A 20-year-old rookie. Jason Heyward got his rudest awakening yet during Friday’s extra-inning 5-4 loss to the Giants, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and a walk.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury news that they intended to pitch the rookie phenom “under the ground,” and they did just that, getting him to strike out four times swinging, three of them on pitches in the dirt. After Friday’s action, Heyward is hitless in his last 11 at-bats. He has an 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first 17 major league at-bats.
According to what he told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Heyward understands that it’s all about adjustments from here on out:
“A game like this, if you don’t learn from it, you don’t do anyone a
favor,” said Heyward, 20. “That’s what baseball’s about. That’s what
life’s about. Adjustments. Learn from it. Be more patient. Get a feel
for the strike zone.”
Friday’s starter Jonathan Sanchez told the Chronicle that he saw a similar pattern emerge after Pablo Sandoval’s initial success:
“It’s what happened to Pablo (Sandoval) in the beginning. They were
throwing it in the dirt, and he was swinging at everything. He made
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.