Edwin Rodriguez is starting to feel some heat with the Marlins tied for last place in the NL East at 32-36 after losing 13 of 14 games to begin June, but today Hanley Ramirez made it very clear that he’s in the manager’s corner.
Ramirez, who just returned from a stint on the disabled list and has hit just .206 while battling back problems, told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com that Rodriguez “is a pretty good guy and a pretty good manager … he’s smart.”
Here’s a little more from Ramirez, who’s expected to sit out day games following night games for the next two weeks:
I’m on his side. I’ve got his back, till the death, man. Everything he is doing is good for the team. I’m never complaining about anything he does. When the team wins, everybody wants to give credit to the players. When we don’t, everybody wants [to blame] the manager. That’s not the way it is.
I’m on his side. Whatever he wants to do, I’m all for. He’s the best guy we ever had here. He lets you play. We’re going through things where everything is going bad right now. But he’s there for you.
Ramirez is right, of course. His being hurt and ineffective along with Josh Johnson being on the disabled list for the past month has cost the Marlins more runs and more wins than anything tactical Rodriguez could possibly do.
On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily mean Rodriguez has done a good job and, even if he has, the Marlins fired Joe Girardi after he won Manager of the Year, canned Fredi Gonzalez following back-to-back winning seasons, and have never stuck with a manager for more than four seasons in their entire history.
Last week they fired hitting coach John Mallee and this afternoon Rodriguez held a team meeting before facing the Phillies, so the seat is definitely warming up.
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.