The narrative after last night’s crazy Red Sox-Yankees game is probably going to center on Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch and all of the drama which surrounded it. That narrative is also likely to include a heavy dose of people excusing Dempster for throwing at A-Rod because A-Rod is evil and Dempster was standing up for those who don’t cheat, snitch and all of that stuff.
Before you hop on that train, however, check out these tweets from hockey journalist Wane Scanlan, which were highlighted in Dave Brown’s post over at Big League Stew:
Maybe it’s easy to hate A-Rod, but it would seem that Dempster already had a beef with A-Rod and it wasn’t about anything as high-minded as professional integrity.
Whatever animated Dempster, it was still pretty stupid. Even if you hate A-Rod for all of the best reasons on the planet, putting him on in that situation and giving what has been a listless Yankees team of late some baserunners and some motivation was dumb. And, as we’ve said several times around these parts, throwing at batters is dumb as a general rule. If it was about some petty personal snub it was triply dumb.
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.