More dirt from the increasingly fascinating case of Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels. The Daily News reports that Samuels was essentially a clubhouse mole for the Wilpons for years, with both Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel believing that he was reporting on them — and passing along players’ gripes — to the front office. He was able to do this, they report, because he became closely involved with certain players, who came to rely on him for housing and the handling of all manner of personal matters. The best quote in the article reflects this:
“One thing you have to realize is no matter how much money you have or how big of a star you are, you need help to manage your life if you are a player,” one source says. “These guys wake up at 11, spend some time with their family, and then they are off to the park. They can’t take batting practice and say, ‘Skip, I gotta run some errands, I’ll be back in an hour.’ The smart ones hire a personal assistant who does this stuff for them. The dumb ones rely on equipment guys. The equipment guys get deeply involved in their lives.”
And Samuels, it seems, got deeper than most. Really, even if the guy wasn’t accused of stealing from the team and being involved in illegal gambling, this is a guy who would have needed to be canned anyway for the sake of an organization ruled by sanity as opposed to palace intrigue.
There’s also some fun stuff in there about how Samuels’ alleged pilfering of game-used equipment to sell on the memorabilia market had a severely depressing effect on that market. I used to represent some clients in that world. They’re a fun, colorful, and on occasion, scary bunch. I can just imagine what they’re saying about Samuels.
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.