Gordon Beckham was out of the White Sox’s lineup yesterday and Ozzie Guillen indicated that he may opt to shut him down for the season rather than let him try to continue playing through a hand injury:
Obviously he wants to play, but I’ve seen this kid swing the bat for a year and a half and I know his hand is not even 80 percent. He’s wasting at-bats. He’s not 100 percent out there to try to help us, and that’s why I shut it down for a couple of days to see how the treatment gets him back. The problem with that is you feel good one day then one swing it comes back again.
Unfortunately for Beckham the hand injury has ruined what was shaping up to be a very nice turnaround following a slow start to the season. He hit just .209 with a measly .561 OPS through the end of June, but then batted .331 with a .941 OPS in July and August before struggling through the hand problems this month.
Beckham’s overall numbers are ugly, with a .252/.317/.378 line representing a drop in production of about 20 percent from his strong rookie campaign, but he showed enough to think that a bounceback season is on tap for 2011 if healthy.
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.