I got to Goodyear Ballpark just after 8AM this morning to find the groundscrew having to deal with a soaking wet tarp. Note the giant pool just beyond shortstop:
Not something that happens very often in the desert I imagine. The trick: to rip that thing off the infield fast enough so that the pool doesn’t move to the infield dirt, which would make Asdrubal Cabrera’s life difficult this afternoon. OK men, grab some tarp and … ready … sprint!
Victory! Now the pool is in shallow left, where drains will presumably make it go away before I hit “post.”
Last night’s rain notwithstanding, driving around Phoenix these past few days, I’ve been struck by how utterly unnatural it is for five or six million people to live in a desert. Seeing green grass at office parks or golf courses is downright disturbing. Even taking a shower makes me feel self-conscious. This water should not be here and otherwise would not be but for the desire of human beings to live where Mother Nature made it inhospitable to do so.
I can’t decide if the existence of modern metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona is a shining testament to the human spirit or an impressive display of man’s folly.
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.