If you’re like me, the airwaves just haven’t been the same since Steve Phillips got fired. But never fear! My corporate parent has seen to it that you’ll get your fix on Monday:
Steve Phillips, fired late last October from ESPN over an embarrassing extramarital affair with a young staffer at the network, will go public with his story for the first time Monday during a “Today” show interview with Matt Lauer.
Sources said the Phillips interview is expected to air during the early portion of the show.
I’m going to go out and a limb here and guess that the grovelling-to-informing ratio is going to be on the high side. Because really, there isn’t much for Phillips to tell here. He got busted for an inappropriate workplace relationship. Again. While the behavior of the young lady in question was rather nuts, it’s a pretty simple story from Phillips’ perspective.
So the grovelling will be really important here. Why? Employment. No, not with ESPN or in baseball or anything like that. Because really, his behavior has made him more or less unemployable either as a media personality or as someone in a position of authority in a Major League Baseball office. And that’s just because of the affair-with-an-underling stuff. If you bring his awfulness as a media personality and fecklessness as a GM into the equation, the dude is positively radioactive.
However, if he can muster some real tears for Lauer on Monday he may yet be able to parlay a book deal or a series of paid speaking engagements out of this. And if that happens, we all win, don’t we?
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 seven 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.