Time for a change in the Phillies bullpen?

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He did it again. Brad Lidge blew his
major-league leading 10th save on Saturday night against the Astros,
giving up a walk-off single to Kaz Matsui in a 5-4 defeat.




As Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse pointed out,
his 10 blown saves are the most in the majors since 2006 when Ambiorix
Burgos had 12, Francisco Cordero and Huston Street had 11 and Jason
Isringhausen had 10. As for this season, the closest is J.P. Howell
with eight.




Now 0-7 with a 7.15 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in 57 appearances, it sounds like manager Charlie Manuel is starting to lose patience with his struggling closer:

“What do I think of [Lidge’s blown save]? I think it’s baseball. I think that’s what you call command. I think that’s what
you call being able to throw the ball over the plate and put it where
you want it. I think it’s staying focused on what you’re doing — executing your pitches.”

Sure, the Phillies are waltzing
their way to another division title, but they can’t possibly count on
someone with a 7.15 ERA to lock down important outs in the post-season.
Enter Brett Myers?




Remember, Myers went 21-for-24 in
save opportunities while compiling a 2.87 ERA and 64/18 K/BB ratio out
of the closer role for the Phillies in 2007. Coincidentally, he tossed
a scoreless inning of relief against the Astros on Saturday night, his
first appearance since returning from hip surgery.




Though the scrutiny is sure to increase as the playoffs approach, Myers is saying all the right things:



“I’m just back there to help. I’m not there to take
anyone’s job.”




While that may be true, Lidge isn’t doing much to keep his.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.