I’m not going to go with the easy joke about how the Giants saved the Mets from themselves with respect to Bengie Molina, because as Aaron’s going to say later this morning, that’s not necessarily the case. Short version: it was a bit more complicated than that, with the Mets initially (and laudably) holding the line on Molina’s early demands, and then later just an overall souring of the relationship.
I’m more interested in what the Mets will do at catcher now The New York Times (and a lot of other places) is reporting that Minaya may make an offer to Yorvit Torrealba. Not a bad decision from a baseball perspective I suppose. A curious one for non-baseball reasons, however:
Turning to him would be intriguing, and perhaps costly, because
Torrealba filed a continuing grievance against the Mets after they
backed out of a three-year deal with him two years ago . . . Last month, the Mets and Torrealba attended a hearing on the grievance,
conducted by the baseball arbitrator Shyam Das. A ruling is not
expected for several months.
Parties in litigation are generally encouraged not to talk to each other without counsel present, so if the Mets do sign Torrealba, expect the mound to be crowded with guys with suits and briefcases during pitching changes. A lot of “would you please tell counsel for Mr. Santana that I believe a breaking ball is more appropriate in this situation. Thank you.”
More seriously, though, if the Mets do sign Torrealba, take his contract amount with a grain of salt, because it may contain some settlement dollars.
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.