The Morning Extras: Did Brian Westbrook Deserve Better?

The Morning Extras: Did Brian Westbrook Deserve Better?

This is the final word on Westbrook for now, barring any unforeseen major developments in the story. At Tuesday's press conference though, Andy Reid refused to discuss whether the club offered to restructure Brian's contract. While making his rounds yesterday for the going away media tour, 36 revealed that they absolutely did not offer to renegotiate, and that neither Joe Banner or Jeffrey Lurie even bothered to pick up the phone.

The second part is a bit of a head scratcher, specifically on Lurie. When you consider how much Westbrook meant to this team's success during the past decade, you would think that warrants a call from the owner. As a fan of the team, are you upset at either the lack of effort to keep him in Philadelphia, or specifically the treatment he received on his way out the door?

Personally, I think people read into these things too much. It's possible after Reid broke the news, Lurie thought it would be best to give Brian some time to digest what happened. I'm sure his phone was very busy that afternoon. And from a football standpoint, releasing him is absolutely the correct decision, no matter how difficult it is. Between injuries limiting his availability, and the similarity in styles with McCoy, going in another direction was justified.

LINKS

• "Why A Ryan Howard Trade Makes Sense." Interesting viewpoint, as long as you're applicable to the idea of ever trading the slugger. [Crashburn]

• Potentially big signing for the Phillies, adding Brad Wilkerson on a minor league contract. A career .326 hitter at Citizens Bank Park. [Beerleaguer]

• The obligatory "Briant Westbrook should walk away for his own good" story. I don't necessarily disagree, but you know how pro athletes are, always sticking around a few seasons too long. [CBS Sports]

• The Chester Taylor bandwagon grows. Ray Didinger explains why he would be a good fit for the Eagles. [CSN]

But for right now, I think the Eagles need to bring in a veteran to share the load with McCoy. It doesn’t make much sense to have a rookie backing-up a second-year player like McCoy. You need an experienced guy. Chester Taylor is an interesting option. He will be an unrestricted free agent, and even though he is 30, he has never been asked to carry a big workload so he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his body. 

Taylor had a good year in Minnesota backing up Adrian Peterson. He caught 44 passes and played well in the NFC title game when Peterson was benched for fumbling. Taylor understands the role and would accept sharing time with McCoy. He won’t have trouble picking up the Eagles offense since he played in a similar system under Brad Childress in Minnesota. Just a thought.

• Jon Runyan's plot to take over the world is going swimmingly. His main opponent in the primary elections will not run, and threw his support behind the biggest politician ever. [NJ.com]

• Ryan Miller getting plenty of love for his performance in net for USA. [Yahoo!]

• And the Inquirer's own Phil Sheridan has a good piece on the team's 2-0 battle with Switzerland. [Inquirer]

COMMENT OF THE DAY

I agree w/ VP...we need to add a couple players to the D before even thinking about our offense!

Report came out today that Dunta Robinson is going to hit the market...I think him and Carlos Dansby would be at the top of my FA wish list. Could then either say goodbye to Sheldon Brown or try to move him to FS and draft a rookie for future (Mays, Earl Thomas).

- beau

While I agree the defense is a priority, there's no reason the Eagles can't focus on addressing all their needs.

As far as specific players, I don't expect them to be interested in Dunta Robinson. With the exception of Asante Samuel, who is one of the top playmaking corners in the league, they've made it a point to develop their own guys in the secondary. Sheldon, Mikell, Hanson, Dawkins, Lito, Michael Lewis, Rod Hood, etc. Doubt they would look at a guy like Dunta, who has a history of injuries and isn't an elite player already.

It also sounds like Dansby has other teams in mind, and the Eagles don't typically spend a ton of money on the position. He would be a nice addition, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

THE EXTRA POINT

Where is the damn snow? Don't tease me with days off, only to have me wake up and find that you were full of it. If you're gonna do this, let's do this already.

Stuck at work. Let me hear it, kulp700level@gmail.com.

Phillies prove no match for AL-best Astros in series opener

Phillies prove no match for AL-best Astros in series opener

BOX SCORE

A lot has changed since the Houston Astros last came to Philadelphia in 2014. Back then the Astros were a rebuilding team on their way to a 92-loss season after reaching triple-digit losses the previous three seasons.

Now, the Astros' rebuild is complete and they have the best record (66-33) in the American League and the second best in the majors after the Los Angeles Dodgers (68-31).

The Astros have a powerhouse offense that ranks first in the majors in runs (594), hits (1,105), doubles (222), homers (165), batting average (.293) and OPS (.863).

Those numbers burned the eyes of Phillies manager Pete Mackanin when he got a look at them before Monday's game.

"When I look at their stat sheet and look at all their numbers, I really don't want to look at it," he said. "But once again, good pitching will stop good hitting, so if we can get good outings from some of our pitchers, we have a chance."

The Phillies did not get a good outing from their starting pitcher, nor did they get good work from the bullpen, as they lost Monday's series opener, 13-4 (see Instant Replay).

The Astros pounded out 18 hits and eight of them were for extra bases.

And they did all that damage without star shortstop Carlos Correa (.320/20/67). He is on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his thumb. Also, All-Star George Springer (.311/27/66) left the game in the third inning with a sore quad muscle.

So it could have been worse if the Astros had played with a full deck.

"We’ve been playing pretty well recently and these kinds of games happen," said Mackanin, whose club is 5-5 after the All-Star break. "Unfortunately, this was one of those games.

"Houston is as good a team as we've seen. They have nine guys with double-digit home runs. They are a real aggressive team, one of the best, if not the best, that we’ve seen. They have aggressive hitters. You can't make mistakes against them. Early in the count, they hack at those mistakes. They don’t strike out a lot.

"It was noticeable that they go up there ready to hit every pitch. They're not taking to get a look at the pitcher. If you make a mistake over the plate, they look to hurt you, to do damage."

The Phillies trailed 12-1 in the seventh inning before rookie Nick Williams tripled home three runs. Williams has three triples and 18 RBIs in 72 at-bats with the big club.

Cesar Hernandez had three hits and Odubel Herrera added a pair to raise his July batting average to .364 (24 for 66).

"Other than that, there weren't a lot of bright spots," Mackanin said.

Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, pitching against his former team, worked into the fourth inning, but had his outing cut short by a one-hour, 52-minute rain delay. Velasquez might not have pitched deep into the game even in good weather conditions. He struggled with location and did not use his secondary pitches effectively. He gave up a pair of home runs (to Brian McCann and Alex Bregman) in the second inning, both on fastballs.

Mackanin was rather blunt when asked how he thought Velasquez pitched.

"He gave up six hits, two home runs, in three innings," Mackanin said. "His velocity was OK, but if you don't locate against a team like this, you're going to get hurt."

Velasquez walked three. One of those walks turned into a run.

"They were hunting fastballs," Velasquez said. "Maybe if I utilized my secondary pitches more I would have slowed their bats down and protected my fastball better. They hammer mistakes.

"I probably could have done a better job if I executed. Correa was out of the lineup. If he was in there he probably would have done some damage, too. This team is hot. They're in first place for a reason. They're very selective. They are in the zone. They're locked in."

Ricardo Pinto picked up Velasquez when the game resumed in the top of the fourth inning. He was tagged for seven hits and six runs in 1 1/3 inning. Three of the runs were unearned. 

Best of MLB: White Sox beat crosstown rival Cubs to snap 9-game skid

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Best of MLB: White Sox beat crosstown rival Cubs to snap 9-game skid

CHICAGO -- Adam Engel and Matt Davidson homered and the White Sox snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the crosstown rival Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday.

The Cubs lost for just the second time in 10 games following the All-Star break to fall a half-game behind idle first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

Engel lined his third homer of the season off reliever Justin Grimm (1-1) into the wind and several rows into the left-center bleachers to snap a 1-1 tie in the sixth. Davidson led off the eighth with his 19th homer, which sailed over the left-field stands and onto Waveland Avenue.

Miguel Gonzalez (5-9) allowed one run and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings to end a four-game losing streak and win for just the second time in 11 decisions.

Jose Abreu had two hits and doubled in a run for the AL-worst White Sox, who ended their longest slide in four years (see full recap).

Royals hit back-to-back HRs in 12th inning for win
DETROIT -- Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas hit consecutive homers in the 12th inning, and the Kansas City Royals won their sixth straight game, 5-3 over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Hours after the Royals helped their pitching staff by acquiring Trevor Cahill and two relievers in a trade with San Diego, Kansas City outlasted the Tigers to stay 1 games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central. Jorge Bonifacio also homered for the Royals, who won despite squandering a 3-0 lead in the sixth.

Jakob Junis (3-2), one of seven relievers used by Kansas City, pitched a hitless 11th for the win. Kelvin Herrera finished for his 20th save in 23 chances.

Drew VerHagen (0-1) took the loss, allowing the homers to Perez and Moustakas in his third inning of work (see full recap).

Stanton homers twice as Marlins blank Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Giancarlo Stanton hit more two home runs and moved into a tie for the major league lead, sending Adam Conley and the Miami Marlins over the Texas Rangers 4-0 on Monday night.

Stanton has 32 homers, including six in his last seven games, and matched Yankees rookie Aaron Judge for most in the majors. Stanton hit a two-run drive in the first inning and a solo shot in the eighth.

Texas star Adrian Beltre went 4 for 4, giving him 2,993 career hits. He moved closer to becoming the 31st player to reach 3,000.

Conley (3-3) pitched seven impressive innings during his second start since getting recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on July 18. He allowed seven hits and struck out five as he pitched past the sixth inning for the first time this season.

Martin Perez (5-8) went seven innings (see full recap).