I can’t decide if watching John Lannan shut down the Braves is worse than watching Livan Hernandez do it, but hey, at least I have recent data points on both of those things in order to make an informed comparison! The Braves dropped yet another game they had no business dropping if they plan on playing past October 3rd, losing 4-2 to the Nationals this afternoon.
All of the Nats runs came on a Justin Maxwell grand slam in the second inning. The Braves scored a run on a groundout and an RBI single. They ran out of multiple other opportunities, however, with Martin Prado getting nailed at the plate once and Jason Heyward getting called out when he couldn’t avoid a batted ball while running the bases. It was pretty dreadful.
The Braves are now 2.5 back pending tonight’s Phillies-Marlins game. It may be more useful for Braves fans to watch the wild card standings, however. They’re a game up there, though tied in the loss column.
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.