Rosenthal: On the Phillies' Mentality at the Trade Deadline (plus: the Mike Adams Watch Begins)

Rosenthal: On the Phillies' Mentality at the Trade Deadline (plus: the Mike Adams Watch Begins)

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal touches a few bases with respect to what the Phillies might do at the upcoming MLB trade deadline in his column today. Although rival clubs say the Phils are putting it out there that they can only add about $2 million in salary, the rest of the league has come to know that what we've seen from Ruben Amaro Jr in recent acquisition periods is likely to continue in some way later this month. No, they won't be adding another ace (at least, I doubt it). But they will do something.

Rosenthal quotes a rival GM as follows:

"They look at their model — if they don’t keep their foot on the pedal, it might go away," one GM says. "They've got a full house every night. They don't want the spigot to get turned off. There is always that question — do you have the discipline to say, 'This is our team?' "

Although the Phils are in first place and no one likes to see the prospect cupboard rendered barren, most if not all fans are looking for Rube to make a move to shore up either or both of their bullpen and right-handed bat needs. Rosenthal says they'd prefer to add players that aren't just half-season rentals, and the most intriguing current lead comes in the reliever area, where some possible Ryan Madson insurance could be available in San Diego's Mike Adams.

They've been linked heavily to a few San Diego Padres relievers, and Rosenthal points at a greater interest in the 32-year-old righty Adams than Heath Bell (the arbitration-eligible Adams gives them a year of insurance if Madson leaves for a lucrative "top reliever on the market" deal in the upcoming off-season). While Adams isn't the name Heath Bell is, his gaudy 0.71 WHIP and 41 K's in 42 innings pitched are pretty attractive. In his last three seasons, Adams hasn't had an opposing batting average over .200.

Nearly all of Adams' numbers are better than those of Bell this season, and his price tag is lower.

As such, the Padres may place a high value on Adams; he can be their closer should they move Heath Bell, and in any case, he's not just a middle of the road reliever. This is the time of year where solid bullpen arms have a whole lot of value as contenders like the Phillies don't want to lose the wins of their aces on the arms of fill-in relievers called up earlier in the week due to injuries to other relievers. That'll be especially true when the post-season rolls around and performances late in close games mean the difference between the success and failure of an entire season's payroll investment.   

Rosenthal's got a few more choice bits over at Fox Sports worth a click this AM. I particularly liked the part about the sons of Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols playing in the same little league tournament last week. 

We'll be back shortly with a look at today's rubber match between the Phillies and Mets that they'd better goddamn win.

Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-US Presswire

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH --- Vince Velasquez wasn’t able to stand the heat Sunday afternoon.

The game-time temperature was 89 degrees with humidity to match at PNC Park. The Philadelphia Phillies right-hander admitted he didn’t handle the weather well.

"You're going to go through various conditions, and it's something that you've got to really take into consideration --- to really lock in, stay hydrated because it can mentally drain you,” Velasquez said. “It kind of took a toll on me but I have to make the best of what I've got.”

Velasquez wound up pitching six innings in the blistering heat but did not factor in the decision as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Phillies 5-4 on pinch-hitter Adam Frazier’s leadoff home run in the seventh inning, his first in the major leagues, off fellow rookie Edubray Ramos.

Velasquez had his worst of his five starts since coming off the disabled list June 26, allowing four runs and seven hits while walking four and striking out five. He threw 107 pitches, 64 for strikes.

In his first four outings after begin activated, he was 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA to raise his record to 8-2.

“Just looking at his body language, he showed that he was struggling to find the strike zone,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He didn't have his best location. He did a good job; he just made a couple bad pitches when they scored the two runs. Obviously, he wasn't at his best, but he kept us in the game.”

While that kind of outing can breed confidence in a 24-year-old pitcher, Velasquez took no consolation in it. He was bothered about not being able to hold a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving up a tying two-run home run to Matt Joyce.

“I knew it was my last inning when I went out there and I have to be able to close it out there,” Velasquez said. “I’m disappointed in that. I need to better in that situation.”

Joyce’s blast came on pitch after Starling Marte doubled on an 0-2 pitch. That, too, annoyed Velasquez.

“That's just a matter of finishing at-bats,” Velasquez said. “You've got to lock in on 0-2 counts when you're ahead. You've got to finish the at-bat. Knowing that that was my last inning, that's where you have to bear down and give it all you've got.”

Ramos then gave up the game-winning homer to Frazier an inning later, the first long ball given up by the 23-year-old right-hander in 14 career outings. The Phillies wound up losing two of three games in the series and are 3-7 since the All-Star break to drop to 10 games under .500 at 45-55 through 100 games.

“It’s a game we should have won but I put us in position to lose it,” Velasquez said.

Dallas Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

Dallas Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Four people were killed Sunday when bus carrying Dallas Cowboys staffers but no players collided with a van on a northwestern Arizona highway.

The fatalities were passengers in the van, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said. But the bus occupants emerged uninjured.

"All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises," Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple (DAHL'-rimp-ul) said in an email.

Dalrymple said the bus was only carrying members of the franchise's staff but would not say how many. There were no players on board.

The two vehicles collided in the afternoon on U.S. 93, about 30 miles north of the city of Kingman, according to DPS.

The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The bus was on its way to a Dallas Cowboys fan event in Las Vegas. Charles Cooper, manager of GameWorks entertainment center in Vegas, said the session with 50 to 75 fans was scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT. People were already waiting when the president of a Las Vegas Cowboys fan club called to relay news of the accident. The event was subsequently canceled. Cooper says the team mascot was supposed to appear.

After the Las Vegas stop, the bus was scheduled to go on to Oxnard, California for the team's training camp. Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Jeremy Hellickson may be staying in the NL East past the trade deadline. 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Phillies are scouting the Marlins' minor league teams in advance of a possible Hellickson deal. 

This comes on the heels of a report from a radio host in Miami that Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen may need Tommy John surgery. Chen left with an elbow sprain during Wednesday's loss to the Phillies and was placed on the disabled list. Ironically, Chen was starting against Hellickson, who will face Jarred Cosart in place of Chen on Monday.

Hellickson's value rebounded significantly this season after struggling in Arizona and Tampa Bay the last few seasons. After dealing with a shoulder injury, Hellickson pitched to ERAs above 4.50 in each season from 2013-15, leading to the Diamondbacks trading him to the Phillies for limited value. 

However, in 20 starts, Hellickson, who will be a free agent after the year, has anchored the Phillies' rotation, bringing a 3.84 ERA over 119 ⅔ innings into Monday's scheduled start. He also has a nearly career-best strikeout rate and has regained his signature command that made him a strong performer with the Rays.

The Phillies are aided this trade deadline by a lack of starting pitching options available on the market. With many teams in contention looking for an additional starter, Hellickson is an attractive piece who could help a team in a pennant race.