Unfazed by trade talk, Young powers Phils to win


Unfazed by trade talk, Young powers Phils to win


To some, the trade deadline can be a distraction.
Not to Michael Young.
“I’ve been doing this since I was four,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be glad when it’s over. But I get peace of mind when I’m playing.”
Young, playing amidst a torrent of trade speculation, kept his eye on the ball, literally and figuratively, Tuesday night. His two-run home run in the sixth inning helped key a 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).
The win, of course, snapped an eight-game losing streak that caused clubhouse dissension and turned the Phillies into deadline sellers. All eight losses came on a road trip that concluded Sunday.
“It’s nice to get back in front of the home crowd,” Young said. “I don’t think they held that road trip against us too much. There’s no way around it. We needed a win and it’s nice we got one.”
Carlos Ruiz also smacked a two-run homer, his first of the season. Like Young, he is a candidate to be moved before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon are also trade possibilities. Lee is a long shot to go because the Phils are asking for multiples of top prospects and a vital organ. Papelbon is a long shot to go because of poor recent performance and a high salary.
“I wouldn’t call the trade deadline a distraction,” Young said. “The bad part is we lost games to put us in this position. I’ve been on both sides of it. It’s nicer when you’re going to add.”
Though there are hurdles, Young is the most likely Phillie to be traded (see story).
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “But I do know if something happens the Phillies will give me a call.”
The call would be a necessary precursor to a deal because Young has a full no-trade clause.
Manager Charlie Manuel has seen his team melt in the days before the trade deadline. He’ll be glad when it’s over.
“It has been a distraction,” Manuel said. “Very much a distraction. There’s been a lot of talk about it and that plays a part with how guys think and everything. I’ll be glad when it’s over.”
A crowd of 36,492 showed up.
“Being home helped,” Manuel said. “The atmosphere helped. Losing eight in a row … that’s a pretty good losing streak.”
The Phils’ previous six games (all losses) had been against first-place clubs. The Giants, who won the World Series last year, were easier opponents than St. Louis or Detroit. The Giants entered the game having lost 22 of their previous 30 games to fall into last place in the NL West.
Giants starter Barry Zito allowed four hits and five runs in 3 1/3 innings. He is 0-7 with a 9.97 ERA in nine road starts this season.
Meanwhile, Phillies starter John Lannan had what Manuel called “a John Lannan game.” The left-hander went seven innings and allowed three runs.
“He took us to a good place in the game,” Manuel said.
Antonio Bastardo and Justin De Fratus took the Phils the rest of the way.
Cody Asche made his big-league debut as a pinch-hitter and popped out.
Domonic Brown remains on the disabled list with concussion symptoms and could be out another week, Manuel said.
Despite being six games under .500 and 11½ games out in the NL East, Manuel presses on.
“We’ll come out and try to win tomorrow and see if we can’t get something going,” he said.

Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning recovering from stroke

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Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning recovering from stroke

National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and Phillies great Jim Bunning is recovering from a stroke, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bunning, who suffered the stroke Tuesday night in his Southgate, Kentucky, home, was moved from intensive care to a transitional care unit on Thursday night, per the report.

Bunning "has been provided skilled care that is leading him on the road to recovery," the family said in a statement Friday.

"The Bunning family wants to thank the first responders and medical personnel who have been treating dad," the statement said. "We sincerely appreciate the thoughts and prayers of all who are concerned about our father’s health. However, so we can focus our efforts on dad’s recovery, we ask the press to respect our family’s privacy at this time. We will let everyone know as his health continues to improve."

The 84-year old is one of two Phillies pitchers to toss a perfect game in the organization’s history. He accomplished the feat on Father’s Day in 1964.

Along with the Phillies, Bunning played for the Tigers, Pirates and Dodgers in his 17-year career. The righthander, who was enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1984, won 89 games and posted a 2.93 ERA in six seasons in Philadelphia. 

After his baseball days, Bunning started a career in politics. He served stints in Congress and the U.S. Senate before retiring in 2010.

MLB playoffs: Cubs advance to first World Series since 1945

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MLB playoffs: Cubs advance to first World Series since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton Kershaw, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.

Lineup shuffle
Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.

Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.