No decision needs to be made until next week, but Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are leaning toward Hisanori Takahashi as the rotation replacement for demoted starter Joel Pineiro.
Takahashi was a veteran starter in Japan prior to coming to MLB at age 35 last season, but he had a 5.01 ERA in 12 starts for the Mets. He’s had more success in the bullpen for the Mets and Angels, throwing 106 innings with a 2.64 ERA and 100/41 K/BB ratio.
Counting on him as a starter down the stretch is an iffy proposition and throwing Takahashi right into the fire with a Wednesday start against the Yankees is especially iffy, but DiGiovanna writes that the Angels aren’t very confident in any of their potential Pineiro replacements in the minors.
Asked if he’d be ready to make the start, Takahashi replied: “I could throw 100 pitches. I don’t know what would happen a couple of days after that, but I could throw 100 pitches.”
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.