Josh Hamilton third ever with 17 homers in 33 games

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Josh Hamilton stole the show from the Yu Darvish-C.J. Wilson matchup on Friday, hitting two more homers as part of the Rangers’ 10-3 win over the Angels. He now has 17 homers on the season.

Thanks in part to a lengthy rain delay in the first, the much anticipated pitching showdown was largely a dud. Facing his former team for the first time, Wilson didn’t come back after the delay and was charged with four runs in one-third of an inning. Both of Hamilton’s homers were hit off Jerome Williams. Darvish gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his fifth victory.

Hamilton, who has actually missed three games this season, is just the third player ever to hit 17 homers in his team’s first 33 games. Cy Williams of the 1923 Phillies and Frank Howard of the 1968 Senators also had 17.

Hamilton is also the sixth player to hit as many as eight homers in a five-game span, according to ESPN stats. Shawn Green had nine homers in five games in 2002.

Hamilton finished the night 3-for-4 after barely getting thrown out on his bid for an infield single in his last at-bat. He’s hitting .406 and has 40 RBI in 118 at-bats. He’s currently just eight homers away from matching his 2011 total of 25 in 487 at-bats.

The opposing No. 3 hitter hasn’t been so hot. Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 tonight to drop his average back to .192. With one homer on the season, he’s 36 away from matching his 2011 total.

The Brewers are talking to the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson

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The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.

Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.

Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.

The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.

The Dodgers have a “strong interest” in Yu Darvish

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The Dodgers lost Clayton Kershaw yesterday. For how long we do not know, but he has missed a lot of time in the past with previous back injuries so it’d be somewhat optimistic to assume that he’s going to hit the disabled list for ten days, come back and be the Clayton Kershaw of six days ago without any muss or fuss. L.A. has also lost Brandon McCarthy to the DL, so while their division lead is comfortable at the moment, there could be some rough waters ahead.

In light of that, this rumor — which emerged before Kershaw left yesterday’s game against the Braves — may be one to watch in the next couple of days:

As we noted last week, the Rangers are looking at the possibility of moving Darvish, who will be a free agent at the end of this year. The Dodgers would seem to be an excellent landing spot for him.

Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.44 ERA and has struck out 143 batters to only 43 walks in 133.1 innings. While he has missed time with injury in recent years, he’s the sort of talent that one could easily see going on an ace-like run. If he did that for a Dodgers team that, otherwise, seems to be at its peak of competitiveness, it’d be worth the heavy price they’d have to pay to get him.

Old folks like me remember such runs from starters picked up at the deadline. Doyle Alexander cost the Tigers John Smoltz in 1987, but he also propelled them to the AL East crown. The Astros had to give up Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen to get Randy Johnson in 1998, but he went on an historic tear after arriving in Houston and helped the club to 102 wins and the NL Central title. As both of those clubs learned in the playoffs, of course, one ace and a division title do not a season make, but you can’t even make your season if you don’t have the horses.

It’s too soon to say whether the Dodgers will have the horses in their rotation to go farther than those two teams did, but they’d have a lot better chance with Darvish, would they not?