Would you rather have Matt Cain over Tim Lincecum for the next six years?

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ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski starts out his latest column — a transcript of the ramblings of some scout he knows — by saying “Call him Scout X. Big league lifer. One of the best in the business. Has forgotten more about baseball than you and I will ever know.”  Of course, Wojciechowski’s writing suggests he doesn’t know all that much about baseball, so that’s no big trick.  But I’ll let you be the judge. Woj’s scout says this:

I don’t pay to see game, but if I had to, I’d pay to see Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants. But if you give me the choice between Lincecum and Cain, I’ll take Cain for the next six, seven years.  Cain
can really pitch, man. Lincecum, he’s a freak. He weighs 160 or so
pounds. He’s a max-effort guy with a bad delivery. Don’t get me wrong
— he punched out 261 guys last year and he might pitch forever. But
it’s just that Cain pitches with such ease. He won 14 games last year
with a 2.89 ERA. Lincecum won 15 with a 2.48. See what I’m saying?

All I see is that he’s (a) overvaluing wins; and (b) living about 10 years in the past when it comes to analyzing pitching mechanics, because people who know about this stuff don’t worry too much about Lincecum’s mechanics.

But if he wants to join the fantasy league in which I own Matt Cain, I’d be more than happy to do some trades with him.

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.