The World Series champion Red Sox were honored with a parade through Boston today, but they still found time to conduct some business, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that they club declined their $6 million club option on left-handed reliever Matt Thornton for 2014.
An easy decision, Thornton will receive a $1 million buyout and hit free agency. The 37-year-old posted a 3.74 ERA and 30/15 K/BB ratio over 43 1/3 innings this season between the White Sox and Red Sox, making his fewest appearances (40) since his rookie season in 2007. He was left off Boston’s postseason roster.
Thornton was long considered one of the best left-handed set-up men in the game, but his velocity, strikeout percentage and swinging strike rate have declined in each of the last three seasons. The good news is that he has remained very effective against left-handed batters, so he should still have value as a specialist.
Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.
Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.
Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.
After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.
Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.