When Lance Berkman was traded to the Yankees there were some who thought that the country boy from that little Texas town (note: Houston is the 4th largest city in America) would have a hard time adjusting. On the diamond that certainly has been the case in his first few games: he was two for his first 22 since coming over. And he was booed pretty heartily over the weekend. But Berkman is a pro and he answered questions about it in the only way you can without drawing more criticism from the New York fans and press:
“I have no credibility here. I’ve done nothing. You
have to earn the respect of the fans and you’re not going to do it by
not hitting. The only thing you’re going to have to earn is their ire. This is a big boy’s game and place to play, and if you can’t handle a little bit of that then just go home and hang it up.”
And just like that he went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI last night.
No cause or effect here. It just is what it is. I’m a pretty big Lance Berkman fan so I’m just happy to see that he’s (a) taking what has to be a pretty strange situation for him in stride; and (b) may just be breaking out of his funk at the plate.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.