Sad news: Matty Alou has died. He was 72. No cause of death was given. An overdose of being a really awesome and underrated contact hitter is being investigated.
Alou, as most folks know, was part of what — with a nod to the DiMaggios — was arguably the most successful trio of brothers in baseball history. The Alous had more hits, actually, for what that’s worth. In 1966 Matty won the batting title and his brother Felipe came in second. NL pitchers of the 1960s probably had Alou nightmares on a regular basis.
In 1969 he led the NL in at bats, hits and doubles, but Alou’s best season may have actually been 1968. He didn’t win the batting crown or lead the league in anything that year, but he posted an OPS+ of 130 and hit .332 in the worst overall offensive season since the dead ball era. A lot of guys were amazing that year without anyone really knowing it due to the extreme pitcher-friendly context.
Adios Matty. Hopefully your passing inspires some people who don’t know much about the very good players of the 1960s to read up.
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.