Tyler Colvin

How much longer will Cubs keep Tyler Colvin up?

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I was wrong a year ago: I thought the Cubs made a mistake by keeping Tyler Colvin based on his strong spring. Given his lack of plate discipline, I figured he’d be back in the minors by May 1 and I had serious doubts that he’d ever make much of a contribution to the cause.

Colvin, though, made quite an impact as a rookie, collecting 20 homers and driving in 56 runs in 358 at-bats. He did strike out 100 times, but he worked 30 walks. He ended up with more homers, more walks and a higher OPS than he had in 459 at-bats between high-A and Double-A in 2009.

However, Colvin’s success didn’t cause the Cubs to make him a regular as a sophomore. He probably would have been penciled into right field if the team could have found a taker for Kosuke Fukudome’s contract, but that didn’t materialize, and the Cubs decided to sign Carlos Pena rather than turn Colvin into a first baseman.

As a result, the Cubs kept him as a fourth outfielder, figuring he’d get plenty of time in the corners if Alfonso Soriano and Fukudome continued to fail to live up to their contracts.

They probably didn’t anticipate Soriano leading the league in homers or Fukudome maintaining a .456 on-base percentage six weeks into the season. Colvin made 12 starts in April, most of them at Fukudome’s expense, but with his average south of .150, he’s hardly played at all since. He’s made just one start in May, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Reds on Saturday.

The obvious move now is for the Cubs to demote Colvin, and it’s pretty surprising that they haven’t done so. Colvin is hitting just .115/.194/.262 with two homers in 61 at-bats. He hasn’t made an impact as a pinch-hitter, having gone 1-for-8. Since the Cubs have Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson to serve as backup outfielders, they’d be just fine there without him.

So, getting Colvin at least two or three weeks of regular at-bats in Triple-A looks like a no-brainer. It’s just odd that it hasn’t happened already.

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.