If I made up a fake Twitter account in order to parody Hall of Fame voters who oppose PED users being inducted, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as the real one run by Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune.
He’s an Olympic reporter, by the way. Hasn’t covered baseball since some of you have been born. But once you get your BBWAA card and hold it for ten years you get a Hall of Fame vote for life. And you can use it any way you want.
Hersh is using it like this:
Which is his prerogative. Just as it’s the BBWAA’s prerogative to allow a person who has covered ice skating, downhill skiing and the like since 1987 to continue to vote on the Hall of Fame while it makes hard-working baseball writers who cover games for a living wait ten years after membership before getting the privilege. Phil Hersh: do your worst. Marc Carig, Adam Kilgore and Zach Levine: wait in line.
But it also must make some of the Hall of Fame voters mad that he treats a process which most of them take seriously as some sort of vindictive lark. And that’s true even if they ultimately get to the same place Hersh does.
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.