Hal Steinbrenner to Joe Giradi: "I can't imagine this team without you"

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MLB.com’s Barry Bloom sat down with Hal Steinbrenner recently. During their conversation Little Stein, after first reiterating that he doesn’t do contract extensions until the current contracts actually end, strongly suggested that Joe Girardi isn’t going anywhere:

“Quite frankly, I had a talk with him,” Steinbrenner said. “I said,
‘Joe, this is something you can’t take personally. It’s something I’ve
never done. It’s something I don’t believe in, and I don’t believe in
making exceptions. But I can’t imagine this team without you. So know
that.’ And he was fine with it. It is what is.

“I hope everybody is reasonable and we can work it out easily. But
there’s no doubt I want them here.”

The “them” refers to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, who also are winding down their current contracts. But no one really doubted that they’d remain in the fold. There’s always a chance, however, that Girardi wouldn’t be back, either because the team disappoints or because he asks for too much money or what have you. These quotes, however, make it sound like Girardi is going to be around regardless.

Which makes sense. If this Yankees team doesn’t have a great year, it’s not very likely that it will be due to something Girardi does or doesn’t do. It will be because of injuries or one of the older players finally feeling his age or something like that.

Girardi is a good company man. He deals with the scrutiny from the press pretty well.  The players seem to like him. He hasn’t mishandled the assets he’s been given to manage. Those are the most important traits for a New York Yankees manager. He deserves a new deal in my mind.

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.

Video: Dustin Pedroia’s base running sends Red Sox to 11th consecutive win

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox is greeted at the dugout by Pablo Sandoval #48, left, and Mookie Betts #50, right, after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 24, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)
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The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.

With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.

Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.

Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.

The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.