Relief pitcher Brian Shouse, most recently of the Rays, has decided to retire. Normally I’d skip over something minor like this, but Shouse’s career arc has a certain beauty to it.
Shouse was drafted by the Pirates in 1990. That’s when being drafted by the Pirates was a good thing. In his first 12 years as a professional baseball player he pitched all of 13 games in the major leagues. His odyssey through the minor leagues is truly something to behold. I bet he could recommend a place to eat in 95% of the cities in this country. Then, after converting into a sidearmer, he returned to the bigs in 2002 where he stayed through 2009. During that run he was a good and sometimes pretty damn good lefty specialist and middle relief man.
I could make jokes about how lefties never die, but even most rubber-armed lefties would have called it quits sometime before Shouse’s breakthrough in 2002. There’s some serious work ethic and determination there. Shouse’s retirement is something that should not be left to a three-word entry in the “transactions” section on page C52 of your newspaper.
Nice career Brian Shouse. Kudos to you for sticking with it when most others would have packed it in a decade ago. Enjoy your rest. You’ve earned it.
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.