It was only a matter of when and where for Brandon League, and he was finally sent off Monday night, going to the Dodgers for outfielder Leon Landry and right-hander Logan Bawcom.
League saved 37 games in 42 chances for the Mariners last season, but he lost his closer gig in May and was never given a chance to win it back. Despite his early struggles, he had his ERA down to 2.91 as of Friday. From there, with the trade rumors swirling, he gave up four runs in his final two appearances for the Mariners, taking him up to 3.63.
Able to get both grounders and strikeouts in bunches, League has always seemed like something of an underachiever, even though he appears on his way to a third straight strong season. The Dodgers will use him in the seventh and eighth innings in front of closer Kenley Jansen.
In return, the Mariners pick up a couple of semi-promising youngsters. Landry, 22, was hitting .328/.358/.559 with eight homers and 20 steals for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. The base on balls isn’t a part of his game, but also doesn’t strike out very much (52/14 K/BB in 345 AB) and he’s an excellent athlete. Double-A next year will determine whether he should be looked at as a future regular.
Bawcom, 23, had a 2.03 ERA and a 60/22 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings out of the pen between Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga this year. He’s a fastball-slider pitcher with a chance of being useful in the sixth and seventh innings.
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.