When the Diamondbacks traded Brandon Allen to the A’s in the weekend deal for Brad Ziegler it cleared the path for Paul Goldschmidt to replace him as their first baseman of the present and, Arizona hopes, the future.
And sure enough, the Diamondbacks have called up Goldschmidt from Double-A after the 23-year-old former eighth-round pick hit .306 with 30 homers, 21 doubles, and 82 walks in 103 games.
Goldschmidt has always shown a ton of power, but he’s made significant progress cutting back on strikeouts this season, going from whiffing in 27 percent of his plate appearances at high Single-A last year to 20 percent at Double-A this year.
That’s still a lot of strikeouts in the minors and Goldschmidt may not be able to maintain his lofty batting averages against big-league pitching, but he projects as a big-time power threat after going deep 39 times per 550 at-bats during three seasons as a minor leaguer.
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.