Travis Wood had a 4.22 ERA through his first three seasons, but this season he’s taken a huge step forward with a 2.79 ERA and his first All-Star appearance. And now the 26-year-old left-hander would like to guarantee himself a nice payday while sticking with the Cubs long term.
Wood told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that he’s interested in following the footsteps of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro by signing a long-term contract extension with the Cubs, explaining: “I’d love to be a part of the core group and stay around Chicago for a while.”
To go in search of a long-term deal in the middle of a breakout season makes plenty of sense for Wood, but from the Cubs’ point of view he’s already under team control through 2016 anyway. Wood can’t become a free agent until he’s 30 years old and his secondary numbers this season don’t show the same type of dramatic improvement that his ERA does, so the Cubs probably aren’t in a big hurry.
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.