Did the Yankees simply “mess up” Joba Chamberlain’s development?

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Bob Ryan has one of those stream-of-consciousness observation columns today. His last observation:

Has any team, anywhere, at any time in history, ever messed up a valued prospect as badly as the Yankees have Joba Chamberlain?

I’ve asked that question before.  And it sure seems like Chamberlain was jerked around like crazy in going back and forth between starting and relieving as well as having strange workload rules and all of that.  I have to think that the Yankees would do things differently with him if they had to do it all over again.

Still, it seems odd that they’d do what they did in the first instance. The Yankees are a lot of things, but they’re not a dumb organization.  It makes me wonder if the injury he suffered in 2008 was more serious than anyone has let on. Makes me wonder if the team doesn’t have far more serious doubts about him than “his stuff playing up better out of the pen” or however they’ve put it recently as they’ve absolutely eliminated the possibility that he will ever start for the Yankees.

I guess what I’m saying is that, while I don’t like how the Yankees have handled Chamberlain these past couple of years, I’m not prepared to say that they simply “messed him up” like Ryan says.  It has to be more complicated than that, doesn’t it?

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.