– Boston’s Josh Beckett will make his second straight start against the
Braves after hurling his first shutout as a member of the Red Sox on
Sunday. He’s gone four of his last six starts without allowing an
earned run, lowering his ERA from 5.85 to 3.74 in the process. The
Braves will turn to Jair Jurrjens, who is 0-3 despite a solid 3.80 ERA
this month. Jurrjens ranks sixth in the NL in ERA, but he has just a
5-5 record to show for it.
– Matt Cain will attempt to become the NL’s first 10-game winner in
the lone intraleague contest of the night when he takes on the Brewers.
Starting for Milwaukee will be Yovani Gallardo, who has given up more
than three earned runs just twice this season. The Giants have won each
of Cain’s last nine starts, and if they prevail again tonight, they’ll
be just the third NL team to reach 40 wins. They’re 39-32, while the
Brewers are 38-34.
– Will a series against the Rockies pull Matt Holliday out of his
latest slump? Holliday, who has no homers and just one RBI in his last
17 games, will be facing his former team for the first time tonight.
Unfortunately, the series will take place in Oakland, rather than at
Coors Field. Holliday has hit .248/.355/.421 with four homers in 34
games at the Coliseum this year.
Game of the Night
N.Y. Yankees vs. N.Y. Mets – Sure, it’s Yankees-Mets, but the best
reason to watch tonight’s game is to see how CC Sabathia performs after
leaving his start Sunday in the second inning with biceps tightness.
Sabathia didn’t pitch during the first series between the two teams,
when the Yankees took two out of three. Neither did Mike Pelfrey, who
will start for the Mets tonight. Pelfrey has struggled some after a
strong May, though his 7.08 ERA during June is largely the result of
one awful outing against the Pirates. He’s 5-2 with a 4.74 ERA for the
season. Sabathia is 6-4 with a 3.71 ERA.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final seven Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.