Link-O-Rama: Parra's collapse, Contreras' revival

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* Milwaukee dumping Manny Parra from the rotation
yesterday was a long time coming. Not only has he been awful recently,
going 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA over his last five starts, Parra is 5-14
with a 6.41 ERA since last season’s All-Star break. Prior to that he
was 8-2 with a 3.78 ERA, so the collapse has been pretty shocking.

* On the other hand, Jose Contreras has thrown 16 straight scoreless innings since returning from Triple-A after starting the season 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA.

* Much like with Brandon Wood, it sounds as though manager Mike Scioscia has no plans
to make call-up Sean Rodriguez a regular in the Angels’ lineup.
Rodriguez has hit .290/.377/.637 with 42 homers over 124 games in the
admittedly hitter-friendly environment at Triple-A, whereas Maicer
Izturis is a career .273/.338/.377 hitter in the majors.

* Rodriguez was called up because the Angels sent Howie Kendrick
back to Triple-A after he hit just .231 through 51 games this year.
Kendrick came into the season as a career .306 hitter in 252 games
through the age of 24. Here’s a list
of all the second basemen in baseball history who hit for a higher
batting average than Kendrick through the age of 24: Eddie Collins,
Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Rod Carew.

* Eric Chavez’s season is over and his career is seemingly in serious jeopardy following news that he needs a second back surgery to go along with his three shoulder operations. As manager Bob Geren put it: “This is his best chance to play again.”

* Joe Morgan’s mind is playing tricks on him.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.

Report: Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman initiate Marlins’ staff cuts

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A report from Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reveals that prospective Marlins’ owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman have already initiated several key firings within the organization. While the sale of the team is still pending final approval next month, Jeter reportedly pushed club president David Samson to remove four special assistants this week: Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Jack McKeon and Jeff Conine.

Hall of Fame infielder Dawson, outfielder Perez and Marlins’ legend Conine served as special assistants to the president. McKeon, who served as team manager from 2003-2005 (and briefly in 2011), was terminated from a 12-year post as special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria.

The move didn’t come as a big surprise to Dawson and McKeon, Jackson and Spencer noted. It’s part and parcel of dealing with new ownership. But it was disappointing news nonetheless, especially as the long-tenured McKeon might lose an opportunity to return next September to manage one game and cement his status as the oldest manager in MLB history.

Should the Marlins’ sale go through in October as expected, this figures to be the beginning of several cuts. Per Jackson and Spencer:

Jeter also is expected to fire some people on the baseball side of the operation, though it’s believed president/baseball operations Michael Hill will be retained, at least indefinitely if not permanently.

Any replacements for those already released from the team have yet to be announced.