Hamels or not, Dodgers have lots to prove

Only 12 days remain before the non-waiver trade deadline, and you know what that means: The Los Angeles Dodgers are about to swing their checkbook from the heels.

The Dodgers are said to be the front-runners to land the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels and his four-year, $96 million contract, some of which the Phillies might agree to eat themselves.

A rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hamels and Brett Anderson would make them consensus favorites in the National League.

The Dodgers were one of a few teams that scouted Hamels against the Miami Marlins on Sunday, when he turned in his second consecutive subpar effort. “My track record speaks for itself,” he said afterward. “But sometimes you can get yourself in a rut and you’ve got to be able to go out and get on a hot streak. Then you can go for months.”

No doubt the Hamels talk has the Giants’ attention, but it shouldn’t scare them even a little bit.

The wild card has changed everything the last few years. Now the goal is to just to get to the playoffs and arrive reasonably healthy, preferably with some momentum. Because once there, the Giants understand what it takes to be successful, something the Dodgers seem to know little if anything about at this point.

DODGER GREEN: If the Dodgers were to land Hamels in the days ahead, their top four starters would have a combined $91.5 million salary this season. That would be more than the entire payroll of eight major league teams.

In that case, the foursome would be paid about $3 million more than the A’s team. By the time general manager Billy Beane packed up the truck, the difference would be a lot more than that.

JUAN TO REMEMBER: Sunday marked the 55th anniversary of Juan Marichal’s major league debut, one of most memorable in Giants’ history.

In a preview of things to come, Marichal fired a one-hit shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Candlestick Park. The 2-0 victory was the first of 243 in his career. The only blemish was pinch-hitter Clay Dalrymple’s single in the eighth inning. The future Hall of Famer walked one batter and struck out a dozen.
Modern seamheads would consider the performance to be remarkable also for this reason: It took two hours, seven minutes to complete.

JUST SAYIN’: Marichal deserved more consideration in the Franchise Four selections, which fans determined in a vote earlier this month. He and Willie McCovey should share the final spot alongside Willie Mays, Mel Ott and Christy Mathewson, it says here. That means no to Barry Bonds and Buster Posey, who made the cut.

OH, JEALOUS HEART: Can’t any of the Warriors’ playoff opponents admit the best team won this spring?

Tony Allen became the latest sore loser to play the what-if game, when the Memphis Grizzlies swingman whined things would have been different in the semifinals had he not been limited by a hamstring problem. He dared the Warriors to let him shoot again, which they did with success in the playoffs.

“When they pulled that strategy, man, I was hurt,” Allen said. “If they try that s— again…

“Had I been healthy, and they had somebody [like Andrew Bogut] on me, I probably would have showed up in a different way in a game as far as rebounding, steals. Them putting Bogut on me simply affected our team because of injury.”

Never mind the sore hammy. Allen has 91 3-pointers in 11 seasons. That’s reason enough to let try that s— again.

TY GOES TO ROCKETS: Any talk about the NBA’s Southwest Division this summer has been about the San Antonio Spurs, the Spurs and more Spurs. What about the Houston Rockets, who were in the Western Conference finals? Now that they’ve acquired troubled veteran Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets for little, if anything, they deserve to be in the conversation at least.

General manager Daryl Morey rolled the dice here. Lawson recently was arrested on a DUI charge, his second in six months. He voluntarily committed himself to 30 days of rehab in California, which made for one of the more unusual trades in recent memory. He will be monitored for alcohol continuously.

But when the 27-year-old Lawson is right, he’s one of the more effective point guards in the league. If James Harden isn’t required to handle the ball as much, the Rockets figure to be deeper and fresher come playoff time. A Lawson-Harden backcourt has the potential to be a very good one. In other words, the reward far outweighs the risk.

HAPPY B-DAY, RILEY: On her third birthday, Riley Curry boogied to Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” a sweet performance that lit up the Internet on Sunday.

So for those who were a bit concerned that Stephen’s oldest daughter hadn’t been seen in a while, no, she has not peaked too early.

YOU’RE FIRED! Donald Trump shouldn’t expect a presidential endorsement from Curt Schilling any time soon, not that the former pitcher ever was much of a closer, anyway.

After Trump made comments about former Republican presidential nominee John McCain recently, Schilling went off on this Twitter rant: “I assumed it would take longer than this, but I’m out on @realDonaldTrump. You don’t ever mock the people that serve, ever.”

The two have been at odds ever since McCain said Trump’s comments about illegal immigrants had brought out the “crazies.”

That prompted Trump to attack McCain, a naval aviator who was shot down in the Vietnam War and spent nearly six years as a prisoner of war. “He’s not a hero,” Trump said. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Now Trump says he doesn’t owe McCain an apology, and Balls is thinking this is almost as much fun as the Pete Rose debate.

STAY ON THE GRASS: In a Rolling Stone interview, ex-Cubs swinger Joe Pepitone revealed his hidden stash at Wrigley Field in Chicago, a story that would have dropped a lot more jaws decades ago.

“One time, someone hit me in the back with some foil, all wrapped up, and there’s like four joints in it. I went and stuck it in the ivy on the outfield wall, but I remembered where I put it,” Pepitone said. “Once they saw me do that, the regular Bleacher Bums started throwing things at me every day; I’d get hit with a little packet, I’d look and there’s a gram of coke in there. I was like, “Holy (expletive)!” Right into the ivy with it! I’m telling you, I got speed, I got everything. … I loved Chicago! With the (expletive) I was getting in centerfield, I woulda played for nothing!”

What Balls wants to know is whatever came of Pepitone’s toupees, one that the first baseman wore under his cap on the field and the other while he caroused off it. Once his “game piece” blew during the national anthem, a YouTube moment before it’s time.

THAT’S TWO AND A FIVE: Australian surfer legend Mick Fanning was injured after a terrifying shark attack at the J-Bay Open in South Africa on Sunday.

A frantic Fanning kicked and even punched the shark in an attempt to ward it off. He was about to be dragged under water, but fortunately, his leg rope broke before he was taken to safety.

A fish that smelled blood? Well, at least we know it wasn’t a San Jose Shark.

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