Cole Hamels shuts out Reds as Phillies complete sweep

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Yes, Game 2 was in their hands and they lost it, but with the results from Games 1 and 3, it doesn’t seem like the Reds ever really had a chance to win this series.
The Phillies got their second dominant pitching performance in three games, this one from Cole Hamels, in beating Cincinnati 2-0 on Sunday night and completing an NLDS sweep.
Hamels went the distance in this one, something he never did while putting together his dominant five-start run in the 2008 postseason. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel eschewed closer Brad Lidge in the ninth, even after Brandon Phillips singled to lead off the inning, and Hamels was able to finish it up in 119 pitches. He allowed five hits, walked none and struck out nine.
A two-out double from Ramon Hernandez in the seventh was the Reds’ lone extra-base hit. Once again, regular-season stars Joey Votto and Scott Rolen failed to get anything going. As the tying run, Votto grounded into a double play in the ninth to finish the series 1-for-10. Rolen was 1-for-11. Jonny Gomes, who didn’t play in Game 2, went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
The only Reds hitters to produce in the series were Phillips (4-for-12, 1 HR) and Jay Bruce (2-for-8, 1 HR, 2 BB).
With the easy victory, the Phillies will be well set up to take on either the Giants or Braves in a series starting next weekend. They’ll even have the option of setting up Roy Halladay to start Games 1, 4 and 7 if they’d like.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.