Cliff Lee will enter July without a win.
At first, this was mostly a ridiculous quick based primarily on a lack of run support, but this isn’t just about the offense anymore.
Lee dropped to 0-5 last night by allowing six runs over 4 2/3 innings as part of a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. It was his shortest outing since last July 25 and the most runs he has allowed in a start since last July 3.
Lee has allowed 20 runs in 24 2/3 innings over his last four starts and has watched his ERA jump from 2.92 to 4.13 in the process. His ERA hasn’t been this high this late in a season since 2007 with the Indians when he finished with a 6.29 ERA. The 33-year-old is just the second former Cy Young Award winner to go winless over his first 13 starts in a season, joining Vida Blue, who did it with the Royals back in 1983.
Yes, Lee’s secondary numbers tell us that he has pitched better than the results indicate and he’s bound to go on a nice run here sooner or later, but it’s perfectly OK to say that this is just plain weird.
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.