Kenshin Kawakami was on the trading block for the entire offseason and Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves are still trying to deal the Japanese right-hander.
After a solid rookie season Kawakami went 1-10 with a 5.19 ERA last year, but with a 59/32 K/BB ratio in 87 innings his secondary numbers were almost identical to those from his rookie season. In other words, given a fresh start and a spot at the bottom of another team’s rotation, Kawakami is capable of tossing 175 innings with a 4.50 ERA.
Atlanta doesn’t need that even if they hadn’t lost total faith in Kawakami, because Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, and Tommy Hanson fill the first four spots in the rotation and Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy are fighting for the fifth spot, but in order to move Kawakami the Braves will likely have to eat most of his $6.7 million salary and so far at least they haven’t been willing to do that.
He’s better than quite a few fifth starters around baseball.
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 seven 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.