Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten teaming up to bid on the Dodgers

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Magic Johnson told Bill Plashcke of the Los Angeles Times that he’s putting together a group to buy the Dodgers.

His group includes Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Mark Walter, chief executive of Guggenheim Partners.  To the extent that Major League Baseball has a say in who buys — and they will, although less than usual given the bankruptcy auction backdrop — having Kasten on board is pretty big.  He’s a favorite of Selig’s, who put Kasten together with the Lerners in Washington when they bought the Expos/Nationals.

Johnson — while clearly the face of this group — would be more than a mere figurehead.  He has sports ownership experience given a previous stake in the Lakers and a stake in the Dayton Dragons minor league team.  He’s sort of a renaissance mogul, with numerous business and philanthropic interests.

UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, Johnson confirmed his interest via Twitter: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be part of the Dodgers legacy & bring a World Series championship back to LA.”

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.