Clemente

Baseball announces Roberto Clemente Award nominees

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The Roberto Clemente Award goes to the Major Leaguer who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”  Tim Wakefield won it last year.  The 2011 nominees — one per team — were just announced. They are as follows:

Arizona Diamondbacks – Joe Saunders
Atlanta Braves – Tim Hudson
Baltimore Orioles – Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox – David Ortiz
Chicago Cubs – Ryan Dempster
Chicago White Sox – Juan Pierre
Cincinnati Reds – Jay Bruce
Cleveland Indians – Justin Masterson
Colorado Rockies – Troy Tulowitzki
Detroit Tigers – Justin Verlander
Florida Marlins – Gaby Sanchez
Houston Astros – Jason Bourgeois
Kansas City Royals – Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Torii Hunter
Los Angeles Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw
Milwaukee Brewers – LaTroy Hawkins
Minnesota Twins – Michael Cuddyer
New York Mets – Mike Pelfrey
New York Yankees – CC Sabathia
Oakland Athletics – Josh Willingham
Philadelphia Phillies – Ryan Howard
Pittsburgh Pirates – Jeff Karstens
St. Louis Cardinals – Albert Pujols
San Diego Padres – Orlando Hudson
San Francisco Giants – Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Mariners – Felix Hernandez
Tampa Bay Rays – James Shields
Texas Rangers – Michael Young
Toronto Blue Jays – Ricky Romero
Washington Nationals – Ian Desmond

While the award itself is cool, the part that confuses me about it all is that there is a fan voting aspect to all of this, with dedicated website for it and everything. I’m not sure how fans can properly gauge a player’s community involvement, and I’m not sure how overall popularity should have any bearing on this award. I suppose Major League Baseball just can’t help itself when it comes to throwing interactivity — and a chance for people to see the ads of a the award’s sponsors — into the mix.

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 seven 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.