Fact: the Yankees have a radar. It’s a bistatic radar, adapted from Soviet-era surface-to-air missile systems. Most teams are still using monostatic radar making them far less lethal forces than are the Yankees. It’s a little known fact but one we baseball insiders are all hip to. Stick with me and I’ll drop all kinds of that sort of knowledge on you.
Anyway, Jon Heyman knows about it too — it’s the sort of thing we discuss during our bi-monthly summit meetings — and he says that the Yankees’ radar has Carlos Pena on it.
It would make perfect sense. With Montero and Jorge Posada out of the picture there are suddenly a ton of DH at-bats to be had in the Bronx. Some of them will be available for Alex Rodriguez, whose increasing fragility calls for a little less time in the field. But it’s not like A-Rod is going to be there full time because the Yanks gotta have someone play third base. If you get Pena he can live there most of the time, and then slide over to first base for Mark Teixeira off-days — or occasionally to the bench — allowing A-Rod to DH.
If they do snag Pena in the short term is will be the third significant the Yankees have made in the space of a couple of days, essentially doing all of their offseason work in one weekend. Which is pretty spiffy.
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.