After nine straight losses to begin the season, the Mets’ Shaun Marcum blanked the White Sox for eight innings on Wednesday and picked up his first victory in a 3-0 game.
Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save.
Marcum was in danger of becoming the first pitcher since the Cardinals’ Anthony Reyes in 2007 to start 0-10. He was the sixth pitcher to start 0-9 since 2000, joining Mike Maroth (2003 Tigers), Edgar Gonzalez (2004 Diamondbacks), Reyes, Kenshin Kawakami (2010 Braves) and Chris Volstad (2012 Cubs).
Marcum allowed just four hits over eight innings while facing what should be considered the American League’s worst offense. The White Sox had outscored the Mariners entered the night (3.74 runs per game to 3.60), but they have a big ballpark advantage over Seattle. They had the league’s worst OBP (.296) and OPS (.673), and both of those figures took another hit tonight.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.