Entering Friday’s action, Brian Roberts has started all 23 games for the Orioles this season, yet he only has two stolen bases. Some have speculated that his balky back could be a factor for his inactivity on the basepaths, but Roberts told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com earlier today that he has been slowed early in the season due to a hamstring injury.
“I actually had a hamstring [injury] for about three weeks and nobody knew about it,” said Roberts, who said he started feeling discomfort in his right hamstring at the end of spring training. “I wanted to be on the field and I knew if I was trying to run recklessly, I probably wouldn’t have been able to stay in the lineup. But it’s gotten a lot better,” said Roberts, who stole his second base of the season, and first since April 6, on Thursday.
Roberts stole 12 bases in an injury-shortened 2010 season, but swiped at least 23 bases in the previous seven seasons. Though he’s now 33 years old and increasingly injury-prone, he tells Ghiroli that he’s confident he can get back to being the same player.
“I want to run and I think I still can run. I think I can still steal 30 bases and that’s what I’m hoping to do.”
Roberts is batting .253/.287/.411 with three homers and 16 RBI over his first 101 plate appearances this season.
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.