Blue Jays All-Star catcher John Buck is drawing a lot of interest, reports Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, with the Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, and Phillies all scouting last night’s Royals-Jays game. Of course, take any reports based on scouting with a grain of salt, especially when teams who are perfectly set at catcher like the Twins are mentioned.
For those who do need a catcher, Buck is a fairly attractive option. He has some punch, leading regular AL catchers not named Carlos Santana in slugging percentage this year. He’s also owed less than a million bucks for the remainder of the season and will be a free agent come winter, so there’s no expensive, long term commitments involved. Perfect one night stand material, if you wish to put it in that creepy, creepy way.
The Tigers make sense in that they could use a catcher and a bat. Elliott also mentions the Red Sox and Reds, both of which make some amount of sense (though the Sox will be getting decent catchers back soon enough.
All of this still has me wondering why the Royals chose to pay Jason Kendall three times as much money as Buck ended up getting rather than just sticking with Buck after last season. In terms of both production and trade value, Buck is about a gajillion times better.
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.