I’m not going to change my view of Jim Riggleman’s move — I think it was the wrong move to make and a bad one for his future for him to resign like that — but I’m also hesitant to bury the guy too deeply. The reason? We don’t know what brought the situation to a head with the Nats’ front office. Riggleman has never done a rash thing in his professional life, and all of a sudden he snaps? There’s got to be more to the story, right?
Ken Rosenthal helps shine a bit of light on that this morning. In his column — which starts out by noting that Riggleman’s resignation was not the right way to handle this — Rosenthal reports that the communication from the Nats’ front office was poor at best and not in keeping what people expect to go on behind closed doors with a major league team:
Most GMs talk with their managers every day; Rizzo rarely spoke with Riggleman, according to numerous sources. Most teams understand that a manager’s authority is compromised when he is in the last year of his contract; the Lerners proceed along their merry way, seemingly ignorant of conventional baseball wisdom … Stan Kasten worked 24 years for Ted Turner, one of the most eccentric owners in sports history. He lasted only four years with the Lerners. Gee, wonder why.
Apparently Nats’ scouts have complained about Rizzo’s lack of communication skills too.
Again, none of this makes Riggleman’s move the right one. But even if he was still wrong to quit like he did, it’s not totally inexplicable either.
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.