Vin Scully’s final game behind the mic at Dodger Stadium was a memorable one, as the Dodgers clinched the NL West with a 4-3 win over the Rockies, fueled by a 10th-inning walkoff homer from Charlie Culberson. The legendary announcer has already said he won’t be calling any Dodger postseason action, so the final three games of Scully’s 67-year career will come on September 30-October 2, when the Dodgers head to San Francisco for the last three games of the regular season.
Some stray items from around baseball…
- 2016 is quietly on pace to be one of the biggest home run seasons in the game’s history, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan writes in his weekly “Ten Degrees” column. Hitters are on pace for the second-highest single-season homer total ever, behind only the 2000 season. With power on the rise and more readily available than in recent seasons, Passan notes that Mark Trumbo’s free agent stock could be hampered. Teams will look harder at Trumbo’s lack of defense or OBP if homers are no longer seen as quite a rare commodity.
- The Yankees have been rumored to be interested in a reunion with Aroldis Chapman, and the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff notes that Dellin Betances’ recent struggles could exacerbate the Yankees’ need for another big bullpen arm. Betances has only “struggled” since August 1 (3.48 ERA and a 32:9 K/BB rate in 20 2/3 innings) by his high standards, though fatigue could be an issue given how much Betances has pitched both this season and over the last three years on the whole. Signing Chapman in free agency and moving Betances back to a setup role would again give the Yankees an elite end-game pairing, if not quite the uniquely great trio they had earlier in the season with Andrew Miller also in the mix.
- As part of a reader mailbag piece, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opined that the Indians probably aren’t likely to shop Giovanny Urshela this season now that Jose Ramirez looks like an answer at third base. Urshela is a gifted defender but he has posted just a .608 OPS over his 288 career PA in the majors and a .269/.302/.402 career slash line over eight minor league seasons. Other teams may not be willing to give up much in a trade for a player who has shown so little at the plate.
- The Cubs completely rebuilt their roster from scratch to become a powerhouse team both this season and potentially for years to come, though Cardinals GM John Mozeliak tells ESPN.com’s Mark Saxon that such an extensive rebuild would be unlikely for his club. “They were able to do so without being overly concerned about how they finished for a couple years….I’ve always said St. Louis has been a place that demands winning,” Mozeliak said. “[Owner Bill] DeWitt Jr. and myself, we’re not ever looking at a season where we want to take a timeout or two and try to reshuffle the deck.” Mozeliak implied that the Cards would only explore such a strategy if their minor league system totally dried up, which doesn’t seem like an impending issue given how well St. Louis has drafted and developed young players over the last two decades.