Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda has dominated the Red Sox so far tonight and it looks like he could be using some pine tar to help shut them down. Or at least improve his grip on the baseball. You be the judge:
This is probably more common that we realize, but that looks pretty obvious. Interestingly, Pineda is starting tonight against Clay Buchholz, who was accused of using sunscreen on a baseball last year. Also, don’t forget that some suspected that Jon Lester used a substance to doctor the baseball during the World Series against the Cardinals. The Red Sox are surely aware of what Pineda is doing, but maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that John Farrell hasn’t complained.
UPDATE: According to the YES broadcast of the game, it looks like Pineda no longer has the substance on his hand.
UPDATE II: Pineda struck out seven batters over six innings of one-run ball for his first victory in MLB since July 30, 2011. Per Erik Boland of New York Newsday, Pineda said after the game that he had dirt on his hand. Alrighty then. Meanwhile, David Ortiz told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that “everybody uses pine tar” and it’s “not a big deal.” Umpire Brian O’Nora told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that “the Red Sox didn’t bring it to our attention so there’s nothing we can so about it.”
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.