Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday that he hadn’t spoken with the agent Roy Oswalt in about a week while adding that “the last we heard he was going to Texas.” Either Jocketty was being coy or something has changed in the past day or so, because Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com are now reporting that the Reds “remain in talks” with the veteran right-hander.
Rosenthal actually reported on Saturday that the Reds, Red Sox and Phillies had maintained contact with Oswalt’s representatives, but was later told that Cincinnati had merely kicked the tires and weren’t actively involved in negotiations. It turns out he may have been right the first time.
Oswalt would still prefer to pitch for the Rangers or Cardinals, but since both clubs have full starting rotations, he’s having a hard time landing the one-year, $8-10 million salary he reportedly covets. The Reds also have a full slate of starters, but it looks like they are hoping to take advantage of a depressed market in order to make a deal work. They would have to move salary in order to sign him and Homer Bailey is considered the most likely trade candidate.
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.