Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has been generally against expanded instant replay because, in his words, it could open up a “pandora’s box.” But he has changed his mind on that as of Saturday night.
That game ended on a blown call in which Joey Votto was pulled off the first base bag on a throw yet Carlos Beltran was called out anyway. The replays were clear, the umpire missed it and instead of the bases being loaded for a Matt Holliday vs. Aroldis Chapman showdown everyone walked to the clubhouse. Yesterday he told Mike Bauman of MLB.com that he has finally come around and that replay is both necessary and inevitable:
“You just want the right thing to happen … You’ve got a chance before you guys walk into your locker room to get together and try to figure out the right thing. The system isn’t allowing it. I’ve always been kind of, ‘I don’t know,’ [on expanded replay] … But to get something, moving forward, for a play like that, it dictates a game. And I think you’ve seen enough of them this year. Major League Baseball would probably say we’ve seen too many of them. I think it’s one of those years when the writing is on the wall.”
I know people like to say that there is room for disagreement on replay. And, yes, I will grant that implementation of any new program will have its challenges. But there is no excuse not to get the calls right. There is no objection to instant replay which is as compelling as the argument that the proper calls need to be made.
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.