Aaron Cook has the distinction of being the Rockies’ all-time leader in wins, but none of that matters as the team’s playoff chances continue to fade by the minute.
A team source tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies are likely to move Cook to the bullpen, clearing a spot for Jhoulys Chacin to re-enter the starting rotation on Sunday.
Cook has been pretty bad all season, posting a 5.34 ERA through 21 starts, but he has reached a new level of awful lately, allowing five runs in each of his last three starts and failing to escape the fifth inning in any of them. He was chased after just three innings in a 10-0 loss to the Giants last night.
Just recently, we heard that the Rockies were “quietly shopping” the veteran right-hander. Cook is owed $9.5 million next season and has an $11 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2012. He would receive an additional $1 million if he is traded. There’s still a chance that could happen this month.
Chacin, 22, was sent back to the minors late last month shortly after Jorge De La Rosa returned from the disabled list. He has a 4.04 ERA overall this season and was very impressive during his time in the rotation, compiling a 3.67 ERA and a 74/34 K/BB ratio over 12 starts. He quite simply gives the team the best chance to win right now.
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.