After dealing outfielder Norichika Aoki to the Royals in December, the Brewers were left without an ideal option for the leadoff spot, but manager Ron Roenicke has settled on his choice.
According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Roenicke announced today that Carlos Gomez will hit leadoff to begin the year. Jean Segura, who will now bat No. 2, was under consideration for the role along with Scooter Gennett and Rickie Weeks.
Gomez is coming off a monster campaign in which he hit .284/.338/.506 with 24 home runs, 73 RBI, and 40 stolen bases in 147 games. However, he needed a career-high .344 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) to get there and walked just 6.3 percent of the time while striking out in nearly one-fourth of his trips to the plate. Banking on a comparable follow-up is risky, so the odds are against him being a major asset there. But hey, the Brewers don’t have a perfect option right now.
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.