Given that — as Bernie Miklasz noted in his evisceration of the Cardianls’ bullpen today — Miguel Batista was averaging 5.83 walks per nine innings and 15.43 base runners per nine innings, he was likely not long for the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. And today his run there ended: the Cards have given Batista his unconditional release.
Batista started the year deceptively strong — his ERA was low anyway, which doesn’t necessarily tell you what you need to know about a reliever — but he crashed to Earth in June. Last night was the final straw, as he came into the game with the bases loaded, promptly walked the first two men he faced and then allowed a two-run single. A terrible few moments in what was already a terrible inning for St. Louis.
In his place comes Lance Lynn, recalled from Memphis. He has started and relieved, but he’ll be doing long man work for Tony La Russa. Most likely in a more effective fashion than Batista who, really, may have thrown his last pitch in the majors.
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.