any more 20-pitch ninth innings than are absolutely necessary.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.