Get to know David Buchanan, impress friends and family at holiday parties

Get to know David Buchanan, impress friends and family at holiday parties

As if the Philadelphia Phillies needed any more obstacles in their path, they’re without Cliff Lee for a couple weeks. Hopefully that’s all, but for now, all that matters is who’s replacing him.

Jonathan Pettibone is on the mend, too, so that fallback option is out. Ethan Martin? Moved to the bullpen, actually, but points for you just for asking because it means you were still watching last August. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez? Now there’s a knee-slapper.

So on Thursday the Phillies announced they were down to David Buchanan, a 25-year-old right-hander who will make his first Major League start on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Unless you keep regular tabs on the Phils’ farm system—and perhaps even if you do—there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Buchanan until now. That’s because he’s generally not hailed as one of the organization’s top prospects.

He’s not in Baseball America’s or Keith Law’s top 10 Phillies prospects. He’s not among the Phillies’ 20 prospects to watch according to MLB.com. Buchanan didn’t even crack the Inquirer’s top 25.

We’ll save you the trouble of Googling him on your smart phone during your family barbecue over the weekend (unless you need such distractions, then be sure to visit us later).

A seventh-round pick out of Georgia State in 2010, Buchanan has been steadily climbing the Phillies minor-league ranks, although not in terribly impressive fashion from what we can glean from the back of his baseball card. He has a 35-27 record with a 3.98 earned run average, 1.335 WHIP and 2.01 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 88 professional starts.

Judging from the stat sheet, 2014 has been a particularly strange season for Buchanan. He’s managed to compile a 5-1 record in nine starts at Lehigh Valley this year with a modest 3.98 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP that would qualify as one of the worst in the Majors, as would his 1.82 K/BB rate. He’s walked 3.8 batters per nine innings.

Not surprisingly with that line, he’s not going very deep into games. Buchanan hasn’t lasted past 6.0 innings yet this season.

Jim Salisbury for CSNPhilly.com wrote about Buchanan competing for a job in the rotation this spring, noting he has a nice array of pitches with a sinker/cutter/changeup combo.  Phuture Phillies mentions his fastball hits as high as 94 miles per hour. And he’s good at keeping the ball down, which has resulted in relatively few home runs as evidenced by a relatively low 0.7 home runs per nine over his career.

If he can keep the ball down, he'll give 'em a chance. Then again, he'll likely be turning the game over to the bullpen at some point, so maybe not.

Buchanan will battle, and if the Phillies are lucky, they’ll get a couple decent starts out of him before Lee returns on schedule. But best case scenario, we’re talking about an end-of-the-rotation starter, one who unfortunately is tasked with filling the void left by a Cy Young Award winner. At this point in the season, that’s not what the Fightins needed.

Best of MLB: Mike Trout (thumb) leaves early as Marlins crush Angels

Best of MLB: Mike Trout (thumb) leaves early as Marlins crush Angels

MIAMI -- Mike Trout sprained his left thumb stealing second base Sunday, and the Los Angeles Angels took a thumping without him, losing 9-2 to the Miami Marlins.

Trout yelled in pain as he rose after sliding headfirst in the fifth inning. He was examined by a trainer, stayed in the game, but was replaced in the sixth. X-rays were negative, and there was no immediate timetable regarding his return.

The reigning American League MVP was 0 for 2 when he departed with the Angels trailing 4-2. He finished 2 for 9 in the series to drop his average to .337 (see full recap).

Aaron Judge hit first-career grand slam in Yankees' win
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge hit his first career grand slam and the New York Yankees took full advantage of Oakland's shoddy defense Sunday in a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.

Michael Pineda (6-2) tossed six innings of three-hit ball to win his third straight start. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter each had an early sacrifice fly as the AL East leaders scored five unearned runs and took two of three in a well-pitched series.

Judge connected with two outs in the third for his 16th home run, tying Mike Trout of the Angels for the big league lead. The drive landed in the right-field seats, not far in front of The Judge's Chambers cheering section installed by the Yankees for the start of this 4-2 homestand.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for the A's, who committed two more costly errors to raise their season total to 49. They began the day with 10 more than any other team in the majors.

The fielding failures put starter Andrew Triggs (5-4) in tough situations. He went six innings and gave up one earned run (see full recap).

Miguel Gonzalez loses perfect game in seventh, but pitches White Sox to win
CHICAGO -- Miguel Gonzalez took a perfect game into the seventh inning, Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Sunday.

Melky Cabrera and Matt Davidson also connected, helping the White Sox take three of four in the series. David Robertson got two outs for his seventh save.

Gonzalez (4-5) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings while snapping a five-start losing streak. The right-hander struck out six and walked none.

Gonzalez retired his first 18 batters before Andrew Romine led off the seventh with a hard one-hop liner to shortstop Tim Anderson, who couldn't field the ball cleanly and was originally charged with an error. Alex Avila followed with a single into to right field, and Romine's ball was later changed to a hit (see full recap).

Gone but not forgotten: Joel Embiid remembers Harambe on 1-year anniversary of death

Gone but not forgotten: Joel Embiid remembers Harambe on 1-year anniversary of death

Gone, but not forgotten … as long as Sixers superstar center Joel Embiid has his way.

On the one-year anniversary of Harambe's death, Embiid remembered the slain gorilla on Instagram with the caption: "Gone but never forgotten #RIPHarambe."

The Instagram post was accompanied by a picture of Harambe along with a longer message and acquired over 22,700 likes within the first 37 minutes of its posting.

Gone but never forgotten #RIPHarambe

A post shared by Joel "The Process" Embiid (@joelembiid) on

There are some factual errors in Embiid's post, however. The picture stated that Harambe "would've been 18 today," which was posted Sunday.

Harambe's birthday was May 27, 1999. He would have been 18 years and one day old Sunday.

This was not Embiid's first participation in the Harambe Internet meme.

Regardless, the tragic killing of Harambe, a popular male gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, sparked outrage and then Harambe became an Internet meme.