The Dodgers’ latest feat is so specific that it’s hard to believe it’s true, but it is: For the third consecutive day, a Dodgers’ rookie delivered a walk-off hit against the Rockies.
On Friday, the Dodgers broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the ninth when Matt Beaty belted a two-run home run off of Jairo Díaz. In the 11th inning on Saturday, Alex Verdugo slugged a walk-off solo homer off of Jesús Tinoco.
After putting up a three-spot in the seventh inning of Sunday’s series finale, the Dodgers entered the bottom of the ninth tied 3-3. Beaty drew a leadoff walk, but the Dodgers then made two quick outs. In the process, Beaty managed to advance to second base on a wild pitch by reliever Scott Oberg. That proved to be important as manager Bud Black chose to intentionally walk Russell Martin to bring up rookie Will Smith. You know what happens next. He got jiggy with it. (I am so, so sorry, but I couldn’t resist.)
Entering Sunday’s action, Beaty had accrued all of 67 plate appearances in the majors. Verdugo is much more seasoned with 357 plate appearances. Smith had only 23 trips to the dish.
After Sunday’s win, the Dodgers are now 54-25, 13 games ahead of the second-place 40-36 Rockies in the NL West. It’s wild to think that that gap would have been just seven games if not for the trio of Dodger rookies.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.