The Blue Jays just announced that they have traded for outfielder Ben Francisco. To the Phillies: lefty Frank Gailey.
When last we heard of Francisco, he had just hit a three-run pinch-hit home run off Jaime Garcia in the top of the seventh inning of Game 3 of the NLDS. In more normal times we know of him as a fourth outfielder type with a .260/.332/.430 career line in over 1500 plate appearances scattered over five seasons. You might think of him as a platoon guy, but over his career he has hit lefties and righties at roughly the same clip.
Gailey is a minor league lefty who posted a 3.41 ERA and 61/21 K/BB ratio in 74 innings this year between Single-A and Double-A. He’s 26, so it’s not like he’s a comer, but he could be useful.
For the Phillies, this was mostly about roster flexibility, it seems. Francisco was arbitration eligible and there really wasn’t a place for him. Playoff heroics aside, Charlie Manuel seemed to sour on him some after his stint starting at the beginning of last year was less-than-stellar.
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.