Yesterday was filled with rumors about the Red Sox working on a trade for Bruce Chen to start a potential Game 163 tiebreaker, but instead the Royals left-hander took the mound as scheduled for his start against the Twins … and tossed eight shutout innings.
Oh, and it turns out the Red Sox didn’t need a starter today anyway.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com first reported the possibility of Chen going to Boston and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that the two sides worked on a deal throughout the day, but couldn’t come to terms. Presumably had they been relatively close to finding common ground in the trade talks the Royals would have pulled Chen from the meaningless start just in case.
Chen said afterward that he hoped the trade to Boston would happen because he’s “always wanted to help a team” reach the playoffs and “you want to be the guy.” Plus, as an impending free agent there’s no guarantee the 34-year-old will remain in Kansas City anyway. As a Type B free agent he’d bring back a compensatory draft pick upon signing elsewhere, so Dutton reports that the Royals requested a pair of prospects in return.
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.