Joe Sheehan and I joined Erik Kuselias on SportsTalk last night and one of the segments was about Brian Cashman’s lack of surprise over Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera’s positive PED tests. Which is fine as far as it goes. It may be a rare bit of candor from an executive on the topic of PEDs.
But Erik, Joe and I all agree that it’s unseemly and, in a lot of ways, cynical for a guy like Cashman to say such things. My biggest beef: pointing to the performance spikes these guys had is misleading, because Cashman knows as well as anyone that there have been way more Guillermo Motas and Marlon Byrds caught taking banned things out there — dudes trying to hang on or get over the hump — than there have been positive statistical outliers caught. Indeed, we have all manner of fluke seasons in baseball history that have nothing to do with PEDs. Melky and Bartolo may have been riding dirty, but let’s not make every guy who has a flukish year a suspect.
And yeah, I dopped a Norm Cash reference. Stopped the conversation cold.
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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.