We have plenty of roster decisions pouring in from Arizona and Florida today. Here’s one of the more interesting ones.
According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, 24-year-old right-hander Andrew Cashner has won the final spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation.
Carlos Silva entered spring training as the self-proclaimed favorite, but he pitched his way out of the job by putting up an ugly 10.90 ERA over 17 1/3 Cactus League innings. Cashner, on the other hand, posted a 3.97 ERA and 6/7 K/BB ratio over 11 1/3 innings.
The former 2008 first-round pick compiled a 4.80 ERA and 50/30 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings out of the bullpen last season. It’s a bit surprising to see Cashner win the job outright, but he’s the future and well, Silva is not.
The Cubs ultimately decided to carry rookie right-hander Carlos Mateo in their bullpen, which means Silva won’t even make the Opening Day roster.
“I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there’s an injury between now and Opening Day,” general manager Jim Hendry said. “We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs.”
Silva will be a tough sell since he’s due to make $11.5 million this season, a portion of which is being paid by the Mariners. According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Silva said there’s “no chance” that he’ll accept a minor league assignment. He also took a shot at new Cubs pitching coach Mark Riggins on the way out the door. Classy.
Some team will likely take a chance on Silva once he’s available at the league minimum — remember, he posted a 4.22 ERA and 80/24 K/BB ratio over 113 innings last season — but he sounds like more trouble than he’s worth right now.
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.