Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation writes an open letter to the Cincinnati Reds saying what the vast majority of people outside of the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan area are thinking: please, Reds, lose tonight. You really gotta:
First off, I have a tremendous respect for your franchise. I’m young enough to not remember my favorite team getting bludgeoned by the Big Red Machine, but old enough to remember what it was like to watch Eric Davis with complete awe … the Reds are a quality organization with a long, storied history. And I respect the heck out of you.
So this isn’t easy to write. I love the uncertainty of the playoffs, the surprises. The best part of the postseason is to find out who the Jeff Weaver or Mark Lemke is going to be. The randomness of it all is what keeps the baseball playoffs so danged interesting. I’m looking forward to watching it all develop.
But me and some of the other folks have been talking, and, well, we need you to lose.
His reasoning is sound. I mean, really, it is. Gotta go read it for it to truly make sense to you though.
Personally: I find the Reds a pretty likable bunch. But I do believe that most everyone is gonna be rooting for Pittsburgh tonight and I get it. I wish it was the Cardinals facing the Pirates now because they’re way easier to root against. But that’s not how it is, so we’re gonna have to just accept this.
But … if everyone is rooting for the Pirates, doesn’t that make the Reds the outcasts? And don’t prickly jerks like me tend to root for the outcasts? The hated? Does this not compel me to root for the Reds?
Darn, this is confusing.
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.