The Cubs wagered $10 million that Carlos Pena would return to 2009 form while playing in Wrigley Field, but after going 0-for-4 on Thursday, he’s out of the lienup for the third time in six games Friday.
Unlike the previous times he sat, this time it’s happening against a right-hander, Arizona’s Armando Galarraga to be specific.
Pena is hitting .159 and has just one extra-base hit in 63 at-bats. As usual, he’s walking a lot, giving him a .289 OBP. However, he’s also fanned 23 times and none of his usual power has showed up.
In 2010, Pena had one of the best seasons ever for a sub-.200 hitter, finishing with a .196/.325/.407 line, 28 homers and 84 RBI in 484 at-bats for the Rays. Of course, the Cubs were expecting better than that. Because of his power and patience, he was a well above average regular while hitting .227 in 2009. However, with his power seemingly dwindling, even if he gets his average back up to .230-.240, he may no longer be much of an asset.
The Cubs will have to figure something out soon, because Pena is a huge liability as is. Creating a reason to stash him on the DL and then getting him regular at-bats in the minors for a couple of weeks would be ideal. If they go that route, then Jeff Baker and Tyler Colvin would likely share time at first base.
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.