Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield finally got his 200th win on his ninth try on Sept. 13. Now he’s hoping to add a few more to the total. According to agent Barry Meister, Wakefield wants to come back and pitch another season in 2012.
Meister said it would be a “shame” if Wakefield didn’t finish his career with the Red Sox, but that he’s currently focusing on several National League clubs in talks.
Wakefield has spent 17 of his 19 seasons with the Red Sox, and he’s third on the team’s all-time wins list with 186, leaving him just six behind both Roger Clemens and Cy Young. However, while the Red Sox might be open to re-signing him as a utility pitcher, it’s doubtful that they would guarantee him a rotation spot after he finished the last two seasons with ERAs of 5.34 and 5.12. There are surely better opportunities available for him in the other league.
Wakefield, who has about eight months on Omar Vizquel, was the oldest player in either league at age 44 last season. He would take a backseat in 2012, though, if soon-to-be 49-year-old Jamie Moyer can pull off a comeback.
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.