Doesn’t work that way I suppose, but last night’s walkoff grand slam probably covers for a lot of past transgressions by Jordany Valdespin. Who I vaguely understood was unpopular with his teammates due to some immature antics and lackadaisical play, but I had no idea just how unpopular and how lackadaisical it was until I read Andy Martino’s piece on him in the Daily News this morning.
Some people may say “only on the Mets” to stuff like that, but for Valdespin I’d say “lucky it’s on the Mets.” Because there’s a decent chance that a guy like him never sees the light of day on a more talented team, as baseball just doesn’t tolerate knuckleheads like that. At least those who aren’t capable of superstar play.
The grand slam doesn’t erase all that stuff — if he has a rough stretch his weirdness and immaturity will be just as big a problem as it was before — but it’ll be interesting to see if growing as a professional and a talent go hand-in-hand.
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.