UPDATE: David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal reports that Oswalt is confident he’ll be able to make his next start.
While it was initially announced that he left the game with a lower back strain, Oswalt told reporters that it’s mid-back spasms that aren’t related to his past back issue.
9:57 PM: According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Roy Oswalt left tonight’s game against the Marlins after six innings with a lower back strain.
Oswalt suffered the injury while running to first base on a bunt in the bottom of the sixth inning. He went out to start the top of the seventh inning, but walked off the mound with a trainer before throwing a pitch. He allowed two runs over six innings while striking out six and walking one before leaving the game.
As Zolecki notes, Oswalt has dealt with a lower back issues in the past. The 33-year-old right-hander was shut down in September of 2009 due to lower back inflammation and required an injection in the area prior to the start of the 2010 season.
We’ve remained optimistic about the Phillies because the “Big Four” has managed to avoid the injury bug so far, but another lingering back issue for Oswalt could make things a little more interesting in the National League East.
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.