On Friday against the Marlins, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke put outfielder Carlos Gomez back into the starting lineup after the 28-year-old took a couple days off with lower back pain. But it wasn’t in Gomez’s usual spot at the top of the batting order — Gomez was put in the clean-up spot. Gomez responded by going 4-for-5 with three doubles, a pair of RBI, and a pair of runs scored.
Gomez was back in the same spot for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Marlins, and as of this writing, he has already doubled and stolen third base. Clearly, Gomez is taking to the change and in fact, he said hitting cleanup is “a sexy feeling”. Via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“When you go to the plate, it’s a sexy feeling,” said the bubbly Gomez. “I’ve been doing the leadoff job but for the future I don’t want to be leadoff. It was good today. The manager made the decision to put me there. He knows he can put me anywhere and I won’t complain.
“But, for the future, it’s my goal to hit third or fourth.”
Friday wasn’t the first time Gomez had hit cleanup; he had done so in 19 starts last season, posting a .197/.299/.364 slash line with three home runs and nine RBI in 77 plate appearances.
Gomez entered Saturday’s game slashing .312/.385/.584 with 10 home runs, 25 RBI, and seven stolen bases, a very nice follow-up to last season’s All-Star campaign.
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.