Ryan Franklin had a pretty exceptional 2009 season, all things considered. He finished with a 1.92 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 38 saves in 43 chances, filling a role for the Cardinals that looked to be a major question mark this time last year. But reporters this spring have decided to focus instead on the four saves he blew down the stretch and the nine earned runs he allowed in his last 9 2/3 frames of the regular season, and Franklin is sick of hearing about it, or something.
“I didn’t let it bother me,” Franklin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The people who write in to
the papers don’t make the decisions on me. … To be blunt, I don’t know why we have to keep talking
about it when that was last year. This is a new year. I’m going to try
my best to be strong until the end of the year.”
Listen, Ryan, nobody likes hearing about their shortcomings, but trying to control the message is rarely worth the effort. Just ask Tiger Woods. Perhaps we should have learned our lesson about the Cardinals closer when he voiced his unconscionable frustration over MLB’s new gun policy a few weeks ago.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.