Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com wrote a lengthy Jose Reyes article about how the Blue Jays shortstop plans to be healthier and more productive and more active on the bases this season. Pretty standard “spring training optimism” stuff, but it includes Reyes’ thoughts about playing on Toronto’s turf and they were pretty interesting:
The 30-year-old said “it wasn’t good” when asked to describe his experience with the turf, but then also quickly pointed out that despite all of the preseason concerns, his hamstrings never became an issue and the ankle injury happened away from Rogers Centre. …
“People know that playing on the turf every day is tough,” Reyes said. “But as a player, it is what it is. We have to play in there, so you have to find a way … so you can stay on the field and adjust to the turf. It’s not in anybody’s mind. Playing on the turf every day is going to beat up your body.”
Reyes missed 69 games, attempted just 21 steals, and perhaps most tellingly hit zero triples after topping double-digit triples in seven of the past eight seasons, including leading his league four times. However, it should also be noted that he essentially matched his career numbers offensively when healthy enough to be in the Blue Jays’ lineup. His bat wasn’t the issue.
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.
The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.
Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.
Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.