I just got a press release from Major League Baseball announcing that Phiten is now “The Official Compression Sleeve of Major League Baseball.”
You have heard of Phiten, of course. They make those ugly necklaces that provide no scientifically or medically proven benefits whatsoever, despite the fact that Phiten touts them for their ability to “promote stable energy flow throughout the body” and to provide “longer lasting energy, less fatigue, shortened recovery time and more relaxed muscles.” Indeed, Major League Baseball — whose players are given free Phiten necklaces for obvious promotional purposes — refers to them in the press release as “the innovator and original maker of precious metal-infused wellness products.”
The compression sleeve is something else. You’ve seen it: a spandexy-looking sleeve worn usually on one arm. They too are infused with Phiten’s “Aqua-Titanium technology,” and are supposed to “keep arm muscles warm and loose as well as to absorb moisture.” Which sort of sounds like a sleeve to me. Or a sweat band. Except those things don’t sell for $19.
Hey, not my money. If an athlete — or a wannabe — thinks that a compression sleeve helps them, good for them. If they think it makes them look badass, well, even better for them. But, gosh, I sure hope no one things it’s gonna help them hit a baseball or anything.
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 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.