As I type this, a big hearing is going down in the Dodgers’ bankruptcy case. It’s the one in which — or after which — it will be decided who gets to bankroll the Dodgers’ operations during the pendency of the case. Frank McCourt and the $150 million loan he has obtained or Major League Baseball and the $150 million — and possibly more in the future — it has offered to extend to the Dodgers.
As we’ve noted several times, on purely financial terms MLB’s financing is better. Lower interest and no up-front fees like that McCourt would have to pay for his proposed financing. And that matters, because the more money lost to such costs, the less available to creditors of the bankrupt Dodgers (and the interest of the creditors is the primary interest being served in bankruptcy).
Over the past few weeks McCourt has been trying to compensate for these differences by arguing that MLB’s financing is part of a plot by Bud Selig — who he called “the devil” in a filing earlier this week — to shove McCourt aside as the team’s owner. Meanwhile, the creditors and the trustee representing them have asked the judge not to approve McCourt’s financing. It’s been a pretty ugly little battle. (UPDATE: right after I wrote this, the creditors withdrew their objections, noting that McCourt’s financier has lowered the interest rate a point).
But it likely won’t be resolved by a simple decision from the judge, approving one loan and rejecting the other. As Bill Shaikin notes in a very useful primer of today’s hearing, the judge could ask for modifications to either side or go in a totally different direction if he wants.
What is clear, however, is that if one side’s financing is clearly favored, that side will have a much greater hand in steering the future course of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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 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.