Great BrittonWednesday, September 05, 2012
When the 2012 season opened, left-handed starter Zach Britton was on the disabled list with shoulder issues and the Orioles were projected by most to finish dead last in the American League East standings.
And yet here we are on September 5, with the Orioles sitting in a tie for first place with the Yankees atop baseball's most expensive division and Britton pitching like a true ace.
The 24-year-old southpaw tossed seven scoreless innings on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays, fanning eight and walking just two while yielding only four hits as the Orioles grabbed an easy 12-0 victory in Toronto. He has allowed just three runs in four starts (28 2/3 innings) since August 18 and boasts a 29/7 K/BB ratio in that span.
Britton’s ERA was 8.10 on August 7. It’s now 4.15. The surge is legit.
Dodgers Believe Jansen Will Return Soon
Kenley Jansen, who has spent the majority of the 2012 season serving as the Dodgers’ closer, is currently sidelined because of heart problems. But everyone involved seems optimistic about a situation that would typically evoke fear and then precaution.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters on Tuesday evening that Jansen is likely to return to action on or around September 17. The hard-throwing righty was prescribed blood-thinning medication late last month and has not experienced a problem with heartbeat irregularity or blood clots since. A cardiologist told him earlier this week that he can pitch as soon as he comes off the meds, and he's planning to drop them in exactly nine days.
Jansen has registered a superb 2.54 ERA and 0.88 WHIP across 56 2/3 innings this season while fanning 86 batters and walking only 19. He has converted 25 of his 31 save opportunities.
The Dodgers will continue to rely on Ronald Belisario and Brandon League for the time being.
Lower Back Tightness Sidelines Holliday
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday made an early exit from Tuesday’s 5-1 victory over the Mets after feeling tightness in his lower back while walking to first on a base-on-balls in the seventh inning. It certainly didn’t look like a serious matter, and the St. Louis medical staff is calling him day-to-day, but the Cardinals have an afternoon game on Wednesday and are sure to rest their slugger.
Holliday will then be reevaluated on Friday after Thursday’s scheduled off day.
The 32-year-old is batting .305/.379/.522 with 25 home runs and 92 RBI through 133 games played this season -- playing like a first-round fantasy pick. Many landed him in the second. If the Cardinals make the postseason, he is sure to get National League MVP votes.
National League Quick Hits: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen had four hits and three RBI in Tuesday’s defeat of the Astros … Aaron Hill finished 5-for-5 with a double, a homer, three runs scored and two RBI in Tuesday's extra-innings defeat of the Giants ... The Reds are planning to start Joey Votto (knee) at first base on Wednesday … Jaime Garcia allowed just one (unearned) run over 7 1/3 innings Tuesday in the Cardinals’ win over the Mets … Jay Bruce has homered in three straight games … Adam LaRoche homered twice Tuesday in the Nationals’ rout of the Cubs … The Dodgers are no longer expecting Chad Billingsley (elbow) to return this season ... Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson has fanned eight batters or more in each of his last four starts … Chris Carpenter (neck, shoulder) threw a successful three-inning simulated game on Tuesday at Busch Stadium … The Dodgers placed reliever Javy Guerra on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique … Alfonso Soriano tripled, homered and drove in three in a loss Tuesday in Washington … Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has 10 hits, including three doubles, over his last six games … Shaun Marcum has a weak 4.29 ERA and 12/6 K/BB ratio in three starts (14 2/3 innings) since returning from the disabled list … The Cubs may shut down Jeff Samardzija before the end of the regular season … Jair Jurrjens will not return to the major leagues this year … The Cardinals officially promoted pitching prospect Shelby Miller on Tuesday evening … Emilio Bonifacio (knee) has been shut down.
American League Quick Hits: Angels ace Jered Weaver is doubtful for his scheduled Friday start because of tenderness in his throwing shoulder … Mark Reynolds is batting .421 with five home runs and 11 RBI over his last five games … Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista underwent successful surgery Tuesday on his left wrist … Jeff Niemann will have his troublesome right shoulder examined Wednesday by Dr. James Andrews … Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is not close to returning from a quadriceps strain … Dustin Pedroia is working on a 15-game hitting streak … Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson (hamstring) went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his return to action Tuesday … Ryan Doumit drove in three runs in the Twins’ thrashing of the White Sox on Tuesday night in Chicago … White Sox starter Jose Quintana has allowed 12 earned runs in his last five innings … Evan Longoria launched a two-run homer in the Rays’ win over the Yankees on Tuesday … Miguel Cabrera is up to 34 home runs and 114 RBI … The Rays have begun to monitor Alex Cobb’s innings … Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel will return from the disabled list Thursday and start against the Yankees … Zack Greinke has won three consecutive decisions after getting off to a slow start with the Angels ... Ivan Nova (shoulder) reported feeling “really good” after a bullpen session Tuesday and should be back in the Yankees’ rotation soon.