While I’m not the biggest fan of Peter Abraham the writer — he’s a very good reporter, but I often disagree with his analysis — the man certainly has guts. He’s going to have to head right back into the Red Sox clubhouse this afternoon after writing a pretty scathing piece on Boston.com today.
Some choice cuts:
Terry Francona was good at covering up and often times looked ridiculous defending the indefensible. But clearly he had a good handle on how fragile the egos were in that clubhouse.
The Red Sox have become accustomed to losing. With a few exceptions, most of the players shrug their shoulders and go about their business. That business, with few exceptions, is not winning baseball games.
Somehow — and this is the crux of the matter — the Red Sox went from being a franchise of grind-it-out, hard-nosed players to being entitled, selfish and unlikable.
And then he brings in the closer to shut the door:
If Valentine gets fired, all it will be is more appeasement.
Then again, you might be doing him a favor. Then he can sit around for a season, collect on his contract and not worry about winning. In that sense, he would be just like the players he was given to manage.
Go read the whole piece now, and try to imagine how many dagger stares and cold shoulders he’ll be getting later this afternoon.
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.