Labor

Settling the Score: Sunday’s results — and a reminder of what Labor Day is all about

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I decided to allow myself to sleep in a bit rather than do a full-blown ATH. It’s Labor Day, after all.

While we’re on the subject of Labor Day, allow me to remind everyone — as I have several times in the past, so forgive me if I repeat myself — that while Major League Baseball can see fit to honor Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Earth Day and cancer awareness with special hats or some other on-the-field shoutout,it has never seen fit to give Labor Day similar due. No special caps. No moments of silence. Nothing particularly special to honor the folks who did nothing short of build this country from the ground up and continue to do the hard work that keeps us functioning as a society.

Sadly, this is a reflection of where we are now as a society. Organized labor makes up a smaller portion of the workforce than it ever has. Even a great many of the people who do the working in this country have bought in to the notion — propogated by those who profit from labor — that unions are tools of the communists. Most people believe that giving any lip service to the rights of workers is a suspect and even un-American pursuit.

But viewing labor — and, by extension, Labor Day — in such narrow terms is a mistake. Sure, there is an obvious political overtone to any conversation about labor. But people have died in the name of worker’s rights.  People continue to die on the job to bring you goods and services and to make our society function, and they always will.  Against that backdrop, to reduce Labor Day to an extra day off and to divorce it from its original purposes is just as much a mistake as doing so with Memorial Day or any other holiday which has at its heart a noble and reverent inspiration.

Red white and blue caps aren’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things. But I wish that Major League Baseball — a sport that, as we currently know and experience and understand it, is largely a product of organized labor itself — would mark the occasion. Maybe they will someday.

Enjoy your Labor Day, everyone.  But remember why we have a Labor Day to begin with.

And now, your scores:

Mariners 5, Nationals 3
Braves 1, Marlins 0
Angels 8, Athletics 1
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 2
Astros 3, Rangers 2
Dodgers 7, Padres 1
White Sox 6, Tigers 2
Giants 15, Brewers 5
Red Sox 3, Rays 0
Cardinals 9, Cubs 6
Orioles 12, Twins 8
Reds 3, Pirates 2
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 3
Mets 6, Phillies 5
Indians vs. Royals — SUSPENDED DUE TO RAIN, with the Indians leading 4-2 heading into the bottom of 10th. Which has at least delayed yet another loss for Kansas City.

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)
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.