Phillies brave the cold, benefit from another blown call, to take a 2-1 lead

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The game story calls Brad Lidge’s save “sweet redemption” but it’s not like it was a shutdown affair. He had shaky control and put two runners on before sealing the deal.  That’s good — certainly better than he had been doing — but let’s not go pretending it’s 2008 again yet, OK?

And what would a 2009 postseason game be without yet another blown call? Because a lot of you
were probably asleep for it, here’s how it went down: Ninth inning,
game tied, Rollins singles, moves to second on a Victorino sacrifice,
moves to third on Chase Utley’s infield hit, and then scores the
winning run on a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly. Except Utley’s hit
shouldn’t have been a hit, because it bounced up and hit him on the leg
in the batter’s box. Home plate umpire Jerry Meals didn’t call the ball
dead. Meals admitted after the game that he blew it, blaming a tough
angle — which is true — and the fact that Utley didn’t react: “Chase
Utley took off like it was nothing,” Meals added. “He gave no
indication to us that it hit him. Whatever percent of the time, you’re
going to get a guy that’s going to stop if it hits him.” I guess
“whatever percent of the time” criminals turn themselves in for their
crimes too, but I don’t think we should base law enforcement strategy
on it.

All of that stuff aside, I’m kind of pulling for the Phillies in this series because (a) they’re
a more interesting team to watch than the Rockies in my personal opinion; and (b) I really don’t want to see
more winter ball like we’ve had in Colorado over the weekend. That said, if the Phillies take care of business
today, we’ll have two nights with no baseball, which is a bad thing.

So let’s go Rockies
today, and let’s go Phillies tomorrow!

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.