Yesterday Brian Cashman said that he’d feel better if he signed a starter. He also said that the Yankees are a starter away from being a World Series contender.
Today he signed Bartolo Colon. Really.
It’s a minor league deal. Colon probably doesn’t even make the team. It’s not going to prevent the Yankees from doing anything they would have otherwise done. But really, the optics of it are not good, as they say.
It’s the Yankees. Everyone overanalyzes what they do. Because of that — and because absolutely nothing else is going on right now — you have to wonder if this could have waited until the questions about their rotation had been resolved. Because coming as it does now, many people are going to presume that this is Cashman’s answer to those questions, and the media calliope is going to start rum-pum-pumming about it. Bartolo Colon would have still been waiting around in a couple of weeks. And if he wasn’t, some other tomato can starter like him would have been. People are now going to bombard Cashman with questions about how the Yankees rotation plans went from Cliff Lee to Bartolo Colon in the space of two months.
I had resisted this line of thinking as it has become more and more popular in recent days, but really, I am now prepared to admit that Cashman is trying to get himself run out of town on a rail. Or, at any rate, signing Bartolo Colon is something I’d do if I wanted such a thing.
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.