As expected, the Giants sent prospect catcher Buster Posey to Triple-A Fresno on Friday night. The 23-year-old batted .321/.357/.453 with one home run, nine RBI and five runs runs scored in 53 at-bats this spring, leaving little doubt that he’ll be with the big club at some point this season. But for now, Giants manager Bruce Bochy tells the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants Posey to play every day in the minor leagues:
“He had a good spring,” Bochy said. “We just feel at this time that
Posey needs to go down and continue to get playing time and get his
at-bats. We told him what the plans are.”
This is potentially a case of the Giants having their cake and eating it too. By sending Posey to the minors for a few months, they’ll ensure that as opposed to Tim Lincecum, Posey will avoid Super Two status. They also rather conveniently arranged Bengie Molina’s one-year, $4.5 million contract for a series of $250,000 bonuses once he reaches 90th start behind the plate, totaling to $1.5 million with 115 games started.
I’d be shocked if Posey isn’t back in the major leagues by the time the first bonus kicks in. In fact, I’d equate the chances of Molina getting 115 starts behind the plate this season to Johnny Damon collecting his $10,000 bonus for a Gold Glove.
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.