On the heels of a four game sweep by the Houston Astros, the Phillies are out west this evening facing the San Diego Padres. Not exactly the team you want to be facing right now when you're trying to end a losing skid. The Padres are actually ranked as the best team in all of baseball right now according to Sports Illustrated's Power Rankings.
The intro to the rankings is entirely about just how good the Padres pitching has been of late. Sounds exactly like what the Phillies bats need right now.
Since Aug. 8, the Padres have won 13 of 16 games, and the starting pitcher has earned the win in each of those victories. Twice in that stretch San Diego has gone on five-game winning streaks with each member of the rotation picking up a victory in succession.
The 22-year-old Latos (who the Phillies will face tonight) is having the best season of the quintet, going 13-5 with a 2.33 ERA, but he will have his innings limited down the stretch. Naturally, the Padres may have an overqualified spot starter to spell him in September, as former All-Star Chris Young could be ready to return from injury in the season's final month.
Now, as we all know, rankings don't really mean anything when it comes time to actually play a game. The Astros are afterall ranked 21st in all of baseball and just swept the Phillies in four at CBP.
For those wondering about the Fightins, they fell from the 6th to 10th spot in the rankings after their pitiful week.
A bit unrelated: I was having a discussion with longtime friend of the Level, Scott R., who predicted after the second loss to the Astros that they'd go on to get swept by Houston, only to go out to San Diego to do some sweeping of their own.
It'd be nice if one of his predictions came true for once.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have signed former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn to a two-year contract.
The 26-year-old defenseman had four goals and 12 assists in 72 games with the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings last season. Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier were traded by the Flyers to the Kings last January in exchange for Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick in last month's entry draft.
In his career, Schenn has 28 goals and 100 assists in 566 games with the Kings, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. In three-plus seasons with the Flyers, Schenn scored 12 goals and added 30 assists.
Schenn was the first-round draft pick - fifth selection overall - by the Maple Leafs in 2008.
Coyotes general manager John Chayka called Schenn "a good, young defenseman" who will be "a solid addition" to the Arizona blue line.
- CSNPhilly.com contributed to this story.
Updated - 5:55 p.m.
PITTSBURGH -- Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp left the game in the third inning after being struck on the left ear flap of his batting helmet by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow.
Rupp walked off the field under his own power and backup catcher Carlos Ruiz pinch ran for him and stayed in the game to catch starter Aaron Nola.
The Phillies later announced Rupp was removed from the game as a precaution and that he showed no symptoms of a concussion.
Less than 24 hours before, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was hit in the wrist by a pitch thrown by Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in Friday's 4-0 victory at PNC Park. Franco left the game and did not start on Saturday afternoon. He's listed as day to day (see story).
In the first inning on Saturday, Rupp hit into an inning-ending ground out. He is hitting .276 with 10 home runs in 63 games.
PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).
Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).
“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).
Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.
Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.
“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”