I’m rather struck by the notion of Kirk Gibson as the Diamondbacks new manager. I know he’s been a bench coach and a hitting coach for a long time — both with the Tigers and the Dbacks, but I’ve never really considered him to be a future manager.
No reason for this, really. I guess I just still picture him as a player and not a coach, mostly because (a) he was one of the biggest personalities on the team I followed as a little kid; and (b) I don’t see a lot of Dbacks games so I haven’t seen him just sort of hanging out in the dugout thinking like coaches and managers do.
In my mind he’s still that fiery player of the 1980s, rounding first with his helmet flying off, snapping at Dodgers teammates for putting shoe polish in his cap and stuff like that. Still: it’s exactly that kind of fire and intensity that so many people like to see in a manager. Or at least in a managerial candidate (the fire often wears thin after Mr. Intensity takes the job).
Gibson has never managed on any level, which was one of A.J. Hinch’s biggest handicaps when he took the job. I have this feeling, however, that no one is going to give Gibson crap for that. He might just take their damn head off if they do.
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.