What we're watching: Rays vs. Red Sox

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Seattle‘s Brandon Morrow will make his first major league appearance since July 10 when he starts against the Rangers.  The 25-year-old was being used carefully in Triple-A Tacoma, though he did throw a nine-inning shutout on Aug. 14.  In four starts since, he had pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs.  He had a 4.55 ERA in six starts for the Mariners before being sent down.  Texas will start Kevin Millwood, whose 2010 option would vest at $12 million if he throws eight innings tonight.

 

– The Giants have fallen 4 1/2 games behind the still surging Rockies in the wild card, so it’s be a great time for Matt Cain to pick up his first win against the Dodgers as the two teams begin a three-game series.  Cain has a respectable 3.97 ERA versus L.A. in 12 career starts, but that’s resulted in an 0-6 record.  Cain finally prevailed last week against the Brewers to snap a seven-game winless streak.  His opponent in this one will be Hiroki Kuroda, who came off the DL to allow three earned runs over five innings in a loss to the Padres on Sunday.

 

Game of the Night

 

Tampa Bay vs. Boston – In a freefall that started when they lost two out of three to the Red Sox at home, the Rays can only play spoiler now.  Still, they will have that chance this weekend in Boston and in two weeks when they play in Texas.  The Red Sox are currently two games up on the Rangers in the wild card, and they have Jon Lester on the mound tonight.  Tampa Bay will start James Shields, who saw his ERA jump over 4.00 for the first time since April when he gave up six runs last time out against the Tigers.  Lester is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA since the break, and he’s turned in two gems against the Rays during that time.

Rockies acquire Pat Neshek from the Phillies

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The Rockies announced on Wednesday night that the club acquired relief pitcher Pat Neshek from the Phillies in exchange for three minor leaguers: infielder Jose Gomez, pitcher J.D. Hammer, and pitcher Alejandro Requena.

Neshek, 36, made the  National League All-Star roster and currently owns a 1.12 ERA with a 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40 1/3 innings. He’ll help bolster the 58-44 Rockies’ bullpen as they vie for one of the two Wild Card slots realistically, and hope to overcome the Dodgers’ 12-game lead in the NL West.

Gomez, 20, is the Rockies’ No. 21 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He was signed out of Venezuela in July 2013. At Single-A Asheville this season, Gomez hit .324/.374/.437 in 351 plate appearances.

Hammer, 23, was selected by the Rockies in the 24th round of the 2016 draft. Between Asheville and High-A Lancaster this season, the right-hander owns a 2.36 ERA with a 65/14 K/BB r atio over 42 innings of relief.

Requena, 20, was signed as an international free agent by the Rockies in September 2013. With Asheville this season, the right-hander carries a 2.85 ERA with a 97/25 K/BB ratio in 117 innings across 19 starts.

Cameron Rupp, who criticized Odubel Herrera for bat-flipping, flipped his bat on a home run

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Earlier, Craig wrote about the negative reaction within the Phillies’ clubhouse after outfielder Odubel Herrera A) flipped his bat on a fly out, and B) failing to run out a dropped third strike. Manager Pete Mackanin was one of Herrera’s critics, unsurprisingly, but so was catcher Cameron Rupp.

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, Rupp said that the Phillies’ frustration with Herrera is “not a secret.” He said, “Pete is the manager and what he asks us to do, we’re supposed to do. It’s a team thing and one guy can’t just not follow the rules. It’s not the first time. It has happened before and that’s something we don’t want to see. We want him in the game. He’s a good player. It’s hard for us. He’s a grown man. He has to learn on his own. We can only say so much.”

Though Rupp didn’t directly say his criticism of Herrera pertained to bat flips, we can logically deduce it as such. Herrera doesn’t commonly fail to run out dropped third strikes, but he does commonly flip his bat, particularly on non-homers.

Rupp had a good game against the Astros on Wednesday night, blasting a pair of two-run home runs. The problem? Rupp flipped his bat. In a 9-0 game.

The MLB.com video doesn’t really give a chance to see the full extent of Rupp’s flip, so here’s a .gif from Chris Jones:

And just in case anyone feels I’m interpreting the situation through a biased lens, Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence of The Philly Voice also saw it the same way.

We should probably expect Mackanin to bench Rupp for the next two games like he did Herrera, right? What’s that, you say? Certain players were more likely to be criticized for expressing emotion and perceived lack of hustle? Really makes you think.