Carlos Beltran and the Mets: no hard feelings

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One of the Mets’ offseason dramas involved Carlos Beltran, the front office and a disputed surgery clearance.  Beltran, who was angry with the Mets’ front office at the time, is willing to let bygones be bygones:

“You know, it took me a while because I’m a human being, of course, and
I’m a person who has feelings. It took me like a
week for me to forget everything and focus on what is important for me.
What is important for me right now is just to be with the team, be
ready, and being able to play.”

Spring training tends to heal these kinds of emotional wounds.  As for the physical wound, Beltran says he’s progressing nicely. Reporters on the scene today said that there was no limp in his walk and all appeared hunky dory.

Less than hunky dory was Beltran’s fashion sense, as evidenced by these pictures by Howard Simmons of the Daily News.  Note the ugly shirt tucked into jeans! Behold the two-hole-deep white belt which was EXACTLY like one your old man had back in the 70s!  Note also that Beltran, not content to rock a mere trucker’s hat, rocks what appears to be a very expensive takeoff on a trucker’s hat.

But perhaps the worst atrocity in that photo array is the last picture, in which Sandy Koufax — in Mets camp because apparently the Wilpons have taken an option on all Dodgers history prior to the 1970s — checks out Oliver Perez’s skills.  The look on his face says “Scott Boras compared this guy to me last year?”  Koufax is about as awesome as it comes, so he no doubt has ninjas or pirates or something on the payroll who will no doubt be paying Boras a visit after nightfall.

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.