Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero blows a gum balloon during practice at their spring training facility in Dunedin

Ricky Romero calls out Blue Jays’ offense for lack of support

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Ricky Romero tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Braves last night, but got stuck with a loss because the Blue Jays were shut out by Tim Hudson and Craig Kimbrel, managing just two singles and one walk while striking out 11 times.

Pitching well and getting zero run support has been the story of the season for Romero, who has a 6-7 record despite a 2.98 ERA, .230 opponents’ batting average, and 91/36 K/BB ratio in 103 innings spread over 15 starts.

In his seven losses the lineup has scored a total of 13 runs and his frustration finally boiled over last night, as Romero called out the offense:

All I can do is just pitch. I can’t worry about the offence and what they do. I’ve always said this at one point we can’t rely on Bautista, we can’t rely on Lind. We’ve got to get somebody else to step up and get on base and drive them in. These guys are getting pitched around. Everyone’s got to step it up or else we’re not going to be winning ballgames. This team doesn’t revolve around one or two guys. Everyone’s got to put in their parts. That’s how we win ballgames.

Everyone knows. I’m sure those guys are not trying to get out. They’re all trying. I’m not singling anyone out or anything like that. We’re all trying. At one point we have to do the small things and we have to continue to get on base. Like I said, those guys are going to get pitched around, so hopefuly we’ll be able to do that.

I sympathize with Romero, particularly since pitchers are still evaluated based on their win-loss records far too often and he deserves much better than 6-7. On the other hand, as he even points out it’s not as if the Blue Jays’ hitters are trying to do poorly and I’m not sure how calling them out publicly will help matters anyway.

Plus, the lineup has actually provided plenty of run support to everyone but Romero, scoring an average of 3.5 runs per game in his starts compared to 4.9 runs per game in everyone else’s starts. Overall the Blue Jays rank fourth among AL teams in runs, so offense hasn’t been the problem. Offense when their best pitcher is on the mound has been the issue and that’s more about randomness and matchups than effort or ability.

Red Sox set a new major league record with 11 strikeouts in a row

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox works the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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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 seven 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 clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.