Jose Tabata is not in the Pirates’ starting lineup tonight against the Tigers. But it’s not your routine day of rest. According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the young outfielder was benched for not hustling last night against the Nationals.
Tabata botched a pair of plays in left field, but Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was most concerned with his failure to bust it down the line on a tapper in front of the plate which resulted in an inning-ending double play in the top of the ninth.
“We’ve seen it happen a couple of times,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “They understand here that when that happens, there’s something else that’s going to happen: You’re going to sit with me and watch.”
“He understands there was a lesson to be learned,” Hurdle said. “He had a rough night all over the board. It happens sometimes to young players. Sometimes they need (to regain) focus. He understands the importance he carries at the top of the lineup, the intensity he’s got to play with.”
Hurdle had a closed-door chat with Tabata prior to tonight’s game. Assuming the message was received, he should be back in there tomorrow.
Like many of the Pirates’ hitters, Tabata is off to a slow start this season. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .235/.284/.356 with two homers, six RBI, five stolen bases and a .640 OPS through 140 plate appearances. He agreed to an extension last August which will keep him with the club through 2016 and includes options through 2019, so the Pirates are counting on him to be a major part of their future.
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.