You know who’s happy today? The Phillies. Because of the Stanley Cup Final and because of all of the Jim Joyce and Ken Griffey rumpus, not too many people are talking about them today. About how, you know, they’re in a total flat spin and how they can’t hit anymore and look to be playing uninspired baseball and everything.
Well, I notice of course, because I have a vested interest. But Charlie Manuel notices too, and yesterday the normal even-keeled Cholly let loose on his players for not hitting the ball:
“It’s definitely not Milt Thompson’s fault. He doesn’t do the
hitting. You’ve got to hold people accountable. I don’t see a young player on our roster. These guys have been
around a long time. If they haven’t learned something from their
hitting by now, and they don’t know some of the things that they do when
they go bad . . . we can talk to them and we can tell them things that
we see. I talk to them all the time, and I hear Milt talk to them . . .
“You’re the one making the outs. That’s how I look at it.
It’s up to you to master your hitting. If you listen and you learn, the
more you play, you should know something about yourself.”
Manuel then said that maybe he’d hire a house peeper to keep an eye on the fellas next time they hit the bricks for a road trip so’s to put the kibosh on all that rumpty the night before go-time.
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.