22 surgeries, $55 million and one Hall of Fame

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Darren Dreifort is going to be honored with induction into the national surgery hall of fame.

Actually, the oft-injured and frequently maligned former Dodgers
pitcher will be entering the College Baseball Hall of Fame. But is
there any doubt he could qualify for both?

The L.A. Times notes
that Dreifort will be inducted on Friday in Lubbock, Texas, assuming,
in his words, “whether I can walk, or how well I’m getting around.”

It’s nice to see the right-hander honored for his accomplishments at
Wichita State, but is a painful reminder for Dodgers fans of how
injuries derailed the career of a promising pitcher chosen one spot
behind Alex Rodriguez in the 1993 draft. The Dodgers paid Dreifort
nearly $64 million over the course of his career, including a $55
million deal before the 2001 season. For all that money, they got a
48-60 record and 274 appearances as a starter and reliever over parts
of 11 seasons.

The grisly details:

  • Dreifort just had his 22nd surgery, this one on his hip.
  • It was his 20th surgery since leaving college, and his eighth since his last game with the Dodgers, Aug. 16, 2004.
  • Has had two elbow reconstructions, and twice sat out entire seasons.
  • And even though retired, his luck has not changed.

    These days, Dreifort appears to be in peak condition, dressed for
    an interview in shorts, a tight T-shirt and running shoes. He notes,
    however, that he experiences almost constant pain.

    “I’m doing nothing,” he says on the eve of his most recent visit to the operating room, “and I’m still having surgery.”

    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)
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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.