Umpires: if you know their name they’ve probably messed up too much. Let’s see how many names you recognize for the Wild Card and Division Series rounds.
- For tonight’s game 163 between the Rays and Rangers it will be Tim Welke as crew cheif, Jeff Kellogg behind the plate and Bruce Dreckman, Chris Guccione, Tom Hallion and Ron Kulpa around the bases and/or down the lines.
- Our friend Joe West gets home plate and crew chief duties for the Reds-Pirates Wild Card game on Tuesday, with Dale Scott, Dan Iassogna, Rob Drake, Tim Timmons and Lance Barksdale on his crew. In the AL Wild Card game it will be Gerry Davis as chief and home plate ump with Ted Barrett, Mike Everitt, Greg Gibson, Phil Cuzzi and Brian Knight rounding things out.
- Jerry Layne will head up the Division series in St. Louis between the Cards and the Pirates-Reds winner, with Wally Bell, Sam Holbrook, Jim Joyce, Paul Nauert and Tony Randazzo. The Dodgers-Braves Division Series will be policed by John Hirschbeck, Laz Diaz, Marvin Hudson, Bill Miller, Tim Welke and Hunter Wendelstedt.
- In the AL Division series between the Red Sox and the Wild Card winner will be Dana DeMuth, Eric Cooper, Paul Emmel, Chris Guccione, Larry Vanover and Mike Winters. The Tigers-Athletics series gets Gary Darling, CB Bucknor, Mike DiMuro, Tom Hallion, Jim Reynolds and Mark Wegner.
Not sure who the A’s and Tigers angered to get Bucknor, but expect pitcher ejections the night he works the plate.
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.