We all looked kind of silly last winter assuming that Adrian Gonzalez was going to be traded. We never took into account the possibility that the Padres could, you know, win some ballgames. But win they did, and it took Gonzalez right out of the trade speculation pool before the weather got hot. What’s more, the Padres success had some people thinking that maybe the club could find a way to keep the hometown hero in the fold after all.
Yeah, about that:
The agent for Adrian Gonzalez says it’s “pretty much a fait accompli” that the Padres slugger will test the free-agent market after the 2011 season . . . [Gonzalez’s agent] says he’ll seek market value for the three-time All-Star and doesn’t anticipate the Padres veering from their financial structure.
Maybe this all talk, though, and the Padres feel differently about the possibility of signing their stud. Jed Hoyer?
Hoyer says the type of contract Gonzalez will seek in free agency is something that only a handful of markets can support, “and San Diego is not one of them.” Hoyer says it doesn’t make sense to make an offer that doesn’t come close to what Gonzalez would want.
If the agent says the guy is going to test the market and seek top dollar, and the GM says the team can’t afford him, doesn’t that put us right back into “the Padres are going to trade Adrian Gonzalez” territory? And with him making an insanely low $5.5 million this year, wouldn’t it make him a highly sought after commodity? If you’re in he market for a corner bat, how are you not banging down Jed Hoyer’s door right now?
And if you’re Jed Hoyer, can you really just decide to hold on and wait for the 2012 draft picks? Don’t you have to see if you can’t do 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.