Red-hot Phillies beat Marlins to get back to .500

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Jimmy Rollins, Juan Pierre and Chase Utley combined to go 8-for-10 with five RBI and four walks from the first three spots in the order as the Phillies beat the Marlins 9-7 on Tuesday to claw their way back to .500 at 71-71.

The Phillies last saw .500 on June 4. They’ve won 14 of their last 18 games to even up their record.

Philadelphia won tonight even though Roy Halladay surrendered five runs in 6 1/3 innings. The team has won each of his last five starts, even though he’s turned in quality starts just twice in that span.

Halladay was 6-7 with a 3.80 ERA on Aug. 15. He’s now 10-7 with a 4.01 ERA.

The Phillies have made their run minus both Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino after trading them to NL West contenders prior to the July 31 deadline. They’ll end the night four or five games back of the Cardinals for the second wild card, depending on whether the Padres can top St. Louis for the second night in a row.

 

 

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.