No, Ben Revere, This Is Not a Catch

No, Ben Revere, This Is Not a Catch

Maybe Jayson Stark should have given the rules quiz to Ben Revere. The Phillies’ centerfielder played a lazy fly ball a bit too casually on Sunday, the end result of which was the umpire correctly ruling the batter safe.

Revere positioned himself under Juan Lagares’ pop fly during the top of the fifth inning for what appeared to be a routine catch. Revere squeezed, and there should have been one out

Instead Lagares was standing on third base, and Revere was left with egg on his face. The ball got away from the defender as he went to transfer it to his free hand, hitting the ground before he could regain control of the situation.

[ Watch video of Revere’s “catch” ]

Revere can throw his hands in the air in protest all he wants. It wasn’t a catch as far as Major League Baseball is concerned. Via their official rules:

A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it … In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.

In other words, the catch is not considered complete until after the exchange. It’s not the most common rule in the book, but most people were probably aware of this. Based on his reaction, Revere apparently was not.

Chris Wheeler conceded the ruling was technically correct during the Phils broadcast, but questioned whether second base umpire D.J. Reyburn should have made that call in this particular situation. Hey, rules are rules, and are that for a reason. One can easily make the case Revere never had complete control of the ball.

After the game Revere said he thought the ump blew the call. He didn't though, but okay.

“I asked him, I said, ‘You saw where I had the ball in my glove for a good three or four seconds.’ And he said, ‘It’s just you had to have complete control.’” Revere said of his conversation with second-base umpire D.J. Reyburn. “I was like, ‘Complete control? Like all the way through to throw the ball?’ He was like, ‘No, the glove.’ And I said, ‘I had the glove, I had the ball in my glove the whole time.’ I guess it's just a bad call. Terrible call.”

Revere is quietly putting together a nice little season at the plate, batting .327 since May 1. His play in the outfield on the other hand has often been shaky to say the least. If it were just this play you might be able to overlook this as a dumb mistake and move on, but he’s consistently demonstrated a real lack of competence out there.

The Mets scored three runs in the inning, not that it mattered. The Phillies couldn’t score any through nine, getting blanked by impressive youngster Matt Harvey for six, then shutdown by the bullpen over the final three. New York won 8-0.

The PhiLOLies dropped two of three to the Mets in the series. But you already knew that because you spent all weekend glued to your couch watching.

>> BOX SCORE [CBS]

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Source: Phillies have agreement with free-agent OF Michael Saunders

Source: Phillies have agreement with free-agent OF Michael Saunders

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.

Villanova returns to top of AP poll after a week away

Villanova returns to top of AP poll after a week away

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.