Chipper Jones’ left calf injury hasn’t gotten any better over the past couple of days, so the Braves have decided to place him on the disabled list. The team has yet to make a corresponding roster move, but they are likely to call up a catcher after David Ross left last night’s game against the Nationals with a groin injury.
Jones originally injured the calf when he was hit in the leg by a line drive off the bat of Rays’ center fielder B.J. Upton last Friday. While he hasn’t started a game since then, he did appear as a pinch-hitter during Wednesday’s game. This means he won’t be eligible to return until June 8, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Chris Vilvamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’ll likely need all 15 days for the injury to heal and perhaps longer.
“They assured me it is going to be 15 days,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not going to be six days [and then he would be healthy enough to return]. It’s going to be the whole 15 days and maybe a little bit longer than that. You are talking 15 days plus six [more days already out of the lineup] without playing. It’s going to be a couple days of rehab also.”
Juan Francisco figures to see more playing time at third base during his absence, but the Braves also have the option of playing Martin Prado at third and Matt Diaz or Eric Hinske in left field.
Jones, 40, is hitting .307/.377/.485 with five homers, 24 RBI and an .862 OPS over 114 plate appearances in his 19th and final season in the majors. He began the year on the disabled list following knee surgery.
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.