CSN Mock Draft, Pick 31: 49ers select ...


CSN Mock Draft, Pick 31: 49ers select ...

No. 31: Matt Elam, Safety, Florida (5-10, 208)

This pick seems like a no-brainer. The 49ers need safety help. Matt Elam is a play-making difference maker with the kind of aggressive attitude that should make Jim Harbaugh salivate.

Except for this.

Our colleagues in the Bay Area sum up the 49ers' draft plans very well. The 49ers are bold. They are talented. They are loaded with picks. Their coach is publicly challenging their GM to be the next Ozzie Newsome (I think it would be funny if their GM challenged their coach to be the next John Harbaugh, but I digress). Point is, the Niners are going to trade out of this spot. They are going to be active on draft day. I would be shocked if they actually make this selection.

But if they do stay here, they can do much worse than Elam. In our position preview, I ranked Elam as the best safety in the draft. I love his speed. I love his power. I love his aggression. I love that he's played both free and strong safety. I love that he's a difference maker on special teams, too. My only gripe with Elam -- and it's slight -- is that I worry about his ability to stay healthy given his tackling style.

Still, my opinion is they will trade up out of this spot. Best guess for who will be their trade partner? I could see the Titans moving down, especially if they like Geno Smith and Smith falls past the first nine picks. Another option is the Bills, especially if Buffalo really does like former Malvern Prep standout Ryan Nassib. Nassib should be there for the Bills at No. 31 and they have plenty of other holes that a trade with San Francisco would help fill.

If the 49ers do move up into the top 10, Sheldon Richardson makes a lot of sense. So too does Sylvester Williams. And if they really want to shock the world, they could grab Tavon Austin. Imagine him shaking free in NFC West secondaries as Colin Kaepernick buys time in the pocket with his feet? The possibilities are endless. And so are the possibilities for the 49ers come draft day. I would suggest NFL Network make sure Niners Cam is fired up come draft night. San Francisco is likely to be very busy.

Best of MLB: Giolito sharp in rain-shortened debut as Nats beat Mets

Best of MLB: Giolito sharp in rain-shortened debut as Nats beat Mets

WASHINGTON -- Lucas Giolito threw four scoreless innings in his rain-shortened major league debut, and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 5-0 on Tuesday night.

Baseball's top pitching prospect allowed just one hit -- a leadoff single -- struck out one and walked two before a lengthy rain delay ended his outing. The 21-year-old Giolito threw 29 of his 45 pitches for strikes and was in command against the Mets like a seasoned veteran.

Bryce Harper hit a two-run home run, his team-leading 16th of the season, Wilson Ramos drove in two and Anthony Rendon had an RBI triple to provide the run support.

Mets right-hander Matt Harvey (4-10) was the hard-luck loser despite striking out three and allowing just four hits in 3 2/3 innings (see full recap).

Cubs outlast Reds in 15 innings
CINCINNATI -- Kris Bryant singled home the tiebreaking run in the 15th inning and the Chicago Cubs used three pitchers in left field while beating the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 on Tuesday night in the longest game of the season for both teams.

With the Cubs out of position players, relievers Travis Wood and Spencer Patton (1-0) alternated between left field and the mound in the 14th inning, which ended with Patton getting the final out. Wood then finished it off with reliever Pedro Strop in left.

Bryant's only hit on Tuesday -- a single off J.J. Hoover (1-2) -- snapped the tie. Javier Baez added a grand slam in the 15th, the sixth career allowed by Hoover, which is a Reds record.

The National League's top team went 1-6 last week but has pulled out of the downturn by winning the first two games of a series against the Reds. The Cubs hit five homers -- three by Kris Bryant -- while taking the opener 11-8 (see full recap).

Indians top Braves for 11th straight win
ATLANTA -- Carlos Santana hit a tie-breaking single in Cleveland's three-run ninth inning, Corey Kluber allowed only three hits in eight innings and the Indians beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Tuesday night for their 11th straight win.

The winning streak is Cleveland's longest in 34 years.

Arodys Vizcaino (1-3) walked Tyler Naquin to open the ninth and then walked Juan Uribe on four pitches. With pinch-runner Rajai Davis at first base, pinch-hitter Michael Martinez struck out.

Vizcaino was in danger of issuing another walk when Santana lined a 3-1 pitch to right field, driving in Naquin from second base.

Braves shortstop Erick Aybar mishandled Francisco Lindor's grounder for an error, allowing Davis to score. Jose Ramirez added a run-scoring single up the middle.

Kluber (8-7), coming off a shutout of Tampa Bay, didn't allow a hit through five innings. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts (see full recap).

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3


PHOENIX — Over the years, Ryan Howard made his living swinging a lethal bat. This time on Tuesday night, he used his eye to help the Phillies to victory.

Howard walked with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning to cap a two-run rally. That pair in their final at-bats gave the Phillies a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks before 19,645 at Chase Field.

The Phillies (34-45) came from a run down to first tie this one. Jimmy Paredes led off with a double against the left field fence. Andres Blanco followed with a single to right to tie the game, and that set the table for Howard’s game-winning RBI in the final inning. Jeanmar Gomez then came on in the bottom of the inning and retired the Diamondbacks (36-44) in order to record his 21st save.

The Phillies caught a break when Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke left the game before the start of the third inning with tightness in his left oblique. Current Phillies were a collective 14 for 92 (.152) lifetime against the Diamondbacks' ace entering Tuesday. He allowed a run in his two frames before exiting.

Lost in the outcome was another strong outing from starter Jerad Eickhoff, who lasted into the sixth inning and gave up only a pair of runs.

Starting pitching
Eickhoff fell short of his sixth quality start in succession. Leaving in the sixth inning, Eickhoff clearly kept the Phillies in this one. During one sequence of hitters, he was particularly strong. Jake Lamb led off the fourth with a triple, but Eickhoff then retired Yasmany Tomas, who flied to shallow right field, struck out Welington Castillo and pitcher Randall Delgado grounded to third.

As is custom this season, Eickhoff suffered from lack of run support. His 2.75 runs per game is the third lowest of qualified MLB starters this season.

The offense
After banging out a season-high 16 hits Monday night, the Phillies managed only two runs and nine hits in support of Eickhoff. Maikel Franco slammed his 13th homer of the season with two outs in the fifth to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead but home runs from Tomas in the sixth and Jake Lamb in the seventh quickly put the Phillies down, 3-2.

With the Phillies’ 8-0 victory in the opener of this series in the desert, Phillies pitching now has nine shutouts on the season. That nine is two more than the staff managed all of last season, and this was accomplished in their 78th game this season.

The nine shutouts are the most for the Phillies' staff in five years at this mark of the season. During the 2011 campaign, the combination of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt tossed 21 shutouts and the staff compiled a 3.02 ERA. Also in 2011, the Phillies set a franchise record with a 102 wins.

“I think this is a testament to the kind of arms we have,” reliever David Hernandez said before Tuesday's game. “These guys reached a level of consistency, and that’s what you want from each player. Consistency is the key element to any winning team.”

Aside from the mental game, pitchers are delivering results with precision. After dropping their first four games of the season, the Phillies reeled off five wins in their next six contests, which included three shutouts.

“Since that start, the pitching has been fantastic,” manager Peter Mackanin. “I think the biggest reason for their overall success is each guy is making their pitches. When they’re good, they are good. It’s about consistency.”

Closer in the making?
Lost in the Phillies' blowout victory in the series’ opener was work of the bullpen. After starter Vince Velasquez gathered all the accolades for his performance coming off the disabled list, the bullpen combination of Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris and Severino Gonzalez shut down the Diamondbacks on two hits over the final four innings.

Ramos was particularly effective and retired six hitters without a hit. After walking Michael Bourn to open the sixth, the fleet Arizona centerfielder was gunned down at second trying to steal. From there, Ramos struck out four of the final five hitters he faced. In three appearances since his recall from Triple A Lehigh Valley last Friday, Ramos has allowed no hits and no runs over 3 1/3 innings.

“I’m not saying this is where [Ramos] could wind up, but he has the stuff and demeanor to be a closer,” Mackanin said. “He has a great fastball and his curve and slide have good bites. I’m excited by what I see.”

Futures Game
On Tuesday, rosters for the Futures Game were announced. In a game which showcases top prospects in San Diego July 10, the Phillies have two players in this contest.

Named to Team USA was left-handed outfielder Dylan Cozens out of Scottsdale, Arizona. At 6-5 and 235 pounds, Cozens was a second-round pick in the 2012 draft. In 75 games at Double A Reading, Cozens is hitting .273 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs.

“We were in Port Charlotte for a game this spring and needed an outfielder,” Mackanin said. “I heard about Cozens, so we brought him along on the trip. In batting practice, he must have hit 10 out of the park, and that got my attention. I think he had one at-bat in that game, but I’ve followed him this season.”

Also named to represent the World Team was Ricardo Pinto, a right-hander from San Joaquin, Venezuela. Last season, Pinto was named the Paul Owens Award winner as the best pitcher in the Phillies' farm system. Currently at Reading, the 6-0, 165-pounder is 3-3 in 15 games as a starter with a 4.32 ERA.

With warmer weather …
The Phillies have played 79 games and Cameron Rupp has appeared in 48 of them.

The playing guideline for catchers during the course of the season is typically around 135 to 145 games, and Rupp is on target to catch over 100 games. Hitting .270, Rupp leads the Phillies in doubles (14), while 22 of his 48 hits have gone for extra bases.

So far this season, Rupp’s workload was predicated on Mackanin’s desire to get a good luck at his defensive skills and how Rupp handles the pitching staff. Now with that transition complete and the grueling days of summer now upon us, Mackanin wants to change personnel.

Beginning with Tuesday’s game, Carlos Ruiz will get more playing time.

“The weather is getting hotter and I know Cam is a big guy,” Mackanin said. “Plus, Chooch still has a great deal to offer.”

Going forward, Ruiz will catch more games and give the developing pitching staff a comfort zone of experience and knowledge.

Up next
The Phillies go for the sweep Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. when right-hander Zach Eflin (0-2, 6.28 ERA) opposes Diamondbacks righty Archie Bradley (3-3, 4.50 ERA).

Tonight’s lineup: Struggling Tommy Joseph sits in favor of Ryan Howard

Tonight’s lineup: Struggling Tommy Joseph sits in favor of Ryan Howard

The Phillies’ bats stayed hot in the team’s 8-0 win over the Diamondbacks Monday night, which included a six-run seventh inning (see story). It was the fourth time in seven games that the Phillies have scored at least six runs.

With the offense showing encouraging signs of life on the current road trip, manager Pete Mackanin is sticking with catalysts Odubel Herrera and Peter Bourjos at the top of the lineup. The two combined for seven hits and four runs scored in Monday’s blowout win.

Following Herrera and Bourjos, Mackanin makes a few changes to tonight’s lineup.

Ryan Howard gets his first start since last Friday as the struggling Tommy Joseph, who went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts on Monday, takes a seat. With Joseph on the bench, Maikel Franco moves up to the three-hole and Howard hits cleanup.

Carlos Ruiz takes over behind the plate for Cameron Rupp, who went 1 for 4 with an RBI on Monday night. Ruiz has established himself as Jerad Eickhoff’s personal catcher.

With right-hander Zack Greinke on the mound for the Diamondbacks, Cody Asche gets the start in left field over Tyler Goeddel. Asche went 1 for 3 with an RBI double off the bench last night.

Here are the full lineups for both teams:

Phillies lineup
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Peter Bourjos, RF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Diamondbacks lineup
1. Jean Segura, 2B
2. Michael Bourn, CF
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Jake Lamb, 3B
5. Yasmany Tomas, RF
6. Wellington Castillo, C
7. Peter O’Brien, LF
8. Zack Greinke, P
9. Nick Ahmed, SS