Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated this morning that he was confident about Hanley Ramirez making the apology to the team necessary to be back in the lineup for tonight’s game.
And sure enough, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com he plans to do just that. Here’s what Ramirez told Rojas this afternoon (the actual quotes are in Spanish, so below is merely what “Google Translate” spit out):
I regret that this has gotten so ugly, it was not my intention to create a distraction. I feel that things have reached these levels, the team and the fans do not deserve it. Here we are all professionals and we are pulling for the same side, I will try to close this chapter and focus on playing ball.
Ramirez also backtracked from some of the shots he took at Gonzalez’s lack of experience as a big-league player, saying he was “not trying to belittle or denigrate the manager because he did not play” in the majors. Better late than never, I suppose, but saying all of that (or just not saying some of the stuff he’s now backing away from) 24 hours ago sure would have saved Ramirez a lot of trouble.
Instead he publicly criticized and undermined his manager, threw teammates under the bus for joining him in not hustling, and generally just splashed gasoline on the fire he created in the first place by dogging it. I give him credit for swallowing his pride rather than stubbornly refusing not to apologize, because that would have kept Ramirez out of the lineup and ultimately he’s a great player the Marlins need out there every day.
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.