The Phillies offensive slump has been unkind to the entire lineup, but the heart of the order has been particularly bad over this recent stretch. Jayson Werth didn't play in Monday's loss and and Charlie Manuel may have seen something in Werth's swing. "I think Werth needs a break. He needs to think about some things. We'll go to the cage and
work on his swing and stuff," Manuel said,
So today, according the Inquirer's Matt Gelb, Charlie did just that and spent some time in the cage one-on-one with Jayson Werth. Will a little cage work with Cholly help solve some of the Phils' problems at the plate? We'll get to see tonight as Werth is back in the lineup batting fifth.
If Werth puts up a doughnut or another golden sombrero tonight, I think it's time we start suggesting other activities besides cage work that the Phillies can do with Charlie to try and get out of their funk. Perhaps a little one-on-one bass fishing with Uncle Charlie or some one-on-one cooking lessons. Or maybe they can combine those two ideas, catch some bass, and then cook them up?
Or maybe they should just get Ryan Howard a whole chicken to sacrifice. Who knows at this point.
Cole Hamels (5-3, 3.82) takes on Tim Hudson (5-1, 2.24). The sure-handed left side of the infield of Wilson Valdez and Juan
Castro will bat second and seventh respectively.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 from Atlanta.
The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on a deal with outfielder Michael Saunders, according to a source.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the deal was close early Monday afternoon.
When the medical reviews and other loose ends are complete, Saunders will end up with a one-year contract for 2017. It is believed that there will be an option for 2018.
Saunders, 30, will give the Phils the left-handed bat they’ve been looking for in the outfield. Saunders is likely to play right field and his addition will likely push Roman Quinn back to Triple A, where he will get more seasoning.
Saunders is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors. He played in a career-high 140 games with Toronto in 2016 and made the American League All-Star team on the strength of a first half in which he hit .298 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He fell off in the second half and hit just .178 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and a .638 OPS. Saunders finished the season at .253/24/57/.815.
With less than a month to go before spring training, the Phillies are likely done with their significant offseason moves. The offseason began with trades for reliever Pat Neshek and outfielder Howie Kendrick. Later in the winter, the club traded for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. Now Saunders is on his way.
It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP poll.
A week, to be exact.
The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.
In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advatange: Wildcats.
UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.
Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.
Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.
Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.
The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.