Galvis to Triple A; Amaro won't rush trade calls


Galvis to Triple A; Amaro won't rush trade calls

LOS ANGELES – You might be wondering why the Phillies acquired a 38-year-old infielder who is hitting .053 (2 for 38) on Thursday.

Freddy Galvis is the reason the Phils picked up John McDonald from the Cleveland Indians in a trade for a player to be named later.

Galvis’ playing time has shrunk recently -- entering Thursday night’s game against the Dodgers he’d had just three at-bats in the previous nine games -- and the Phillies’ brass doesn’t want the 23-year-old infielder’s development to stagnate.

So, Galvis was sent to Triple A Lehigh Valley after Thursday night’s game. McDonald will join the club Friday.

Neither manager Charlie Manuel nor GM Ruben Amaro Jr. would confirm that Galvis would be the player sent out prior to Thursday's game, but the writing on the wall was pretty clear.

“I think Freddy has to have some at-bats,” Manuel said. “It’s hard to play every now and then. We have tremendous expectations for Freddy. If he’s going to play once a week -- that’s not enough. But we’ll see.”

Galvis has appeared in 54 games and is hitting .207 in 164 at-bats.

With Chase Utley having come off the disabled list last week, Manuel seems keen on riding his veteran infielders -- Utley at second, Jimmy Rollins at shortstop and Michael Young at third -- to see if the Phillies can make a surge in the standings. If the Phils don’t make a run, management could trade any one of the three aforementioned players and Galvis would be right back to take over the vacated spot.

The Phils entered play Thursday night at 38-41, seven games back in the NL East. The remaining 17 games before the All-Star break could determine whether the Phils hang on to their core players or look to trade talent that could also include Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Carlos Ruiz. The Phils are not looking to give anyone away, but would listen to any team that presents an attractive package. For Lee, it would have to be super-attractive.

The coming 10-game homestand includes seven games against first-place Atlanta and second-place Washington, so it could be a major difference-maker -- positive or negative -- for the Phils.

Amaro said Thursday that he expects to ride his team’s core “down to the wire.” The trade deadline is July 31.

“The reason I say that is because [the races] are still really dicey,” he said. “No one has really stepped out and gone crazy. The Dodgers are playing their butts off now all of a sudden. Now they’re six games back and they’re in it. We’re only seven back.

“We had one streak where we’ve really played well. And we’ve only had a brief period where we’ve had our whole team on the field. We’ll find out. I honestly think it’s going to end up going to July 20 or July 30 or somewhere around then and we’ll decide which direction we’re going to go.

“If we have to do things to improve the team, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are selling or giving up. It may mean we change some areas and improve others.”

MLB Playoffs: Indians reach 1st World Series since 1997

MLB Playoffs: Indians reach 1st World Series since 1997

TORONTO -- For the Cleveland Indians, the script was the same every game -- hope for the best from whoever they started, then count on Andrew Miller and the bullpen to close it out.

That plan seemed especially dicey in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series, with lightly used Ryan Merritt on the mound.

But out of nowhere, the rookie delivered.

Merritt coolly kept the Indians ahead until reinforcements arrived, and Cleveland earned its first trip to the World Series since 1997 by blanking the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 Wednesday.

The 24-year-old lefty defied expectations, shutting down the powerful Blue Jays before exiting in the fifth inning. Thanks to a most unlikely pitching performance, a most unexpected team won the ALCS 4-1.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Terry Francona's team will try to augment what's already been a scintillating year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first major pro sports championship since 1964.

The Indians' title drought dates to 1948. In 1997, they let a one-run lead get away in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 and lost to the Florida Marlins in the 11th.

"We always said if we could do it with this group it would be so special because this is as close to a family feel as you can get in a professional setting. So for that part of it, it is beyond feeling good," Francona said (see full recap).

Cubs' bats come alive to even series
LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and the rest of the Chicago Cubs' bats broke out in a big way.

Rizzo homered and ended a postseason slump with three RBIs, Russell's two-run drive highlighted a four-run fourth that stopped Chicago's 21-inning scoreless streak as the Cubs routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the NL Championship Series at 2-all.

Kenta Maeda is set to pitch for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday against Jon Lester. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he will not start Clayton Kershaw on short rest after the Los Angeles ace threw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Chicago ensured the NLCS will return to Wrigley Field for Game 6 Saturday.

To break out of his prolonged slump, Rizzo used teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I know Szczur's bat has a lot of hits in it," Rizzo said. "I've done it a few times this year, just switching up the bat, switching up the mindset."

Following consecutive shutout losses, the Cubs rapped out 13 hits on an 80-degree (26 degree Celcius) night with the warm Santa Ana winds fluttering the flags in center field.

Rizzo and Russell had three hits each. Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters -- a combined 2 for 32 in the first three games -- busted out. Every Cubs starter got at least one hit except Kris Bryant, who walked twice (see full recap).

For first time all season, Cubs not the World Series favorite

For first time all season, Cubs not the World Series favorite

For the first day, and perhaps the only day all season, the Chicago Cubs are not the World Series favorite.

Down 2-1 to the Dodgers in the NLCS with Game 4 Wednesday night in L.A., the Cubs' World Series odds are now 5/2, according to Bovada.

The Dodgers have the best odds of the final four teams at 7/4. The Indians, up 3-1 on the Blue Jays in the ALCS, are next at 2/1. Toronto is the longshot at 8/1.

Veteran John Lackey starts for the Cubs tonight against 20-year-old rookie Julio Urias. Jon Lester goes for the Cubs Thursday in Game 5; the Dodgers haven't yet named a starter.

In any event, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Joe Blanton are just two wins away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2009. 

Utley is 3 for 24 with eight strikeouts this postseason. 

Ruiz contributed in the NLDS with a pinch-hit two-run homer in Game 3 and a pinch-hit, game-winning RBI single in Game 5.

Blanton, who had a great season as a reliever, has made six appearances in the playoffs and five have been clean. In the other, he allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning as the Dodgers dropped Game 1 to the Cubs.

Phillies fans still keep tabs on former players from their Golden Era and applaud them when they return, but seeing Utley, Chooch and Kentucky Joe in the Fall Classic wearing Dodger blue might be too much for some to take.