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MLB may not want A-Rod in the playoffs, but they’ll get over it

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I don’t know if the Yankees will close the 2.5 game gap between them and the playoffs, but they might. And if they do, Mike Lupica argues, the league will hate it:

Now it is September of 2013, what the Yankees hope will be a big September as they try to clinch a wild card or maybe still win the American League East from the Red Sox, whom they would play in three hours. And less than four years from A-Rod’s dream October, he has become Major League Baseball’s worst nightmare. There is only one player whom the people who run the sport don’t want to see playing baseball this October, and it is Alex Rodriguez . . .

I suppose there is a lot of truth to that. I also suppose that baseball will quite gladly accept the high TV rankings and generalized buzz that will flow from the Yankees — and A-Rod — making the playoffs.

And even if they hate it now, I would think that at least some forward thinkers at the league office will recognize that an A-Rod in the playoffs story will — while certainly causing a lot of controversy and hand-wringing — reveal that the sport is larger than the controversies which so many wish to have define it. That A-Rod’s foibles will not turn Yankees fans off of their team’s run. Nor will it kill non-Yankees fans interest in rooting against the Yankees. It will fuel it, actually, and while that may still be based on the ugly PED stuff, it’s always been good for baseball when folks root for and against the Yankees.

The sport has survived so many scoundrels and scandals. It is and will continue to survive this one. Anyone saying otherwise is ignorant of the game’s history and is misapprehending the seriousness — as opposed to the mere salaciousness — of A-Rod and the Biogenesis stuff.

Carlos Rodon strikes out 10 consecutive batters

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning on September 30, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.

During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.

Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.

Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look:

Miguel Cabrera blasts two home runs against Braves

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 28: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers hits a three-run home run during the fifth inning of the game against the Cleveland Indians scoring teammates Cameron Maybin #4 and Ian Kinsler #3 (not in photo) on September 28, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.

That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:

It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.