I consider a lot of things.
Ordering organ meats at a fancy restaurant. Growing a mustache. Driving to a natural disaster site and throwing my wallet and cell phone into some burnt or flooded-0ut rubble in order to provide sufficient cover for me to fake my death and start anew in some strange but carefree land.* Doesn’t mean I’m going to do any of those crazy things.
Likewise, Joe Girardi said he’s considering something, though I kind of doubt that he’d really do it:
Bartolo Colon has been cleared to come off the disabled list and start tomorrow at Citi Field. Phil Hughes feels healthy and is anxious to be activated himself. Meanwhile, the Yankees have four starting pitchers all throwing well lately. That leaves six pitchers for five spots.
Or does it?
Yankees manager Joe Girardi left the door open yesterday to going with a six-man rotation.
“It’s something we’re going to think about,” he said.
In the end, it seems like there’s little percentage for a Yankees manager to go with a six-man rotation. It takes innings away from some pitchers who are doing pretty well right now. It smacks of indecisiveness. If either the number five or number six guy have a bad outing, Girardi would get killed. Yes, he’d get killed if the guy he chose as his definitive fifth guy in a five-man rotation got lit up too, but at least that would have been a conventional choice, thereby limiting the avenues of criticism.
In the end, though, fear of media criticism is not a good basis for decision making. I’d avoid the six man here simply because it seems like something you should do if and only if you have a lot of similar, unspectacular pitchers, several of whom would benefit from extra rest. That’s not the Yankees’ situation, though.
*Note: I may have considered this a lot more seriously about four or five years ago than I do now.
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.