Peter Gammons, now working for the MLB Network, MLB.com and NESN, heard from three MLB general managers Thursday that Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell is going to be named the Blue Jays’ next skipper.
Legendary Toronto manager Cito Gaston stepped down at the end of the 2010 season and the Jays went on an extensive search for his replacement.
A variety of candidates were interviewed, including Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Yankees third base coach Rob Thomson, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and the Blue Jays’ own third base coach Brian Butterfield. ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine was even linked to the opening for a time.
So why Farrell?
Well, he’s been a member of Boston’s coaching staff since 2006 and was the Indians’ Director of Player Development when Cleveland was named “Organization of the Year” by Baseball America in 2003 and 2004. The experience is there, especially in the ever-tough American League East, and Farrell has been a part of winning clubs for most of his non-playing career. The Blue Jays will never have the kind of payroll that Farrell worked with in Boston, but Toronto does have several young aces-in-the-making.
An official announcement should come sometime before or after the World Series.
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.