So, what are the Phillies going to do against the Braves this weekend?

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I love it when people try to make me feel better. Here’s a tweet, sent in my direction from a chap named @Evolution33:


Karma dictates that if the Phillies rest and let the Braves into the playoffs they will pay with a NLCS loss to the Braves.

I
don’t believe in magic, I-ching, Buddha, mantra, Gita, yoga, kings,
Elvis, Zimmerman, Beatles, Yoko or me, but I’d like to think that there
is some force in the universe that will make that happen.

Supernatural
stuff aside, Charlie Manuel does have some interesting decisions on his
plate as the Phillies face the Braves this weekend. The Phillies have
nothing to play for, really. They have the home field advantage. They
really just need to stay healthy and make sure their pitchers are
rested/sharp for the playoffs.  That rested/sharp balance is where the
interestingness comes in.

Kyle Kendrick gets the start tonight
because it’s his turn. Manuel has also said that Cole Hamels will get
some work this weekend, though maybe not a regular, full-blown start. 
The speculation is that will be Saturday, with Sunday being a festival
of relief pitchers.

My nightmare is that Oswalt and/or Halladay
come to Charlie and say that they really need 40 pitches or something in
order to be sharp for the NLDS, Charlie says OK, and Saturday and
Sunday have the Braves facing all three of the Phillies’ big starters in
two games.  The chances of this are very small, of course — Halladay
will almost certainly take the weekend off — but these are the sorts of
things that cause me to pour doubles when a single is all I really
need.

Ah, it doesn’t matter I guess. The Padres are gonna lose at
least two games to the Giants this weekend and render it all academic.
Right?  Anyone?

[please hold me]

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)
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.