We’ve talked about the strange rooting interests that crop up late in the season. The unbalanced schedule means that the odds are great that fans of one team will have to root for fans of a division rival.
But not everyone feels that way. This AP report set out to find some Boston fans and to ask them whether they’re doing what logic suggests is wise: root for the Yankees over the Rays this week. The answer is not a unanimous one:
“Absolutely not. Anybody that’s going to beat the Yankees, I don’t care,” said Pat Smith, a plumber from Cambridge who watched the Red Sox lose to the Orioles on Monday afternoon — their 12th loss in 15 games. “Even if it hurts the Sox. You never root for the Yankees. I’m sorry. I don’t care” … “You’ve got to root for the Rays,” said Ted Sellars, a grocery manager from the Boston area. “You can’t root for the Yankees. Ever! Ever! Ever!”
I suppose rooting for a rival is hard. And it can make you ashamed of yourself if things don’t work out (see, me last night, rooting for Roy Halladay to beat the Cardinals and then feeling dirty about it when he lost). But man, how do you not hope against hope that the Rays lose this week? Even if you’re a plumber from Cambridge?
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.
Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.
Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.
Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.
Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.