Morgan Ensberg on Manny: “You are a fake and a cheat”

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Former MLB infielder Morgan Ensberg, who played against Manny Ramirez several times, is not happy with the way the slugger cheated the game and then retired before accepting a 100-game suspension:

How could you?  You coward!  You are a fake and a cheat and now you want to retire?  No way!  You get back out there and you take the pain.  You stand in front of the cameras and tell us that you are a fake.  Tell us that you only care about money.

Ensberg backs away from those initial comments a bit in this stream-of-consciousness post on his personal blog, but the words are pretty strong throughout and far more scathing than some of the reaction we’ve heard from different players and managers still in the league. It’s a worthwhile read for baseball fans seeking an opinionated player’s true perspective. Ensberg ends with this:

“When my kids ask me about baseball and the Steroid Era, I will look at them and say, ‘You know you don’t have to cheat to make it in life. All you have to do is try as hard as you can.'”

Ensberg had 574 hits and 110 homers over the course of an eight-year career. He retired at the age of 32.

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.