At the trade deadline the Cardinals attempted to bolster their injury wrecked rotation with a pair of veterans by getting John Lackey from the Red Sox and Justin Masterson from the Indians.
Lackey has a 4.23 ERA through six starts, but Masterson has a 7.90 ERA in six starts and has now been demoted to the bullpen.
Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals will likely replace Masterson in the rotation with rookie Tyler Lyons or rookie Marco Gonzales, so clearly manager Mike Matheny has lost all faith in Masterson.
And rightfully so, because before struggling for the Cardinals he also struggled for the Indians and overall this season the impending free agent has a 6.03 ERA in 25 starts while pitching through multiple injuries. Masterson does have relief experience, but he hasn’t been used regularly out of the bullpen since 2009 and it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals trusting him in anything resembling a prominent late-inning role.
The cost to get Masterson from Cleveland was mid-level prospect James Ramsey, a 24-year-old outfielder and 2012 first-round draft pick. He was assigned to Triple-A following the trade and hit .284 with three homers and an .833 OPS in 28 games there to finish with an .890 OPS overall this year.
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.