Andy LaRoche's ridiculous day

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If only he could always play against his old team, LaRoche really would be the star many thought he’d become. The 26-year-old third baseman went 5-for-5 with two homers, two doubles and six RBI in Monday’s rout of the Dodgers. That made him 14-for-29 against the Dodgers this season. His slash line is .483/.516/.931, compared to .259/.333/.403 overall.
LaRoche’s performance this month and in the four-game series win over the Dodgers in particular won’t change the fact that he’s been a disappointment in his first full season as a regular, but it likely will lock up a starting job for him in 2010. He’s hit .338 and launched five of his 12 homers during September.
Beyond the first couple of months of next year, it’s hard to tell what’s in store. The Pirates’ former top position prospect and current top prospect are both third baseman. Neil Walker, though, needed a strong finish just to end this year with a modest .264/.311/.480 line as a 23-year-old in Triple-A, and Pedro Alvarez seems increasingly likely to end up at first base.
LaRoche looked like a future 30-homer guy in the low minors, but injuries sapped his power potential. Almost as disappointing is that his on-base skills haven’t come along. LaRoche posted OBPs of .410, .399 and .445 in his final three minor league seasons. He was often aided by kind offensive environments, but his patience and his ability to hit line-drive singles and doubles figured to make him a quality major leaguer. Instead, he’s really only been adequate against left-handed pitchers so far. Fortunately, two-homer, two-double games do have a way of changing numbers in a hurry.

Pete Mackanin doesn’t see the point in playing Tyler Goeddel

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 20: Tyler Goeddel #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a two-run home run in the first inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on July 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Phillies outfielder Tyler Goeddel was included in Wednesday’s starting lineup against the Nationals. It’s notable because it’s only his eighth start in August. The Phillies selected Goeddel from the Rays in the Rule 5 draft during the winter, which means the club has had to keep him on its 25-man roster all season. If the club didn’t, it would have had to offer Goddel back to the Rays.

Goeddel is by no means a top prospect, but the Phillies deemed him worthy enough of taking a year-long 25-man roster spot, which are quite valuable. And the rebuilding Phillies aren’t exactly fighting for a playoff spot, so why not play him?

As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, manager Pete Mackanin asked, “What’s the point?” in regards to starting Goeddel. Mackanin said, “I’ve seen enough of Goeddel to know. We’ve kept him this long and we’re going to keep him and we’ll see where we go next year with him. I don’t see a need to play him, especially after he hasn’t played so much.”

That seems like circular logic. You don’t see a need to play him because he hasn’t played much. Well, maybe if you played him more often, you’d see a reason?

In fairness, Goeddel hasn’t exactly torn the cover off the ball, putting up a .191/.250/.296 triple-slash line in 217 plate appearances. But the Phillies have chosen to play utilityman Cody Asche and journeyman Jimmy Paredes (“an extra player,” according to Mackanin), who both don’t figure to be in the Phillies’ future plans. Goeddel is only 23 years old. In May, when he was starting regularly, he posted a .794 OPS.

This isn’t a roster blunder on the Ruben Amaro, Jr. scale, but it’s a very odd way to handle a Rule-5 player for a rebuilding team.

Shelby Miller’s first start back in the majors wasn’t a disaster

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 31:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the second inning at AT&T Park on August 31, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller returned to the majors on Wednesday after a stint of about a month and a half in the minor leagues. The right-hander had compiled an ugly 2-9 record and a 7.14 ERA over 14 big league starts along with a finger injury and the minor league demotion.

On Wednesday afternoon against the Giants at AT&T Park, Miller still got the loss, but he gave up only two runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts in three innings. It’s the fifth time in 15 starts he gave up two or fewer runs. Opposing starter Matt Moore, who nearly authored a no-hitter his last time out, was just a little bit better, limiting the D-Backs’ offense to a lone run in 5 1/3 innings. The Giants ultimately won 4-2.

You may recall Miller was part of the trade that forced the Diamondbacks to send Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair, and 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson to the Braves. It’s a trade that chief baseball officer Tony La Russa defended as recently as last week.