The Phillies Win in a Throwback

The Phillies Win in a Throwback

Cole Hamels was a throwback to May, the last time he picked up a win, or held a team to fewer than four runs in an outing. John Mayberry was a throwback to the second half of last year, slamming his fourth dinger over the last five games. Jimmy Rollins was a throwback to... well he was just a throwback, period.

J-Roll reached base on all four plate appearances, scored three runs, and made several sound plays at shortstop in leading the Phils to a 7-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Hamels surrendered a quick run in the first, but save for a slight hiccup in the sixth, he otherwise quieted Colorado bats. It was Cole's 10th win of the season, and a performance the Phillies had to be relieved to see. Between injuries, bad luck, and flat out disappointment, their rotation has been front in center in the mess that is this season for the past month or so.

Meanwhile, Mayberry was 2-for-4, and is teasing another hot streak -- he's 8 for his last 19 (.421), with four runs and 10 RBI. Rollins was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, while Carlos Ruiz also brought the thunder with a 2-for-4 night, knocking in two of his three RBI on a line drive that left the yard like a bolt of lightning. Chooch raised his season average to .358.

To be fair, the Rockies might not win another game all year. They've dropped to 25-41 for the season, and as we mentioned in Inside the Standings, their pitching staff owns the worst ERA in baseball. Plus, what we learned on Tuesday night is they just began experimenting with a screwy four-man rotation, where the starter is relieved after 75 pitches or so no matter what. Honestly, I haven't figured out what this attempts to remedy, because it's not like that bullpen has been much better.

But I digress. This is an awful club in town, with their best hitter out of the lineup no less. Nothing to get too excited about here.

Yet the turnaround has to start somewhere, if it's to happen at all, and kicking off a 12-game homestand with a win feels as good a place as any. Even some of us looking at the glass half empty are waiting for the Phillies to pull the rip-cord and take off, because it's sort of what we've come to expect in recent years.

Still, for being a "bad" team right now, the Fightins don't seem to have too much trouble beating up on other inferior squads, raising their record to 15-7 against sub-.500 teams in 2012.

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

After an 0-for-5 day at the plate, Odubel Herrera isn't heading to the bench a day later.

He's leading off. 

Pete Mackanin chose to move the slumping centerfielder atop the lineup card for Friday's series opener against the Reds despite Herrera's striking out in all five plate appearances Thursday.

"I think he's a .290-plus hitter as a leadoff man and I'm not going to sit him," Mackanin said pregame. "He needs to battle his way out. You figure you're the leadoff hitter once a game. After that, it's wide open."

While he hasn't batted leadoff this season, Herrera spent the majority of his time in that spot last season. In 76 games there, he batted .285 with a .359 OBP and .417 slugging percentage. 

The leadoff hitter this season has been Cesar Hernandez, who has a day off with a groin pull he's dealt with the last 10 days. Herrera primarily has been the No. 3 hitter this season and his average is down to .226 with 49 strikeouts to just 11 walks. 

Mackanin hopes the leadoff role can help change Herrera's approach at the plate.

"He was drawing a lot of walks at leadoff, so whether he has that mindset or not, I'm not sure," the manager said. "I just want to get him as many at-bats as possible. We need to get him going. We need him and [Maikel] Franco to get going."

May specifically has been tough on Herrera. He has four hits in his last 36 at-bats and has seven strikeouts in his last two games. He has just seven hits in 22 games this month. 

"I think he's at the point where he's grinding and sometimes when you grind, sometimes there's that feeling where you get lost," Mackanin said. "I've been in situations as a hitter where I've gone up to the plate saying, 'I don't care where it is. I'm going up there and just hacking.' Because you start thinking and that's not working.

"And you look for a pitch and then all of a sudden you say I'm going to take a pitch to get a look at and it's strike one. Then he throws you a nasty slider and that's strike two and your plan is out the window. So I've gone up to the plate myself saying, 'I'm just looking down the middle and swinging. I'm not thinking.'"

When asked, Mackanin said the team had not discussed demoting Herrera or Franco to the minors to take pressure off the duo.

While Herrera tries to hit his way back into a groove, Howie Kendrick is in the midst of working his way back to the majors. He was hit by pitch twice in a rehab appearance Thursday but is back in the lineup Friday in left field. 

Mackanin said Kendrick needed four days minimum in his rehab assignment and will therefore play Friday and Saturday before the team sees how he feels.

The manager also said the team would give more playing time to backup catcher Andrew Knapp. He started consecutive games for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"I'm going to try and see him as much as possible and keep him as sharp as possible instead of once a week," Mackanin said. "That's tough to hit, once a week. It's tough to hit twice a week if you don't hit back-to-back. There's no ulterior motive."

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

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Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.