Hey guys! The MLB postseason started in earnest last night. (Game 163 between the Rays and Rangers doesn't count, since you can still use it to pad your regular season stats, for reasons I will never understand.) The Pirates beat the Reds in the Wild Card game, and good for them, having not played in October in 21 years and all. It's enough to get you excited about playoff baseball, even if the Phillies are already off hunting and rehabbing and such.
Well, until you remember the two members of the 2013 Phillies who will be participating in this year's postseason--the Young twins Michael and Delmon, both of whom ended up on contending teams and are, somewhat remarkably, still being used in key roles on their respective squads. Michael was jettisoned to the Dodgers, where he hit .314 for them in a little over 20 games in an infield utility role, while Delmon latched on with the Rays, where he became their regular DH and posted a very respectable .780 OPS in 70 plate appearances.
You may recall that I was not a very big fan of the Young twins during their time in Philadelphia, but I had hoped that their respective, long-overdue dismissals would be the end of the heartburn they caused me during the 2013 baseball season. Not so, as seeing these two miscreants mucking up my postseason action and being reminded of endless misplayed flies, baserunning gaffes and double play grounders will surely have me reaching for the TUMS in no time.
The Rays play their Wild Card entry game tonight against the Indians, while the Dodgers kick off their NLDS series against the Braves tomorrow night. Go Cleveland.
PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).
Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).
“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).
Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.
Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.
“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”
It looks like the Flyers and Brayden Schenn are heading towards arbitration.
A source tells CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that the Flyers and Schenn's camp are at odds over the salary of Schenn's next contract.
Schenn turned down a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second, according to the source, noting that Schenn is looking for a deal that would pay him $5.5 million this upcoming season.
Schenn is coming off a career year, setting career highs in goals (26) and points (59), and is now looking to cash in on his best season. Last season, Schenn earned $2.75 million.
General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he believes a deal will get done, but at the moment nothing looks imminent.
Schenn's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday.
After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored.
Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.
Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.
Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs.
After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career.
Here is tonight's lineup:
1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P