Johan Santana's knee does not hurt

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Former Mets’ pitching coach was on the radio yesterday, speculating
that Johan Santana’s struggles could be a result of knee pain. This was news to Johan Santana:

“How does he know that my knee hurts?” Santana rhetorically asked.
“That’s the question that I have. You guys tell me how the heck did he
find that out….Not even the trainer knows. Not even me. I didn’t know
my knee hurts. Just put it that way.

“We got along pretty good,” Santana continued about his relationship
with Peterson, “but the reality is he’s not here. I’m the one who feels
my body better than anybody, and my knee doesn’t hurt. I don’t know
where he got that one from. I’m being honest and realistic: My knee is
the last issue here. We took care of that last year (with Oct.1 surgery
to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee), and it has nothing to do
with what’s going on right now.”

Santana has always been a straight shooter, so there’s no reason not to
believe him. Sometimes guys get shelled, even the best of them. No one
thought CC Sabathia was hurt when his ERA was over a million last
spring, so why is everyone so unwilling to believe that Santana can
just pitch poorly from time to time? It happens.

But I am taken by Santana’s comment that “I’m the one who feels my
body better than anybody.” In addition to being a straight shooter, he
has also always been a class act, so I’m surprised to see him
disparaging Mrs. Santana like this.

Red Sox set a new major league record with 11 strikeouts in a row

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox works the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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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 clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
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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.