When Jackie Bradley, Jr. started to draw a lot of notice, he was lauded to great degree for his attitude and work ethic. Indeed, some scribes got rather prickly if anyone dared to criticize Bradley or suggest that, maybe, he wasn’t ready to play every day in Boston.
This year his offensive performance was a big problem for the Sox, and he was eventually sent down to Pawtucket. But Joon Lee of Over the Monster reports that it may have been more than his lack of hitting that earned him a stint in the minors:
According to two league sources, there was a growing sense of frustration within the Red Sox clubhouse — both coaches and players — with Bradley due to his perceived “stubbornness with the coaching staff.” One source added that Bradley was unwilling to work with coaches to fix his swing. Both sources said Bradley’s attitude was one of the main reasons he was sent to the minors.
Did Bradley become frustrated as a result of his struggles? Or is it possible that the enthusiasm some had for him last year was premature?
Hard to say from the outside, of course. But one thing is certain: with Mookie Betts emerging and Rusney Castillo now in the organization, it could be a crowded center field situation in Boston and Bradley can’t afford to have anything else working against him at the moment.
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.