Don Mattingly says Jimmy Rollins will be the Dodgers’ leadoff man

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Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced that new shortstop Jimmy Rollins will be the team’s leadoff hitter, explaining: “We don’t truly have anyone else who fits in that role.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but whatever.

Rollins fits the old stereotype of a leadoff hitter because he’s a middle infielder with plus speed, but the problem is that he doesn’t actually get on base much.

Last season Rollins had a .323 on-base percentage and that was actually higher than his OBPs in 2012 and 2013. With that said, offense across baseball is down so much that NL leadoff men as a whole barely topped Rollins with a .327 OBP last season and Mattingly is right that the Dodgers lack an obvious leadoff candidate with great on-base skills unless they opt against using Yasiel Puig in the middle of the lineup.

Astros clinch AL West for third consecutive year

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For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.

Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.

Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.

Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.

The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.