Ervin Santana and Coors Field is a match made in homer-allowing heaven and sure enough the Angels right-hander served up two more long balls versus the Rockies yesterday.
(He also got the “win” while allowing seven runs in 5.2 innings, because pitcher “wins” are hilarious.)
Santana has now allowed 18 homers in 80 innings spread over 13 starts, which puts him on pace to allow 46 homers on the season. That would tie Santana for the third-highest total in baseball history:
Bert Blyleven 1986 50
Jose Lima 2000 48
Bronson Arroyo 2011 46
Bert Blyleven 1987 46
Robin Roberts 1956 46
Four pitchers (including Bert Blyleven twice) have allowed more than 45 homers in a season. Two of them are in the Hall of Fame and the other two are both former All-Stars. Santana is also a former All-Star and he’s been a very solid starter for the Angels during the past seven seasons, throwing nearly 1,300 innings with a 4.22 ERA.
That includes a 3.38 ERA in 229 innings last season and a 3.92 ERA in 223 innings in 2010, so Santana’s decline to a 5.74 ERA is both homer-fueled and unexpected. Prior to this season his career-high for homers allowed was 27 and he’d served up an average of 25 homers per 200 innings. And now he’s allowed 18 in 80 innings and been bad enough that projecting his season total of 46 requires the leap of faith that he’ll actually remain in the Angels’ rotation all year.
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.