Homefield advantage and drawn-out NLDS schedule would be huge for the Phillies

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Philadelphia has edged past Atlanta atop the NL East, which means the Phillies also currently have the record in the league. Homefield advantage is always nice, of course, but as Todd Zolecki of MLB.com notes the ability to choose the seven-day or eight-day schedule for the NLDS could be even more beneficial to the Phillies.
By choosing the eight-day NLDS that includes three off days around just five games the Phillies would be able to rely exclusively on their amazing trio of Roy Halladay (2.36 ERA), Roy Oswalt (3.09), and Cole Hamels (3.06) without any starts being made on short rest.
By comparison the seven-day NLDS would force them to either give Joe Blanton and his 5.16 ERA a start or use the Game 1 starter (presumably Halladay) on short rest for Game 4. And if they were to choose Blanton, then Halladay would be lined up to start Game 5 on extra rest because of the extra day off thrown in between.
In any scenario the Phillies’ exceptional Big Three gives them a huge edge throughout the playoffs and capturing homefield advantage is crucial given their 47-28 record in Philadelphia, but the right to also choose their schedule would make things even tougher on their first-round opponents.

Orioles signed Tommy Hunter to a major league contract

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 12:  Pitcher Tommy Hunter #48 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the ninth inning during the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 12, 2016 in Anaheim, California. The Indians defeated the Angels 8-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
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The Orioles announced, prior to Sunday’s game against the Yankees, that the club signed pitcher Tommy Hunter to a major league contract. In related roster moves, the club recalled pitcher Oliver Drake from Triple-A Norfolk and designated pitcher T.J. McFarland and outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment.

The Indians released Hunter on Thursday after he struggled in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. Hunter was recovering from a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. The right-hander put up a respectable 3.74 ERA with a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings for the Indians.

This will be Hunter’s second stint with the Orioles. The O’s had acquired him along with first baseman Chris Davis at the trade deadline from the Rangers in 2011 in the Koji Uehara trade.

The Orioles are only responsible for paying Hunter the prorated major league minimum.

Orioles’ Mark Trumbo becomes the first to 40 home runs this season

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a home run during the eighth inning of a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Orioles DH Mark Trumbo drilled a two-run home run to left-center field off of reliever Ben Heller in the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Yankees. In doing so, he became the first player to reach the 40-homer plateau this season.

Trumbo finished 1-for-4 on the afternoon. Along with the 40 dingers, he’s hitting .257/.317/.541 with 96 RBI. He has already set a career-high in homers and is four RBI away from tying his career high in that regard.

Trumbo is eligible for free agency after the season. Needless to say, his performance in 2016 bodes well for his ability to secure a hefty contract.