The strange voyage of Brett Wallace continues.
Steve Campbell of Houston Chronicle reports that Wallace was recently dropped from his Dominican Winter League team. The 25-year-old batted .173 (9-for-52) with two home runs and nine RBI over 20 games before getting the boot from the Escogido Lions.
Astros general manager Ed Wade, who was busy at the general managers’ meetings this week in Milwaukee, told Campbell that he wasn’t aware of Wallace’s release.
“He’s been struggling down there, and it’s a very competitive environment,” Wade said.
It’s not usual for players to be dropped from winter ball, as teams are there to win as opposed to doing any favors for MLB teams, but this is just the latest turn in a disappointing year for the former top prospect. Wallace left spring training as the starting first baseman, but eventually lost his job to Carlos Lee and was sent back down to the minors in late July. He batted .259/.334/.369 with five home runs, 29 RBI and a .703 OPS over 378 plate appearances at the major league level this season.
Lee, who has one year left on his six-year, $100 million contract, is set to open 2012 as the starting first baseman while Wade says that Wallace will have to “win a job” on the Opening Day roster.
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.