Lee the story as Phils produce a laugher

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Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino homered and Ryan Howard extended his streak of postseason games with an RBI to a record seven, but Sunday night was all about Cliff Lee. The left-hander pitched eight shutout innings and struck out 10 in the Phillies’ 11-0 victory.
This one was over quickly, as the Phillies scored four times on Howard’s triple and Werth’s homer in the first and added two more in the second. The Dodgers never collected an extra-base hit in the contest. They never had multiple runners on base at the same time. In short, it was a dominant performance for Lee, who even singled and scored on Victorino’s homer in the eighth.
Lee improved to 2-0 with a 0.74 ERA in three postseason starts. He’d likely be 3-0 if not for Dexter Fowler’s leap in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the NLDS. He appeared all set to go for the shutout tonight, but after he ran the bases in the eighth and the Phillies added three more runs, the team took the prudent course and lifted him from the rout.
It’s been a spectacular run for the left-hander, who wasn’t good enough to make the Indians’ postseason roster two years ago. Even though he was healthy enough to pitch, the Indians opted to pick Aaron Laffey over him in 2007 after he went 4-8 with a 6.29 ERA in 16 starts and four relief appearances that season.
Now Lee stands as the ace of the postseason to date, and the Dodgers won’t be very optimistic if they head back to L.A. down 3-2 knowing they’ll be facing him and Pedro Martinez again. The Phillies, on the other hand, have a chance to take the series without being forced to turn back to Lee. They’ll throw Joe Blanton in Monday’s Game 4. The Dodgers will turn to former Phillie Randy Wolf, their Game 1 starter in the NLDS.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 02:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
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White Sox ace Chris Sale will return after serving his team-issued five-game suspension. He’ll take on the Cub’s John Lackey in an 8:05 PM EDT start at Wrigley Field.

The lefty protested wearing throwback uniforms, which featured collars, this past weekend. He reportedly got into a shouting match with White Sox coaches and front office staff, and took a knife to his uniform as well as those of his teammates. GM Rick Hahn punished Sale for three offenses: violating team rules, insubordination, and destroying team equipment.

Sale apologized to fans as well as to the bullpen, which had to pick him up when he was scratched from Saturday’s start. But he didn’t apologize for standing up for what he believed in.

This isn’t Sale’s first conflict with the White Sox organization. He was part of the spring training Drake LaRoche controversy. He also was part of the club’s recent protest against the Mariners’ policy that siphoned money from clubhouse attendants. As a result of what appears to be a contentious relationship between Sale and the White Sox, many think the club will trade him if they get an enticing offer. Pitchers like Sale, however, are tough to find, and he could be under team control through 2019 if the White Sox pick up his ’18 and ’19 club options.

Sale enters Thursday’s start leading the majors with 14 wins as well as a 3.18 ERA and a 129/29 K/BB ratio in 133 innings. Could it be his last start as a member of the White Sox?

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson), 7:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (David Price) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark) @ San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto), 10:15 PM EDT

Report: The Diamondbacks are on the verge of trading Daniel Hudson

Daniel Hudson
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks are close to trading Daniel Hudson. It’s not yet known who the trading partner would be, but obviously a number of teams are in the market for bullpen help.

Trading Hudson seemed like a good idea for a while, but he’s been on a terrible skid lately, with his ERA exploding by nearly three full runs in the past month. It now stands at 6.08, with Hudson having given up 22 earned runs in 16 and a third innings in June and July. The bad stretch has appeared to result in some frustration for Hudson. The other day he took to Twitter to describe his recent performance, calling the last month “brutal” and “absolutely awful.” He said this has “been one of the most frustrating stretch of games I’ve ever experienced in my life.” Then he deactivated his Twitter account.

Despite his recent struggles, and despite his checkered injury history, Hudson has been durable the past two seasons, pitching in 64 games last year and 42 so far this season. If this stretch is just that, a temporary skid, Hudson could help someone.