It’s been long suspected that Japan’s best pitcher — Yu Darvish — would be posted by his NPB team this winter, thereby allowing Major League teams to bid on him. Kyodo News in Japan has now confirmed through several sources that, yes, Darvish will formally ask for this after the postseason.
There will obviously be a lot of interest in Darvish, with the Blue Jays, Rangers and Yankees all having been reported to be considering a run at him, and no doubt many other teams will join in the fray. How could they not when he has posted a 18-6 record in 28 starts with an ERA of 1.44 while striking out 276 batters in 232 innings? Yes, there have been many busts among Japanese pitchers coming stateside, but Darvish seems like a cut above.
Meanwhile, Joel Sherman reports that people inside the Yankees organization or kinda bad-mouthing C.J. Wilson. between that and the Darvish news, Wilson’s agent is probably gettin’ really mad today.
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.