Even though Brad Eldred was tied for the minor league lead in home runs, he was released by the Tigers on Tuesday. Of course, it wasn’t because of anything he did wrong; he’s going to Japan to play with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
The 31-year-old Eldred was hitting .305/.374/.695 in 236 at-bats for Triple-A Toledo this season. He was tied with Royals prospect Wil Myers for the minor league lead with 24 homers. He probably would have had a couple more, but he spent eight days in the majors with Detroit earlier this season, going 3-for-16 with a triple and a double.
The Tigers declined to give Eldred a longer look even though they’ve gotten a pathetic .228/.257/.346 line and just three homers in 237 at-bats from their designated hitters this season. They’re looking for a right-handed bat to help out in the middle of their order and Eldred is a right-handed hitter, yet they clearly didn’t think he could do the job.
And maybe they’re right. Eldred got 276 at-bats as a major leaguer and hit .203/.258/.417 with 15 homers. Two-thirds of those came in 2005, and he hadn’t received a real opportunity since. He didn’t seem all that deserving of one until this year, though. While he racked up strong power numbers in previous seasons in Triple-A, it came with modest batting averages and OBPs, 3/1 K/BB ratios and OPSs in the 800s.
Eldred heads east having hit 251 minor league homers in 3,610 at-bats over 11 seasons.
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.