Troy Tulowitzki

Can someone please explain the Troy Tulowitzki deal to me?

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At least from the Rockies’ perspective?

Tulowitzki is a great talent. If I were starting a team now he’d be on the short list of players who might be my first pick. He’s obviously loved in Colorado.  But a six year extension that starts in 2015? Really? What was motivating the Rockies to extend a guy who was under team control through 2014 already? Was the prospect of Todd Helton’s deal finally falling off the books in 2013 too scary to contemplate? “Quick! We need to find a way to spend an unreasonable chunk of our limited payroll on one player after 2013! Sign Tulo for a decade, stat!”

A lot can happen in four seasons. Ask Eric Chavez. There is a possibility that the extension portion of this deal is an albatross before it even kicks in.  And what about value for the length of the deal? Derek Jeter made a ten year contract work, but at least he was on the verge of free agency at the time. Todd Helton is proof positive — right in front of the Rockies’ noses — that a deal of that length can go sideways. Helton’s was originally a nine-year deal. It was pretty good four four years. It was serviceable for a fifth. Since then he has been a role player or worse, making so much money that it has limited the Rockies’ financial flexibility to go out and get other pieces.

The same could easily happen to Tulowitzki. Indeed, I’d say that odds favor it. The per-annum dollars themselves aren’t crazy, but that length and the timing is.  This isn’t as bad as Alex Rodriguez’s current deal, but unless the economics of the Colorado Rockies change fundamentally, it will eat up a larger percentage of team payroll each year than A-Rod’s deal ever did. What was pushing this onto the Rockies’ agenda?

Oh well, it’s not my money.  And hey, there’s a bright side: if mid-market teams are back to signing guys for a decade, I suppose that’s proof positive that the recession is truly over.

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.