Brandon Phillips’ star turn guides Reds to Game 1 win


Sure he’s a two-time All-Star, but maybe Brandon Phillips is feeling a little anonymous in Cincinnati. He certainly increased his profile Saturday as the Reds beat the Giants 5-2 in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Let’s run through the highlights:

– Phillips opened the scoring in the third with a two-run homer off Matt Cain. It was the first homer allowed by Cain in four career postseason starts. In fact, the those were the first two earned runs he had given up in 24 innings of postseason work.

– In the fifth, Phillips barehanded the ball on successive plays. First, he did it trying to turn a double play on a feed from Zack Cozart. However, the runner was able to beat out the strong relay. On the next play, he stuck his hand up and barehanded a grounder from Pablo Sandoval and threw to first to end the inning.

– The sixth inning saw Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco bunt down the first line. Reliever Mat Latos fielded the ball, but threw wide of Joey Votto at first base. Fortunately, Phillips, in a terrific display of heads-up baseball, was moving over from second to back up the play and made a diving stab of the baseball, keeping Blanco at first base.

– Phillips led off the eighth with a single, only to apparently get erased on a double play. But he didn’t. He managed to elude Marco Scutaro’s tag by falling down, and he got up and ran to second after Scutaro threw to first.

– The cherry on top: Phillips singled in a run in the top of the ninth, increasing Cincinnati’s lead from 3-1 to 4-1.

Mat Latos, Jay Bruce and Sam LeCure also did splendid work picking up the Reds after Johnny Cueto’s first-inning injury tonight, but this was Phillips’ show. He’s now 7-for-15 with two homers in four career postseason games. Tonight’s was the first that wasn’t a Reds loss.

Major League Baseball reveals their special event uniforms for 2018


Major League Baseball will once again celebrate various holidays and special occasions with special uniforms this season. The special caps and unis for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are largely in keeping with past practice. There’s a fairly notable change for Mother’s and Father’s Day, however, as what were once pink and blue accents are now full-blown pink and blue caps.

On Jackie Robinson Day — April 15 — players will, as always, be wearing number 42. New this year will be patches on the jerseys and caps. Like so:

Here is what the Mother’s Day caps will look like:

And for Dad:

Here’s Memorial Day. Like last year, the stars represent the five branches of the U.S. military. There will be camo jerseys, like you’ve seen before, to match:


The Blue Jays’ caps will feature four clusters for the four branches of the Canadian military:

Here’s the Fourth of July which will, again, be paired with stars and stripes-themed jerseys:

And check out the inside of the bill:


Fun fact: the Fourth of July is the day the signing of the Declaration of Independence was signed. It has little if anything to do with the Constitution, from which “We The People” is taken, which was ratified on June 21, 1788. But don’t stop MLB, they’re on a roll.

The Blue Jays cap, again, differs, with the logo being a gold maple leaf and the inside of the bill simply saying “Canada”:

As always, proceeds from the sale of this merch will go to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Susan G. Komen, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

As as also long been the case, Major League Baseball will do nothing for Labor Day, much to my annual annoyance.