I really like Adrian Gonzalez. And yes, I appreciate that he has a closer connection to San Diego than a lot of star players have to the teams they end up leaving in free agency. But I really do wish that he — and any other player in his position would stop saying things like this:
“I’m torn . . . I’ve been a Padre fan all my life. I’d love to be part of it happening here. But I understand. I’m hoping to stay through the end of next season. Beyond that, I’m not in control. God is. I’m a man of faith.”
There isn’t any faith about it. There’s business. And the business is going to compel either the Padres to trade him or Gonzalez to leave via free agency. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s reality-based. If fans were to accept that more readily than they do they’d probably have a healthier relationship with sports than many of them do. Instead, we’re left to construe these situations in terms of loyalty and heartlessness and religion, when none of it has any practical place in determining which players play for which teams.
If the Padres wanted to pay more money to Gonzalez, he’d stay. If Gonzalez were willing to take considerably less money from the Padres than he’ll get on the open market, he’d stay. But that’s not going to happen, and there’s nothing spiritual or even particularly emotional about 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.