Derek Lowe traded to the Indians

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We weren’t expecting that.

Jon Heyman reports that the Braves have traded Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians. Buster Olney says that the Braves will eat $10 million of the $15 million left on Lowe’s contract and that the Indians will send back “second tier” player(s) in return. UPDATE: The player going from Cleveland to Atlanta is left handed reliever Chris Jones. No, I dunno either.

Lowe had a horrendous 2011 season, going 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA and a WHIP of 1.508, though there is some suggestion that he was a touch better than that record and ERA would lead you to believe. Still, he’s not been good and he’s in a downward trajectory, as a good late run in 2010 helped salvage what, to that point, had been an equally suspect season.

It would appear that the best thing Lowe has going for him right now is durability, in that he’s made at least 32 starts a year for a solid decade. Which, while not nothing, is not much to pin one’s hopes on. Lowe will turn 39 on June 1st, after all, so you can’t really count on him having too many more bounceback seasons, can you?

That said, for the Indians, a $5 million gamble is not a terrible one. For the Braves, not having Derek Lowe throw actual pitches in baseball games and saving $5 million is pretty OK under the circumstances too.  So, while it’s too much to call this “win-win” we can probably call it “not-lose-not-lose.”

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.