Watching the Tigers' arms

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Patrick Hayes makes a good point regarding the workloads of the Tigers’ pitchers:

[Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Jarrod Washburn] are on pace to set career-highs in innings pitched and all three are pitching much longer into games than they did a season ago . . .  Jackson has never thrown 200 innings in a season (previous career-high was 181 last year) and is on pace to hit 210 this year. He’s been averaging 6.6 innings per start, up from 5.7 per appearance last season.

Verlander is throwing 6.6 innings per start as well, up slightly from his 6.1 last season. He’s on pace to throw 225 innings, up from his previous career-high of 201.

Something to watch out for, sure, and definitely the kind of thing that should inspire Jim Leyland to try and find a little rest for those guys somewhere down the stretch if at all possible.  This Tigers team reminds me a lot of the 2007 Indians, and you’ll recall that their failure to get past Boston may very well have been due to Sabathia and Carmona simply tiring out by the time the ALCS rolled around.

Still, we’re not talking crazy workloads, and those guys have been generally durable.  And as long as the White Sox lurk, it’s not like the Tigers have much of a choice but to throw them out there every fifth day. 

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

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.