Adrian Gonzalez has averaged a homer every 25.1 at-bats in his year and a quarter with the Dodgers. In Wednesday’s Game 5 victory, he hit his second and third in 35 postseason at-bats.
Carl Crawford hit a total of six homers in 435 at-bats in his first year with the Dodgers. On Wednesday, he hit his fourth in 39 postseason at-bats.
It was supposed to be Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig supplying the Dodgers with most of their power this month, but while Ramirez came up big in the NLDS, it’s been Gonzalez, Crawford and Juan Uribe combining for nine of their 11 homers overall. Ramirez hit his lone bomb in Game 2 against the Braves. A.J. Ellis hit the remaining homer in today’s Game 5.
Crawford is the bigger surprise. Of his six homers on the season, four game in April. He hit one in his final 328 regular-season at-bats. But Crawford had shown power in the postseason before, hitting two homers for the Rays in the World Series loss to the Phillies in 2008. Overall, he has seven homers in 122 postseason at-bats, or one every 17.4 at-bats. In the regular season, he’s hit a total of 124 homers in 6,050 at-bats, or one every 48.8 at-bats.
Both Gonzalez and Crawford were, of course, picked up from the Red Sox in last summer’s megadeal, with the Dodgers also getting Josh Beckett and Nick Punto in return for salary relief and prospects. It will be the go-to narrative if the Dodgers and Red Sox happen to advance to the World Series from here. The Red Sox have no one they acquired in the trade on their postseason roster, but they used all that freed up cash to sign free agents like Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes . The Dodgers didn’t get outstanding seasons from either Gonzalez or Crawford, but both were solid enough and they’re making a bigger impact now. Neither team has any regrets at this point.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.