John Tomase of the Boston Herald has some details on how the Red Sox’s clubhouse atmosphere deteriorated this season, including a report that “more than one pitcher drank beer in the clubhouse during games on the days he didn’t pitch.”
Because relievers don’t really have off days that suggests “pitchers” are really “starting pitchers” and that narrows down the list of candidates considerably.
A total of 10 pitchers started for the Red Sox this season, but only Jon Lester (31), Josh Beckett (30), John Lackey (28), and Tim Wakefield (23) started at least 20 times. Other starters were Clay Buchholz (14), Andrew Miller (12), Erik Bedard (8), Daisuke Matsuzaka (7), Kyle Weiland (5), and Alfredo Aceves (4).
Of course, whether or not drinking beer in the clubhouse between starts is big news is debatable–Thomase notes that the Red Sox famously sipped Jack Daniels together before ALCS games in 2004–but either way it’s certainly not something the Red Sox would want made public amid Terry Francona’s departure and talk of various players not being in good shape and wearing down late in the season.
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.