Derek Holland

Rangers sign Derek Holland to five-year, $28 million deal

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Derek Holland and the Rangers have agreed to a five-year, $28 million contract that includes team options for 2017 and 2018, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Holland wasn’t even arbitration eligible yet and Texas had him under team control through 2015 already, so the five-year contract cancels out his previous minimum-salaried deal for 2012, pre-pays for all three arbitration seasons, and buys out his first season of free agency while giving the Rangers options on his second and third free agent years.

Holland emerged as a top prospect after being a 25th-round pick in 2006 and established himself as one of the league’s best left-handed starters last year at age 24, throwing 198 innings with a 3.95 ERA and 162/67 K/BB ratio while calling an extreme hitters’ ballpark home.

Early last year Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz both signed five-year, $30 million contracts while having similar service time to Holland. He has just one full season in the rotation and currently sports a modest 4.73 career ERA thanks to an ugly debut as a 22-year-old in 2009, but if he stays healthy the Rangers will be plenty happy with the investment to control Holland through age 31. And now Holland is set for life, so he can focus solely on pitching and mustache growing.

UPDATE: According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas the option years are worth $11 million in 2017 and $11.5 million in 2018, so the total value of the contract could rise over $50 million for seven seasons.

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)
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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.