Tigers should do the right thing and bench Cabrera

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Let’s just forget for a minute the domestic assault, though I still have a frightened woman’s voice running through my head.
Miguel Cabrera betrayed his team on Friday night. It’s one thing to blow off some steam after a tough loss. It’s entirely another for a 250-pound man to blow a 0.26 on a breath test likely at least an hour or so after he stopped drinking.
That’s enough steam to power a locomotive from Detroit to Minneapolis.
And this was the Tigers’ biggest weekend of the year. Cabrera’s wife called 911 at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. This wasn’t a player going out for a couple of hours and then coming home. He was out nearly until dawn, and now the guess is that he was at a hotel partying with one or more members of the White Sox.
Sure, the Tigers could have been all forgive and forget had he shaken off his hangover and launched a homer or two in the series against the White Sox. But he went 0-for-11 with a walk, including 0-for-7 in the two games after the incident. In the bottom of the eighth inning of Saturday’s loss, he grounded into a double play to kill a potential rally with one run already in.
Obviously, the MVP candidate was nowhere near 100 percent that night. Cabrera let his employers down. You know, the ones who signed him to a $152.3 million contract a year and a half ago. He let his teammates down. He let his fans down. And he clearly let his family down.
If he were Adam Everett or Marcus Thames, the Tigers would take a stand and bench him on Tuesday. He’s Miguel Cabrera, though, so it’s not going to happen.
In the Tigers’ defense, that’d just be letting his teammates and the team’s fans down again. The Tigers have worked too hard for seven months to see it all vanish because the team took a stand against its cleanup hitter. Cabrera, though, deserves the fate, and he’ll certainly have some explaining to do this winter.
Dating back to his days with the Marlins, there have been concerns about how Cabrera takes care of himself. He’d never been in trouble with the law before — that we know of — but he wasn’t as into conditioning as anyone would have liked. That’s a big reason why he’s now a full-time first baseman; he began his pro career as a shortstop and showed some early promise at third base.
Hopefully, he’ll be scared straight by the incident. All signs point to him avoiding criminal charges for the scuffle with his wife that left both with minor injuries. If he were a lesser player, the complete lack of regard for his team would probably make him a trade candidate this winter. The Tigers, though, will stand by him, and perhaps he’ll reward them in the end.

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.