Edward Mujica had a ridiculous 1.73 ERA and 43/3 K/BB ratio over his first 57 1/3 innings this season. But the righty’s September has been nightmarish.
Mujica allowed three hits and two earned runs while recording only one out in an appearance Saturday night in St. Louis’ 6-2 defeat of the Cubs and now has an 11.05 ERA in 7 1/3 frames this month. “That was tough,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Mujica’s latest poor appearance on Saturday. “I wanted things to go differently than that, for sure.”
Trevor Rosenthal has taken over as the Cardinals’ closer and there’s some question now about Mujica’s inclusion on the postseason roster. “We’ll see how he feels and (have) everybody kind of get their heads together,” said Matheny on that particular topic. “Right now is not the time to make that decision.”
St. Louis has locked up the National League Central crown and will try to clinch homefield advantage through the NLCS in Sunday’s series- and season-finale against the Cubs. A Braves loss will also clinch that.
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.