Seems like everyone is writing Hall of Fame articles today. You’ll have that when the biggest news out there involves backup catchers. Anyway, here’s MLB.com’s Marty Noble, first on his Hall of Fame criteria:
When putting check marks on the ballot, the rule–to me–is to be as
selective as Ted Williams with a 3-1 count. The term “borderline Hall
of Famer” ought to be regarded as an oxymoron. A step on the Hall of
Fame borderline is not akin to a bloop that raises chalk. If a player
falls on the line, he doesn’t get my vote.
Then, with that in mind, he goes on to advocate in favor of Keith Hernandez’s Hall of Fame case, using all kinds of arguments that borderline players always get. He was feared! No one wanted to face him with the game on the line! He was jobbed out of an MVP award! See how great he was in these [cherry picked] situations! It’s a stretch of an argument for a borderline candidate.
Hernandez was a nice player — for a long while he was the second best first basemen in baseball behind Eddie Murray — but the beginning and ending of his Hall of Fame argument really is his glove. Which was a fine, fine glove, but I’m not at all convinced that a glove-heavy (relatively) bat-light first baseman is a Hall of Famer. Especially when you measure it against his potential (how much of it was wasted due to cocaine?) and the fact that he ceased being a productive player when he was 34.
He’s in the Steve Garvey/Don Mattingly class in my mind. Close, but no cigar.
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.