More thoughts on the Sox and Adrian Gonzalez

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Adrian Gonzalez headshot.jpgI don’t know that there’s any trade rumor with as little actual merit creating as much buzz, sturm und drang as the Adrian Gonzalez to the Sox business.  Even the most wild rumor-passer-oners in the blogosphere all note that nothing has really happened except the passive acknowledgment of general overall compatibility between the Sox and Padres on this subject. Every report is quickly followed up with a “nothing is close to happening” disclaimer.  It’s a hot rumor because so many people want it to happen as opposed to anything being even remotely imminent.

Or do they want it to happen?  I don’t follow the politics of Red Sox Nation too closely, but Red Sox Monster blogger Dan Lamothe claims that a lot of Sox fans have “freaked out about the Sox potentially parting ways with Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury.”  He disagrees and makes a plea to Theo Epstein to throw Ellsbury and Buchholz over the side in favor of Gonzalez at the first available opportunity.

But is there any chance that such an opportunity will present itself at all? ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks that Ellsbury, for one, would not make sense for the Padres:

In a vacuum, sure, you’d love to have him. But Ellsbury is going to be
eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2010 season, and
in 2011-12, he could make as much or more than Gonzalez will make over
the next two seasons. In other words: His salary would become almost an
immediate problem for the Padres, and given that he is represented by
Scott Boras, the Padres would have to assume there would be no hometown
discounts. Ellsbury would be a nice player for San Diego, but he would
be a money pit.

I think that’s right.  The chief appeal of getting a guy like Ellsbury for San Deigo would be that he’s a name player, a Major Leaguer the team would want to show the fans so they don’t revolt during season ticket-buying season after a Gonzalez trade.  He doesn’t help with the cost problem, and given that he’ll almost certainly opt for free agency at the first opportunity himself, he’s not going to talk to the Padres about any contract extensions.

I still think this: if the Padres are going to trade Gonzalez — and it’s not a given that they should — they should do it at the break when there are identifiably desperate teams who will pay heavily in terms of big talent that is under team control for a long time.

Red Sox set a new major league record with 11 strikeouts in a row

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox works the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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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 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.