Mark Trumbo has never played third base in a professional game, majors or minors, so the Angels’ plans to use him at the hot corner this spring and perhaps regularly during the season raised the question of whether they might do the same with Albert Pujols.
Pujols, unlike Trumbo, actually has plenty of third base experience in the big leagues. He came up as a third baseman, played the position regularly during his first two seasons, and saw spot action there in seven games last season.
So might manager Mike Scioscia give him a look at third base, if only in an emergency situation to help clear the first base/corner outfield logjam? Nope. Scioscia told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that it’s not an option because he wouldn’t want to disrupt Pujols’ hitting.
For his part, Pujols indicated that he’d be willing to give third base a try if Scioscia wanted, saying:
If that’s the decision he has to make, I follow the orders. My job is here in the locker room. I don’t have the office. He’s the one who has the office and writes the lineup. It’s about winning, man.
So, to recap: Pujols would much rather play third base than be called “El Hombre.”
It seems fairly unlikely that Pujols would be worse than Trumbo at third base, but it’s equally unlikely that Pujols would actually be good there and Scioscia is probably smart not to mess with a $250 million investment.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.