Mike Matheny is “increasingly and bizarrely petulant”

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Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch is one of the best local sports columnists in the country and also doesn’t engage in the shouting and trolling and overall buffoonery of so many big names in the same industry, so when he criticizes Cardinals manager Mike Matheny like this it made me take notice:

The increasingly and bizarrely petulant manager Mike Matheny resorted to spitting out one-word answers and tapping impatiently on the interview podium in a childish response to reasonable postgame questions.

In fairness to Matheny he’d just watched a blowout loss to the rival Reds in which Adam Wainwright had one of the worst starts of his career. Of course, Miklasz noted in the same column that Wainwright had a much different response to reporters asking about the ugly game:

Wainwright — as usual — gave mature, thoughtful, forthright adult answers when asked about his condition.

Matheny doesn’t want to talk about the possibility of Wainwright’s heavy workload causing him to wear down, but when a pitcher has a league-high five complete games and struggles immediately following a 128-pitch start it’s certainly a reasonable topic of inquiry. On the other hand, at least Matheny didn’t lash out and angrily call any reporters names.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.