Giants’ catcher Bengie Molina got smacked in the left hand by a foul tip yesterday and had to leave the game. Bruce Bochy put Eli Whiteside in. Whiteside can’t hit. Neither can Molina for that matter. Buster Posey raked all season in the minor leagues, yet has only been given three (3) plate appearances since his callup at the beginning of the month. This all makes sense to Bochy, I assume, but he hasn’t really explained it.
One would think that with Molina down and the Giants almost certainly out of the wild card race, Bochy would finally give Posey a start or at least some playing time. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Whiteside starts tonight, however, because Bochy has absolutely no trust whatsoever in the Giants’ best hitting prospect since Matt Williams.
But like I said, the Giants are done so maybe it doesn’t matter. The real question is what they plan to do next year. If they have a lick of sense they will start with the assumption that Buster Posey will be the starting catcher. They will do so because they will realize — in hindsight, but still — that if they had had even a lick of hitting in 2009 they would have likely made the playoffs on the back of their superior pitching staff.
If they don’t — and if, instead, they spend the money that should go to a big bat on a Bengie Molina extension and relegate Posey to AAA once again — you can pretty much kiss off their chances for another year.
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.