A lot of HBT readers have baseball blogs of their own. I try my best to keep up with the ones I know about, but there are only so many hours in the day. One reader writes a blog called Billy Beane is My Hero. You’ve probably noticed his handle in the comments before.
BBIMH’s author and I have exchanged some emails recently and he hipped me to one of his posts from last week: The ten worst rotations in baseball — 2011 edition. I don’t do a lot of lists around here, but I like to read well-considered ones like that. And a note to amateur bloggers out there: if you’re making a worst-of or a best-of list, do what BBIMH does here and make either the best or the worst last on the list, counting backwards. Makes a reader want to read the whole thing. And don’t do slide shows. Damn, slide shows are outrageously annoying.
Anyway, I don’t have too many quibbles with the list. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Royals’ rotation will be worse than the Pirates simply because they’ll face better bats in the AL Central than Pittsburgh will face in the NL, but I agree, it will be an epic battle for 30th place this year.
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.
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.