As expected, Brian Cashman’s “I didn’t want Rafael Soriano” press conference has led to chatter about the State of the Yankees front office. Danny Knobler has some anonymice talking to him:
Some people within the organization were telling friends that the divide between Cashman and the team’s Tampa operation is growing again, and even that ownership wasn’t happy with some of Cashman’s recent moves. Last winter, Cashman traded for Javier Vazquez and signed Nick Johnson and Randy Winn as free agents, and none of those moves worked out well. There was even talk that Cashman had mishandled the Lee negotiations by showing too much patience, rather than pushing to get a deal done quickly.
Of course second guessing is an easy game and there are two sides to every story. If the front office was willing to step in to sign Soriano now, why wouldn’t they have stepped in to block the Javier Vazquez trade or the Nick Johnson signing last year if they hated those deals so much? And while it’s theoretically possible that an early, overwhelming offer to Cliff Lee may have changed things, almost everything that was being reported about Lee back in November and December was that he wanted to take things slowly.
I still maintain that the Soriano signing is not, in and of itself, a worrisome thing as it relates to Cashman’s actual power. Owners overrule GMs all the time. But Cashman’s surprising candor on the topic has certainly emboldened people in the organization to start airing the dirty laundry. And that — more than any one signing — is the kind of thing that can kill someone in New York.
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.