The Zack Greinke season ticket plan

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Neat idea from Sam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star:

In Zack Greinke, the Royals have a superstar with more unabashed love
from the local fan base than anybody else in baseball with possible
exceptions for Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, and Albert Pujols . . . The Royals should take full advantage of this by selling a flex season ticket package to cover all of Greinke’s starts.

Neat, but probably unworkable. As Sam himself points out, you may not know until 2PM one afternoon if Greinke is going to start that evening and that would create logistical problems. Sure, maybe you could limit them, and Sam suggests some ways to do it, but there would still be a lot of hassle involved.

I think the bigger problem, however, would be less one of logistics than of incentives. I don’t know the cut of Trey Hillman’s jib when it comes to this kind of thing, but what happens if ownership installs a total company man in the manager’s office and more or less forces him to do whatever he can to pitch Greinke (or whatever star on whatever team comes up with such an idea) against the less desirable opponents, thereby bumping sales on what would otherwise be a low draw?  Or what if he’s strongly encouraged to pitch Greinke more than he otherwise would, such as late in the season when the game doesn’t matter and the guy could totally use a day off.  In either scenario the tail of commerce is wagging the dog of competition (or some other terrible metaphor to that effect).

No, I don’t think such a sinister plot is likely, but the mere existence of a bad incentives can be a bad thing in and of itself and the law of unintended consequences can be a bitch, so it’s probably best not to go down that road.

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.