Yeah, Shaun Marcum was awful, but let’s not kill Ron Roenicke for it

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My first impulse after Shaun Marcum’s Game 2 four inning, five run performance was that he shouldn’t be allowed to start another playoff game this year.  Then, after thinking it over and looking up and down that Brewers roster, I came around to Ron Roenicke’s way of thinking: who the hell else could he pitch if not Marcum?

The answer that most people came back with was Chris Narveson, who had an ERA nearly a full run higher than Marcum’s in the regular season, walked more guys and allowed more hits than Marcum did.  Sure, Marcum has been pitching terribly and it didn’t seem like a good bet that he’d turn it around, but Narveson hadn’t been getting anyone out in the postseason either.  When left with two unpalatable choices, don’t you go with the guy who, if he remembers who he is, is capable of pitching the better game?

That’s what Roenicke did anyway, and it obviously didn’t work.  Marcum got destroyed and the game was all but over before it began.  But let’s not lose sight of the fact that after Marcum’s four-run, one-inning performance, Narveson came in and have up five runs in an inning and two-thirds.

So yes, you can be angry at the fact that Roenicke started Marcum if you’d like, but please, tell us all what the better course would have been.

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.