I wish I didn’t know so many cool Cardinals fans, because it would be nice to gloat about Tony “master of the bullpen” La Russa having to suffer through bullpen implosions on consecutive nights. But I do know a lot of cool Cardinals fans, and that takes all the damn fun out of it.
Last night’s loss ended when Chris Iannetta hit a leadoff, walkoff homer in the ninth, but the roots of this loss were in the earlier innings and, in all likelihood, Tuesday night’s game. Earlier innings in which La Russa had to burn through multiple relievers, leaving him with Evan MacLane — who had just been called up — to handle the ninth. Mitchell Boggs, Trever Miller and Jason Motte were either gassed or just didn’t have it or both before MacLane came in, and because of it the Cards frittered away a five-run lead for the second time in as many nights.
The killer in all of this is that these losses have served to waste big offensive nights for St. Louis after they they had struggled to score runs for so damn long. Indeed, the Cardinals scored more than seven
runs both nights — the first time they’d done that since the end of May — but it was all for naught.
But I guess it could be worse for Cardinals fans. They could be Knicks fans.
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.