And now your HardballTalk writer predictions

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We’re so wrong about these things all the time I’m not even sure why we do them. Yet … we do them.

All I ask is that when you all accuse us of hating the Phillies, you remember that this post is floating around the archives, with all four of us picking them to win the NL East.

Craig
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Angels
AL Wild Card: Rays

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: Braves
NL Wild Card: Brewers

Aaron
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Angels
AL Wild Card: Rays

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Brewers
NL Wild Card: Marlins

D.J.
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Rays
AL Wild Card: Angels

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Braves
NL Wild Card: Reds

Drew

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Rays
AL Wild Card: Angels

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: Reds
NL Wild Card: Nationals

For what it’s worth, Drew has the bonus prediction of the Phillies beating the Rays in the World Series.  Also for what it’s worth, I am really torn on the wild card choices, as it could be close to a tossup between the Red Sox and Rays. And frankly, the Giants and the Reds have a great chance too.  This stuff is kind of a crapshoot.

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.