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Jeremy Guthrie talks about the start that ended his career

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Future Hall of Fame ballplayers get to decide when they want to retire. They announce it ahead of time and are feted on the occasion of their final game.

Mere star ballplayers often experience a decline and, ultimately, failure, but they get often get several shots with various teams even after they’re unable to contribute. Their careers end gradually in that way. They’ve earned those extra shots other players may not get.

Ordinary ballplayers either call it a career after the end of a season, having made a personal decision not to play anymore. Or, if not then, after a season begins and they remain unsigned for an extended period. It’s not a notable thing to the general public and, often, the general public just says “oh, Shlabotnik isn’t playing anymore?”

With all due respect to Jeremy Guthrie, he’s probably in the “ordinary player” category. He had double digit wins a few times and pitched in a World Series, but he’s the sort of guy who we’d expect to simply fade away after failing to latch on. Most of us would not necessarily notice when his major league career ended unless we were super big fans of his or one of the teams he played for.

Except we do know that Guthrie’s career ended. And when. And how. It ended ignominiously, on April 8 of this season, when, while pitching for the Washington Nationals, he allowed ten runs on six hits and four walks in only two-thirds of an inning against the Phillies. He went home after that, asked for his release from the Nats and, at age 38, is almost certainly never going to pitch again.

Today Mark Zuckerman has a story about Guthrie and how he’s been doing since that start. How he feels about it and how odd a role it has proven to play in his life and career. It’s a pretty fascinating story because we don’t usually hear about when guys burn out — or when they fade away — unless there’s some other element to it like an improbable comeback or a dramatic injury or something. Here it’s just about Guthrie taking one more shot at at the bigs and missing. And moving on.

It’s not a depressing read or anything — Guthrie sounds like he’s in a good place with all of it — and I think it’s cool to hear about an aspect of a big league career that we don’t often know much about.

Kenley Jansen’s consecutive saves streak ends at 34

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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.

Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.

After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.

Zach Britton sets American League record with 55th consecutive save

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Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.

Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.

Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.