Roberto Clemente Award nominees announced. But why do we get a vote?

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Unlike the MVPs and other post season awards, no one ever talks smack about the Roberto Clemente award winner as being undeserving. That’s because it goes to the Major Leaguer who “best
exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement
and the individual’s contribution to his team,” and even the worst snark can’t cut through something that positive.

Anyway, the nominees were announced about an hour ago. Each team gets one nominee. The weird part: you can vote on it.  I’m not sure how the vast majority of us can ascertain the community involvement of most if any of these guys — quick! Was Geoff Blum or Craig Breslow a bigger asset to his community this year? — but voting makes everything better. The All-Star Game told me so.

OK, I guess you can mock the Clemente Award a little bit. Or at least the process of selecting it.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.