Obama to throw out first pitch in Washington

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President Barack Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Nationals-Phillies game on Opening Day in Washington and commissioner Bud Selig will also be in attendance at Nationals Park.
Obama probably won’t be wearing Nationals gear, however, because he previously threw out the first pitch to catcher Albert Pujols at last season’s All-Star game in St. Louis while wearing a White Sox jacket. This time he’ll be throwing to Ivan Rodriguez.
Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com notes that “it will be the 48th time the president has thrown out the first pitch on Opening Day in Washington and it comes 100 years after President Taft started the tradition on April 14, 1910.”
In far less positive “guys who take the mound in Washington” news, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Livan Hernandez will be the Nationals’ fourth starter. Hernandez signed a minor-league contract last month that pays $900,000 if he makes the team, but he’s 35 years old and has ERAs of 5.44, 6.04, 4.93, and 4.83 during the past four seasons.
The Nationals might be better off just sticking POTUS in the rotation.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.