Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the Giants will place Pat Burrell on the disabled list because of the bone spur in his right foot that’s been a problem for a while now.
Brandon Belt is healthy and crushing the ball at Triple-A, hitting .336 with a 1.026 OPS in 39 games, but rather than recall him the Giants are replacing Burrell on the roster with Hector Sanchez, a 21-year-old catcher who began this season at Single-A.
So instead of giving Belt a second chance to stick in the majors they’ll probably turn to postseason hero Cody Ross as the primary left fielder and use Sanchez to help replace Buster Posey behind the plate. Ross has predictably come back down to earth following his huge October, but his .270 batting average and .770 OPS represent upgrades over Burrell’s production and the defensive boost is substantial.
My guess is the Giants must believe Burrell’s stint on the DL will be relatively short term, because if the injury was a rest-of-the-season thing calling up Belt would seemingly be the better move.
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.