I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently there is a fan poll in which people can vote for who they’d like to see in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. You can vote here.
Major League Baseball just announced who was leading the voting thus far: In the NL it’s Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard. In the AL it’s Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton and David Ortiz. Unlike any other sort of All-Star voting, I can’t find any fault whatsoever in that voting. Those are probably the six guys who, if I cared all that much about the Home Run Derby, I’d want to see in it. Adam Dunn, Justin Upton and Mike Stanton can be alternates.
The sad thing, of course, is that this voting is non-binding. Indeed, the voting page itself says “If you could choose, who would you like to participate,” underscoring the fact that we cannot choose. Not all players want to do this thing. Despite the evidence on it not being terribly conclusive, a lot of them think that swinging in the Derby messes them up in the second half of the season. It almost certainly tires them out on a day they’d be resting anyway.
Personally, I’d like to see a skills exhibition with players doing Tom Emansky-style drills, but I’d guess that’s a pipe dream.
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.