If it’s 7:30 AM and the only people awake are you and Ned Yost — having a cup coffee and looking deep in thought about 20 feet from me — it must be the Winter Meetings.
I’m in Dallas this week, reporting, more or less, live, more or less, from the 2011 Winter Meetings. Things got started off with a bang last night with Jose Reyes signing with the Marlins. It’s going to be hard to top that unless the deal involves a fellow named Pujols, but if we learned anything last year it’s that you can expect the unexpected. Although I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to give ridiculous money to Jayson Werth again, so maybe not that unexpected.
As we have the past couple of years, we’ll be posting like crazy, so tune it to HBT and rip off the dial. Well, as long as you can still refresh. If your dial does that, don’t rip it off.
I’m going to go get into trouble and/or talk cordially with baseball people. Back with dish shortly.
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.