Last week Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd criticized Jhoulys Chacin for being one of the few players not reporting to spring training in the best shape of his life, saying that he wasn’t pleased with the right-hander’s offseason workouts and added weight.
Chacin spoke to Rafael Rojas Cremonesi of the Venezuelan newspaper Meridiano and SB Nation blog Purple Row, refuting O’Dowd’s comments:
I came to Arizona this past Monday. I have not stopped training during the winter, both in my country and here. I have always done the best job I could all throughout these past few months. I don’t know where these comments came from, I believe they’re the result of what other people have told him, instead of his own personal evaluation.
I am looking forward to meeting O’Dowd personally and I am confident that he will have a different conclusion after a first-hand evaluation. He will realize he made conclusions based on incorrect claims made by other people. There’s a myth in the baseball world which states Latin players do not work at their hardest during the winter. We return to our home countries and people think all we do is party. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Chacin added that he’s currently 226 pounds, which is actually two pounds lighter than when he reported to spring training last year and four pounds lighter than his weight at the end of the season. O’Dowd indicated that Chacin reported to spring training at 218 pounds last year, so clearly there’s been a mixup somewhere along the way.
And while there are probably better ways for both sides to address the situation than going through the media, I give Chacin a lot of credit for responding in what seems like a very calm, intelligent manner to that public criticism from his boss. Whether or not he’s actually in worse shape this year is another issue, of course.
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.