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Wait — all A-Rod had to do was to say he was innocent? That would have worked?

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Sensing a meme this morning. Bob Klapisch:

A-Rod can whine all he wants about due process, but that’s just a smoke screen to cover his guilt. In fact, Rodriguez couldn’t bring himself to say he’s innocent during his pre-game press conference on Monday. Over and over, Rodriguez kept saying “we’ll have a forum” to discuss the charges against him. If A-Rod was truly innocent, it wouldn’t have hurt his case to look into the cameras and say, “I’m clean, Bud has the wrong man, and I intend to prove it.”

Mike Vaccaro:

He talked about “respecting the process” that Major League Baseball and he will engage in over the next few months, now that baseball has slapped him with a 211-game suspension and Rodriguez has appealed it. “Please have patience,” he said. “There’ll be a time and a place for that.”

This is what he didn’t say:

“This is an outrage. These are fabrications. I am completely innocent … No. Because those are the things an innocent man says.

I think that the media has already determined that if A-Rod said that sort of thing it’d be something a liar says, but let us not dwell on that.

Let us instead note that it’s totally possible that A-Rod didn’t say he was innocent because he knows saying such a thing would be a lie. A lie that people would kill him for. And maybe it’s the case that he’s going to stipulate to drug use but mount an appeal based on the notion that a 211 game suspension is too great for a first time sanction. Heck, it’s what I’d do if I were representing him. At least if the evidence against him is as bad as many say it is.

But maybe I’m just being too hard-headed about this. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe if A-Rod had walked into that press conference and said “honest guys, I’m innocent” then Klapisch and Vaccaro and all the others would have said today that he did the right thing and they wouldn’t be excoriating him in print.

Or maybe they’re just mad today that A-Rod didn’t give them a chance to call him a liar again. But I’m just spitballin’ here.

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.