Alex Rodriguez hits 650th career homer, but will he pass Willie Mays?

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Alex Rodriguez continues to play pretty well for the Yankees, hitting .271 with a .783 OPS that’s solidly above the MLB average of .715, and last night he homered off R.A. Dickey for the 650th bomb of his career.

Here’s what the all-time homer leaderboard now looks like:

Barry Bonds      762
Hank Aaron       755
Babe Ruth        714
Willie Mays      660
Alex Rodriguez   650
Ken Griffey Jr.  630
Jim Thome        612
Sammy Sosa       609
Frank Robinson   586
Mark McGwire     583

Even at age 37 and in his diminished state Rodriguez would be a lock to pass Willie Mays for fourth place all time–which would trigger a $6 million bonus in his contract–but he’s unlikely to do so by the end of this season and with the suspension looming who knows if he ever steps on the field again beyond next month.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.