A couple weeks ago our Matthew Pouliot suggested that maybe the Mets should just release Mike Pelfrey. I’m going to take this morning’s story from Andy Martino as evidence that the Mets brass reads HBT:
In a recent meeting that included the Mets’ executives and coaches, members of the front office suggested releasing Mike Pelfrey before Opening Day, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. None of the uniformed staff was in favor of the idea, and it was downplayed.
How much of that was a financial decision — Pelfrey has a non-guaranteed contract if he were to be cut before Opening Day, which would have the Mets owe him only $1 million — and how much was an actual baseball decision is an interesting question. Because baseball-wise, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to release him.
Why? Because it’s not like having Pelfrey around, even if he’s at his worst, will prevent the Mets from going to the playoffs. And when you’re not contending it’s useful to have someone like him around. He could eat some innings. If he figures out how to pitch effectively again he could be trade bait. Trading him now — which the Mets have considered — would be the ultimate sell-low move. But releasing him would be a similar kind of thing too. “Release-low” maybe.
In any event, Pelfrey had a nice outing yesterday. And while I wouldn’t bet on him being a truly good pitcher this season, it’s not out of the question that he could be serviceable, and that’s worth taking a chance on.
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.