Braves beat Halladay, finish sweep of Phillies

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So much for that big Phillies surge.

Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones homered off Roy Halladay on Sunday as the Braves beat the Phillies 6-2 to complete a big three-game sweep.

The Braves won their fifth straight behind Tim Hudson, who moved to 10-4 in the year. Apart from his Tommy John surgery year in 2009, he’s won at least 10 games all 13 years of his career.

Halladay turned in his first Quality Start in three outings since returning from the disabled list, allowing three runs in six innings, yet he dropped to 4-6 on the season. His first of seven strikeouts on the day was the 2,000th of his career.

Chipper’s homer off Halladay was his 10th of the year, getting him to that mark for the 18th time in his career. Only 16 players have done it more often. At 18, Jones is tied with Andre Dawson, Dwight Evans, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Gary Sheffield, Willie Stargell and Ted Williams on the all-time list.

Jones’ homer was also his 1,042 extra-base hit, moving him past Pete Rose into second-place all-time for switch-hitters. Only Eddie Murray at 1,099 has more.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.