Last year the Nationals snookered the Twins into giving up a stud catching prospect for the most replaceable of all commodities, the Proven Closer. But Matt-Capps for Wilson Ramos was one of those once-in-a-lifetime brain farts, right? Surely Bill Smith and the Twins aren’t going to do something like that again, right?
Maybe! While it was reported yesterday that the Nationals — the Nationals! — were unwilling to trade their closer, Drew Storen, for center fielder Denard Span, Ken Rosenthal reports that talks are still ongoing along those lines. It may be sweeter than a straight swap, however, as Rosenthal says that Roger Bernadina, the career .243/.308/.360 hitter, may be included.
I’ll grant that Storen is better than Capps and that, because he’s injured right now, Span is not at a career high point. But really, if the Nationals are able, for the second straight year, to trade a closer to the Twins for a solid player at a scarce defensive position, the Twins may as well just be disbanded by force or placed in protective custody so that they can do more harm to themselves or others.
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.