The Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero trade was pretty cool in that we don’t see tons of young-pitcher-for-young-slugger trades that don’t involve payroll things, impending free agency or any of that. But it could have been way cooler. Well, at least if you’re a Mariners fan.
As Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail reports, the Blue Jays — who have been criticized by some for not doing anything big this offseason — defended themselves yesterday by noting that they avoided doing something big — and dumb — a couple of weeks ago:
They squandered some of that currency and Monday was an attempt to build it back up, with Anthopoulos getting in the act and stating clearly that a particular trade he didn’t make – let’s take a wild stab here, folks, and say it was for Seattle Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda – fell apart because the other team wanted a major-league-ready player off the Blue Jays roster.
(Several sources say that player was third baseman Brett Lawrie; the Blue Jays balked and instead the Mariners did some good business with the New York Yankees, landing catcher Jesus Montero.)
I guess you can’t fault the M’s for asking. But man, I can’t think of many young hitters who are more untouchable, or at least should be, than Brett Lawrie. Sure, Jesus Montero may be great one day, but at age 21 Lawrie hit .293/.373/.580, hit nine home runs drove in 25 RBI in only 171 plate appearances. And had some big, dramatic hits too.
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.
The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.
Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.
Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.