Last week Albert Pujols expressed his displeasure with the Angels’ marketing campaign that used billboards bearing his face and the “El Hombre” nickname that he’s never liked being associated with and now the team has responded.
Angels president John Carpino told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that the situation has been “handled” and after speaking to Pujols’ agent there are no further plans to use the nickname on anything.
For now at least the billboards remain up in about 20 locations around California, but Carpino said: “If it caused embarrassment for Albert out of respect for Stan Musial, that’s the only concern of ours. Stan is a baseball icon. It was just an aggressive marketing campaign.”
Carpino revealed that the Angels received negative e-mails from fans about the billboards, but added that there hasn’t been “any fallout.” Pujols has said in the past that he didn’t approve of the nickname because Musial is “The Man” in St. Louis and he respects his legacy too much to use “El Hombre.”
Ultimately this is far from a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s just surprising and a little weird that the Angels didn’t know about his stance on the nickname before deciding to plaster it all over town. Or knew and just didn’t care. Either way.
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 seven 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.