The Braves beat the Phillies 2-1 this afternoon behind a stellar outing from Derek Lowe and some timely hitting from Omar Infante, who was subbing for a banged up Chipper Jones. Lowe gave up one run on six hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts. He was helped by a couple of timely double plays and, as I mentioned earlier today, a little bit of luck too.
Kyle Kendrick was nearly as good, giving up one run in seven innings. Jose Contreras showed that he is mortal, however, walking two (one intentionally) and giving up a two-out RBI single to Omar Infante to drive home the winning run. Or maybe he’s just mortal against the Braves.
The Braves have won eight straight and now have a 2.5 game lead in the NL East as they hop a plane for the west coast. The Phillies have lost nine of their last 11 and have scored a mere 14 runs in those games. I suppose there are worse plans than asking Roy Halladay to throw perfect games every time out, but the Phillies need a better one, and fast.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.