Tim Wakefield wouldn’t mind pitching beyond 2011

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Tim Wakefield is only under contract through this season. And he’s going to turn 45 in August. But he still wants to pitch:

“The door is always open. Until you actually see me sit down at that press conference and say that I’m going to retire, I wouldn’t count on anything right now. I just said it last year — that [2011] could be my last year, depending on my role or what might happen health-wise, but I’m not closing that door yet by no means.”

That’s just how knuckleballers roll.  Er, flutter.

Wakefield suffered through his worst year since 1993 last season, and wasn’t all that happy or comfortable handling swingman duties.  But you never know with guys like him. At this point in his career Charlie Hough had three seasons as a starter in his future, two of which ended up being around league average. Neikro had five seasons in his future, one of which was an All-Star year in which he went 16-8 with a 3.09 ERA for the Yankees.

Wakefield has had some physical problems recently, but if he’s healthy, there’s no reason why he couldn’t still be useful beyond 2011, even if it isn’t for the Red Sox.

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.