Rangers ink Murphy to one-year deal, avoid arbitration

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From MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan comes word that the Rangers have agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million contract with outfielder David Murphy.

It’s a nice chunk of change for the first-year arbitration-eligible outfielder, who made just $420,670 last season while posting an impressive .291/.358/.449 batting line, 12 home runs and 65 RBI across 419 at-bats.

Murphy is expected to serve as a highly active fourth outfielder for the reigning American League champions this year, spelling Josh Hamilton, Julio Borbon and Nelson Cruz on day that those starters need rest.

The 29-year-old Murphy went 5-for-27 with a home run and three RBI during the Rangers’ run to the World Series.  As far as backup outfielders go, he’s about as competent as it gets.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.