In the wake of Mark Connor resigning yesterday for personal reasons Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun note that by replacing him with Rick Adair the Orioles have now changed pitching coaches 13 times in 17 years.
A couple guys have held the job twice during that span, but Connolly raises a good point by asking: “How can you expect a staff to be consistent when there is so much turnover with its direct supervisor?”
Obviously changing pitching coaches a bunch of times in 1990s doesn’t have any impact on the current Orioles’ pitching staff, but ditching Leo Mazzone after two years and then going through three different guys in the following four seasons certainly does.
Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie was more upset about specifically losing Connor than about the team’s revolving door at pitching coach:
Anything can affect a team for the better or worse so there’s no telling which way it will go. For us, we’re just losing someone we care for and we hope the best for him and the things he needs to handle. For me, some guys you work well with, other guys you don’t work as well with. That’s the most important thing. The transition itself isn’t too difficult. It’s, “How does the working relationship go?” And that’s something we’ll go through now with Rick as the pitching coach.
Adair is Guthrie’s fourth pitching coach in five seasons with the Orioles.
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.
The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.
Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.
Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.