Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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Ben Sheets continued his surprising resurgence last night against the Phillies, allowing just one run over six innings as part of a 6-1 win.

Sheets scattered six hits while striking out four and walking just one. He gave up his first earned run of the season on an RBI double by Shane Victorino in the first inning, but held the Phillies off the board the rest of the way.

Cole Hamels really struggled in his first start since signing his six-year, $144 million extension, giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits and six walks over five innings. It was his shortest outing of the season while his six walks were a career-high. He obviously can’t handle the pressure of his big money contract. Or maybe baseball is just weird like that.

As for Sheets, he’s now 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 15/5 K/BB ratio in 18 innings across his first three starts with the Braves. The Braves’ rotation would look better with Ryan Dempster in it, but Sheets’ recent emergence softens the blow a little. Now, if only he can stay healthy from here.

Your Friday box scores:

Cardinals 9, Cubs 6

Athletics 14, Orioles 9

Padres 7, Marlins 2

Red Sox 3, Yankees 10

Tigers 3, Blue Jays 8

Pirates 6, Astros 5

White Sox 9, Rangers 5

Nationals 0, Brewers 6

Indians 0, Twins 11

Reds 3, Rockies 0

Rays 1, Angels 3

Mets 5, Diamondbacks 11

Royals 1, Mariners 6

Dodgers 5, Giants 3 (10 innings)

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.