Well, that bottom of the seventh inning was probably one of the worst meltdowns I have seen in quite some time. And this is coming from a Mets fan. The Phillies now lead the Reds 6-4 in the eighth inning.
It all started when Chase Utley reached first base on a questionable HBP against Aroldis Chapman. The replays were pretty darn inconclusive, but you’d think Utley would have reacted a bit more had hit actually been hit by a 102 mph fastball. Maybe his life was just flashing before his eyes or something. Either way, he reached first base.
After Chapman fanned Ryan Howard for the first out, Jayson Werth hit a ground ball to third, which should have been thrown to first for the second out, but Scott Rolen decided to throw to second, instead. Again, replays were inconclusive, but Utley was ruled safe at second base.
Then, things went completely haywire. Jimmy Rollins hit a flyball to right field and Jay Bruce completely lost it in the lights, or more likely, the sea of white towels being waved at Citizens Bank Park. If that wasn’t bad enough, Brandon Phillips dropped the cut-off throw, allowing two runs to score. And to complete the trifecta of “I just don’t know,” it sure looked like Utley may have missed third base.
In summary, the Phillies have scored six runs thanks to six hits, four errors, four walks and three hit-by-pitches. Five of their six runs are unearned. The Reds are basically saying, “here, you can have it.”
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.