There goes all of that crazy Wes Helms speculation I was looking forward to at this year’s Winter Meetings:
The Florida Marlins have signed third baseman Wes Helms to a $1 million, one-year contract extension through the 2011 season. The
Marlins generally don’t sign players to extensions during the season,
but have been talking to Helms for several weeks about returning. Helms
is hitting .225 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 178 at-bats in 91 games.
Wes Helms had 278 glorious plate appearances for the 2006 Marlins and has been one of the worst hitting third basemen in all of baseball since then. Yes, I realize he’s a backup, but there’s nothing that says your backup can’t hit a little. At this point I can only assume that his continued tenure with the Marlins is based on him being the nicest, most wonderful guy you’d ever want in a clubhouse. Or else the Florida brass thinks that the past four seasons are the exception and 2006 the rule.
According to the AP story, Helms is expected to become a coach or a manager after he’s done. I wonder if the Marlins realize that they can hire him in that capacity even if they don’ give him 250 trips to plate next year.
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.