Joe Saunders talked himself back into the Rangers’ rotation last month following an injury, saying that he didn’t want to take on a bullpen role, but after going 0-5 with a 6.18 ERA in eight starts overall this season Texas has designated the left-hander for assignment.
Saunders was once a decent back-of-the-r0tation starter for the Angels and Diamondbacks, but he’s now 11-21 with a 5.42 ERA in 40 starts since the beginning of last season and coughed up four homers last night against the Orioles.
Given his platoon splits and overall ineffectiveness as a starter switching from the rotation to the bullpen could potentially prolong Saunders’ career, so it’ll be interesting to see if getting let go by the Rangers helps him recognize that at age 33.
In the meantime right-hander Miles Mikolas has been called up from Triple-A to take Saunders’ spot in the rotation and will start Wednesday.
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.