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Marlins prospect Matt Dominguez looks likely to claim Opening Day third base job

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Matt Dominguez is just 21 years old and spent last season hitting just .252 with a .744 OPS at Double-A, but the 2007 first-round pick looks set to skip Triple-A and win the Marlins’ starting job at third base.

In fact, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com “if the season opened today, Dominguez would be in the starting lineup.”

Dominguez’s defense has always drawn rave reviews and it sounds like that’s what has the Marlins convinced he’s their best option at third base, but he hasn’t been particularly impressive offensively this spring and projects to really struggle at the plate based on his age, lack of experience, and mediocre Double-A production.

Of course, Frisaro also writes about Dominguez’s “body language” and says he’s “handling himself well … not in a cocky way, but the California native is walking and acting like he belongs.”

Once teams and the writers that cover them start talking about that type of stuff for a young player, actual performance tends to go out the window. It also helps that the other options to play third base are pretty ugly and are led by Donnie Murphy, Wes Helms, and Greg Dobbs.

I’d lean toward letting one of those guys keep the position warm for a couple months while Dominguez gets some experience at Triple-A and delays the start of his service time to give the Marlins another season of team control down the line, but it sounds like they’re set on handing him the job right now.

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.