If you needed further proof that the Dodgers are back to their winning ways, look no further than the second inning of their set against the Nationals on Saturday. Cody Bellinger crushed an 0-1 fastball from A.J. Cole to lead off the inning, sending it hurtling over the scoreboard in right field to give the Dodgers an early lead.
Oh, and he made history, too. The home run, Bellinger’s 38th of the season, tied a National League record for most rookie home runs. Only the 1930 Braves’ centerfielder Wally Berger and 1956 Reds’ left fielder Frank Robinson produced as many dingers in their rookie campaigns, with Mark McGwire holding the all-time record, at 49 homers.
Bellinger didn’t stop there, returning to add an RBI single in the third inning. Justin Turner supplied the go-ahead run in the fifth, a sac fly that plated Chase Utley, while the Nationals fell short after rallying in the eighth. With the win, the club now sits 96-52 with five wins still needed to clinch the division. Barring any obstacles, Bellinger will get 14 more games to beat the league home run record.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.