As expected, the Red Sox have activated right-hander John Lackey from the 15-day disabled list and will ask him to take the mound in Sunday’s series finale against the A’s. Temporary backup outfielder Josh Reddick was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to clear a roster spot.
Lackey spent about three weeks on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his right elbow. He made just one rehab start, Tuesday at Triple-A Pawtucket, and threw only 63 pitches in that outing. The Red Sox, therefore, will limit him to 90 tosses in his return to a major league mound Sunday.
Lackey, 32, has posted a dreadful 8.01 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in seven starts this season. He’s fanned just 19 batters and issued 18 walks in 39 1/3 innings. The Red Sox need far better from the man they handed a five-year, $82.5 million contract in December of 2009.
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.