Bradley has problems, but this ain't one

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The Milton Bradley-Lou Piniella brouhaha erupted and then more or less resolved itself over the weekend, with the name-calling apparently ending on Saturday and the rapprochement beginning (now they’re searching for the leaks). But before we let all of that go, I have to focus for a second on one part of this, and that’s one of the things cited in Saturday’s Sun-Times article detailing the meltdown:

From the front office to the clubhouse, Cubs personnel sympathize
with Bradley’s frustration, and nobody blames him for struggling. But
an apparent preoccupation with his individual issues over the team’s
efforts to shake a first-half malaise has worn on teammates, even down
to things as simple as working close pitches for walks with runners on
base when putting the ball in play with less than two outs might score
a rare and needed run.

Is this really a valid reason to be angry at Bradley? That he’s trying
to get on base? It’s be one thing if he were ignoring bunt signs or
something (not that I’d bunt with Bradley, but hey, directions are
directions) but trying to get on base is pretty much an unequivocal
positive, isn’t it?

I think the final takeaway from all of this is that, for all of his
craziness, there is a pretty rational and self-aware dude somewhere
inside of Milton Bradley. Here he is on Saturday, when asked whether Piniella’s yelling at him was unfair given that there are a lot of hotheads on that Cubs team:

“Like I’ve said, I don’t have the same set of rules as other people.
I’ve committed mistakes in my past to where you don’t get the leeway
other guys might get. To a certain extent, I guess that’s fair.”

(thanks to reader Arun Gupta for catching the on-base bit)

Dodgers clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.

Video: Dustin Pedroia’s base running sends Red Sox to 11th consecutive win

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox is greeted at the dugout by Pablo Sandoval #48, left, and Mookie Betts #50, right, after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 24, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)
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The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.

With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.

Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.

Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.

The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.