– Felix Hernandez will attempt to cool off the Rangers, who have won
seven of their last eight games and have gone 5-0 against the Mariners
this season. He’s 4-9 with a 4.35 ERA lifetime against Texas, but he
did pitch seven scoreless innings in a no-decision versus the Rangers
back on May 14. The Rangers will throw Tommy Hunter, who has given them
two straight positive outings since coming up to replace the injured
Matt Harrison. He’s 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts overall. It
seems like a pretty good guess that Andruw Jones will be in the lineup
tonight, though he was held out of both of King Felix’s previous starts
against the Rangers. He hit three homers last night, giving him five in
his last four games.
– Tim Lincecum can add to his case for starting the All-Star Game
for the NL squad by beating the Padres tonight. However, that’s not
been such an easy assignment for him in the past. Even though he has a
1.43 ERA in 10 starts versus San Diego in his career, he’s just 3-2
against the team. When he faced the Padres on May 21, he allowed one
run in seven innings, only to take a no-decision in a 3-2 loss. On
April 12, he was handed one of his two losses when he gave up four runs
in 5 1/3 innings versus San Diego. Of course, Lincecum is throwing a
whole lot better now than he was then. He’s allowed just one run over
25 innings in his last three starts, all of which were wins. He’s 9-2
with a 2.23 ERA.
Game of the Night
Atlanta vs. Colorado – Who isn’t excited to see Tommy Hanson try to
match Jung Keun Bong? If Hanson wins tonight, he’ll become the first
Braves rookie to start his career 5-0 since the Korean left-hander did
so in 2003. Hanson took a no-decision last time out despite giving up
just one run in seven innings. He has a 0.90 ERA in five starts since
getting roughed up in his major league debut on June 7. Pitching for
Colorado will be ace Aaron Cook, who is already riding a five-game
winning streak. He has a 2.47 ERA in his last nine starts.
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 six 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.