The Tigers made a couple of bold but necessary moves Sunday, demoting starting second baseman Scott Sizemore and starting pitcher Max Scherzer to Triple-A Toledo. The news was reported first by MLB.com’s Jason Beck.
Sizemore entered the 2010 season with a bit of hype, but hasn’t been able to transfer his minor league success to the big leagues. He will leave behind a .206 batting average, a .297 on-base percentage and a .289 slugging percentage, accomplished in 97 at-bats. Carlos Guillen is expected to serve as Detroit’s starting second baseman once he returns from the disabled list in about a week. If he plays well enough, we might not see Sizemore in the majors again until September.
Scherzer also entered the year with high hopes after putting up a 4.12 ERA and a 174/63 K/BB ratio in 170 1/3 innings for the Diamondbacks last season. He hasn’t made a smooth transition to the American League, though, and is sporting a 1-4 record, a 7.29 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP through eight starts.
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.