Timberlake Grace

Justin Timberlake makes everyone feel uncomfortable

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Well, not me. I loved Mark Grace’s interview with Justin Timberlake during the All-Star Game last night. It may have been more entertaining than the game, actually.

The MLBAM people have already had the video of it taken down from YouTube — and I have this feeling that neither Fox nor MLB.com will be featuring it at their websites today —  but you can get a full transcript over at Amazin’ Avenue. (UPDATE II: I was wrong! It’s at MLB.com. Apologies for suggesting that they’d Pravda-it out of history).

Everyone is talking about how Timberlake — be it sarcastically or drunkenly or both — “praised” Joe Buck’s announcing abilities multiple times.  But whether or not that was really a slam on Buck, I don’t think that was even the most awkward part of it.  No, I found the most awkward part of it was JT’s ode to beer and his praising of it as “the perfect food.”

Mark Grace: It’s a pretty good spot. Now you wanted ballpark food. Peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, which one’s your favorite?

Justin Timberlake: My favorite? Just beer.

Mark Grace: Really? Beer! It’s kind of the perfect food.

Justin Timberlake: It goes with the hot dog, it goes with nachos, it goes with peanuts. Beer’s perfect. Beer never got mad at me because I didn’t call beer back.

Mark Grace: That’s a very good point. That is a very good point.

He said this, remember, to Mark Grace, who was busted for a DUI a month ago.  And on a broadcast which, about ten minutes before, had recounted the untimely death of Nick Adenhart at the hands of a drunk driver. Of course, given that the very first pitch of the game was sponsored by Budweiser, I guess mixed-messages involved with the relationship between alcohol and baseball are something with which Fox and MLB aren’t too uncomfortable.

I did feel kind of bad for Grace, though, whose lawyer probably doesn’t need him yukking it up with pop stars about the glories of beer at the moment.

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.