HBT Weekend Wrapup

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  • Things like the A-Rod and Torre drama is the reason why, instead of watching the Yankees-Dodgers game last night, I watched “L.A. Confidential” for the 45th time instead. Have you a valediction, boyo?
  • Brandon Phillips was arrested for reckless driving. I’m not one to rake muck or anything, but in Ohio reckless driving that involves speed alone — as Phillips’ apparently did — is quite often a ticketing offense, not an arresting offense. Usually the cops only take you in for it if they suspect booze or if you caused an accident or if there is some other reason to suspect that you pose a danger to anyone.  None of that appears to be the case with Phillips.  Things that make you go hmmm.
  • Jason Heyward has a sore thumb, which probably explains the express train to blah he’s been on the past few weeks. You got the gig, kid, don’t be a hero. Take some time off.
  • The ump in the Tigers-Braves game admitted he blew the strike call that ended Friday’s game.  Second sighting of the “I kicked that call” construction this year. I had never heard that before Joyce said it, and here it is again. Since then I’ve been using it around the house (i.e. “I kicked the s— out of that omelet this morning,” etc.) I bet I’m not alone.

Buster Olney ends each of his daily columns by saying “and today will be better than yesterday.” I admire his optimism, but I’m gonna level with you: each of you reading these words are one day closer to your death today than than you were yesterday. All your loved ones and pets and stuff too.  Sorry to be a downer like that, but if I can be honest with you on that score, you know I ain’t bull s——- you on the baseball stuff.  In other news, Buster Olney gets invited to a lot more parties than I do.

Now let’s go out there and avoid kicking the s— out of this week!

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.

There was apparently some miscommunication between Pete Mackanin and Pat Neshek

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The Phillies won their first game since last Thursday, beating the Cardinals 5-1 on Thursday afternoon. Starter Aaron Nola pitched into the eighth inning, but left with one out. Pat Neshek took the mound with a runner on first base and induced an inning-ending double play on a 3-1 count to Tommy Pham.

Given that Neshek only threw five pitches and the Phillies were staked to a four-run lead, it wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable if the sidewinding right-hander came back out to finish the ninth inning as well. But Luis Garcia had that honor, tossing a scoreless final frame to nail down the win in a non-save situation.

After the game, manager Pete Mackanin said he asked Neshek to go back out for the ninth, but Neshek didn’t want to, per Stephen Gross of the Morning Call. Neshek told the media that Mackanin never asked him. There was also a miscommunication on Wednesday. The combination of Joaquin Benoit, Hector Neris, and Edubray Ramos combined to allow four runs in 2 1/3 innings, helping the Phillies lose 7-6. Neshek never appeared. According to Mackanin, Neshek told him that he wasn’t available to pitch. Neshek said he was told he’d have the day off.

The disconnect between Mackanin and Neshek could speak to a larger divide between the manager and his failing team. The Phillies have underwhelmed across the board due to players like Odubel Herrera (whose head was down and did not see Juan Samuel’s stop sign last night in what became a base running blunder), Maikel Franco, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola (today’s start notwithstanding), and Hector Neris not living up to expectations. The Phillies signed Mackanin to a contract extension last month, but the team has completely fallen apart since then and the latest communications issues certainly don’t reflect well on him. Neither does last night’s travesty of a game.

As for Neshek, he said that going to the Phillies was “the best thing that happened to me in a few years” but also realized, given the state of the team, that it remains very likely he winds up in a new uniform by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After Thursday’s performance, Neshek is carrying a 0.63 ERA with a 25/4 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings. He very well could be the Phillies’ lone representative at the All-Star Game in Miami next month. That is, if he’s still wearing their uniform. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals have shown interest in Neshek.