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Meanwhile, in Brandon Phillips vs. Joey Votto land …


From today’s Reds-Dbacks game, a sequence that will never get recounted by the folks like Paul Daugherty who like to say Joey Votto is a bum and Brandon Phillips is the team MVP.

Third inning: Shin-Soo Choo leads off with a single. The second batter — today Todd Frazier — strikes out looking.  Choo reaches second on a wild pitch. Joey Votto comes up and isn’t given a thing to hit, walking on four straight pitches. Another wild pitch sends Choo to third, Votto to second.  Then Brandon Phillips grounds out to score a run.

The two-hole hitter does nothing.  Votto, clearly a hitter the pitcher wants no part of, is given nothing to hit because he’d rather face Phillips.  Chance, circumstance and wildness put the runners in scoring position and what would be considered a failed at bat in most other situations gives Phillips is oh-so-valuable RBI.

But sure, if we want to go with the notion that Votto is somehow less of a player because of it, feel free.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.