So, what are the Phillies going to do against the Braves this weekend?


I love it when people try to make me feel better. Here’s a tweet, sent in my direction from a chap named @Evolution33:

Karma dictates that if the Phillies rest and let the Braves into the playoffs they will pay with a NLCS loss to the Braves.

don’t believe in magic, I-ching, Buddha, mantra, Gita, yoga, kings,
Elvis, Zimmerman, Beatles, Yoko or me, but I’d like to think that there
is some force in the universe that will make that happen.

stuff aside, Charlie Manuel does have some interesting decisions on his
plate as the Phillies face the Braves this weekend. The Phillies have
nothing to play for, really. They have the home field advantage. They
really just need to stay healthy and make sure their pitchers are
rested/sharp for the playoffs.  That rested/sharp balance is where the
interestingness comes in.

Kyle Kendrick gets the start tonight
because it’s his turn. Manuel has also said that Cole Hamels will get
some work this weekend, though maybe not a regular, full-blown start. 
The speculation is that will be Saturday, with Sunday being a festival
of relief pitchers.

My nightmare is that Oswalt and/or Halladay
come to Charlie and say that they really need 40 pitches or something in
order to be sharp for the NLDS, Charlie says OK, and Saturday and
Sunday have the Braves facing all three of the Phillies’ big starters in
two games.  The chances of this are very small, of course — Halladay
will almost certainly take the weekend off — but these are the sorts of
things that cause me to pour doubles when a single is all I really

Ah, it doesn’t matter I guess. The Padres are gonna lose at
least two games to the Giants this weekend and render it all academic.
Right?  Anyone?

[please hold me]

David Ortiz and Kris Bryant win 2016 Hank Aaron Awards

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  (L-R) Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer 2016 Hank Aaron, Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred and David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox pose during the Hank Aaron Award ceremony prior to Game Two of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.

Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.

Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.

Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.

Alex Rodriguez is taking his analyst role quite seriously

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees answers question in a press conference after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.

Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”

Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”

Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.