Angels in the market for a first baseman following Kendry Morales' surgery

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Earlier this week the Angels were said to be holding out at least some hope of Kendry Morales playing again this season, but he underwent surgery yesterday to repair the broken ankle suffering while celebrating a walk-off homer and afterward indications were that he’s all but certain to miss the rest of the year.
Now that the White Sox are admitted sellers, it’ll be interesting to see if the Angels are once again linked to Paul Konerko. Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan, and Michael Ryan have been splitting starts at first base in Morales’ absence, but once Jeff Mathis returns from the disabled list Napoli will likely be freed up to spend most of his time at first base.
Napoli had never played an inning at first base in the majors prior to Morales’ injury last month, but his shaky defense behind the plate has always kept him from getting more action at catcher and the 28-year-old is a career .257/.354/.493 hitter with an average of 30 homers per 500 at-bats. Napoli has a career OPS of .846. By comparison, Konerko’s career OPS is .848, and he’s six years older and would cost multiple prospects.
“If [general manager] Tony [Reagins] finds something to improve the team, he’ll act on it,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “If Mike [Napoli] is playing well at first, that will add depth and make us better. Right now, in talking to Tony, nothing is imminent. But I don’t think Tony would put anything on hold if it’s the right move for us.” Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times speculates that the Angels could interested in Adam LaRoche, Lance Berkman, Ty Wigginton, Russell Branyan, and Xavier Nady in addition to Konerko.

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 seven 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.