The Phillies put fans through one of the worst losses of the season on Saturday night in Houston, with the offense being stifled yet again by some pitcher you've never heard of, but they still sit 3 games back of the final wild card spot. The Dodgers and Cardinals now share that spot with Milwaukee and Pittsburgh still ahead of the Fightins as well.
In order to salvage a series split and keep the playoff dream alive, you're going to need a real solid effort from starter Roy Halladay. If Doc can't beat Astros starter Jordan Lyles, and the Phils end up dropping 3 of 4 in Houston, it's hard to rationalize this 2012 Phillies club being deserving of a playoff berth.
They simply must get it done today.
2:05 pm start from Houston today.
Scoreboard Watching: Brewers at Mets (2:05), Pirates at Cubs (2:20), Cardinals at Dodgers (4:10)
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The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on a deal with outfielder Michael Saunders, according to a source.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the deal was close early Monday afternoon.
When the medical reviews and other loose ends are complete, Saunders will end up with a one-year contract for 2017. It is believed that there will be an option for 2018.
Saunders, 30, will give the Phils the left-handed bat they’ve been looking for in the outfield. Saunders is likely to play right field and his addition will likely push Roman Quinn back to Triple A, where he will get more seasoning.
Saunders is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors. He played in a career-high 140 games with Toronto in 2016 and made the American League All-Star team on the strength of a first half in which he hit .298 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He fell off in the second half and hit just .178 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and a .638 OPS. Saunders finished the season at .253/24/57/.815.
With less than a month to go before spring training, the Phillies are likely done with their significant offseason moves. The offseason began with trades for reliever Pat Neshek and outfielder Howie Kendrick. Later in the winter, the club traded for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. Now Saunders is on his way.
It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP poll.
A week, to be exact.
The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.
In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advatange: Wildcats.
UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.
Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.
Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.
Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.
The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.