Ruben Amaro: Phillies offense “not good enough”

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Water is also wet. The Phillies are tied with the Nationals for the third-worst runs per game average in the National League at 3.53. They’re fourth-worst in batting average (.237) and third-worst in on-base percentage (.296) and slugging percentage (.374). Phillies outfielders have the worst combined OPS in the league at .608, well below the second-worst Marlins at .665.

GM Ruben Amaro says his team’s offense, which has scored two runs or fewer in four out of the last six games, is “not good enough”, reports Chris Branch.

“They need to swing the bats better,” Amaro said. “That’s not good enough. When we’re behind the 8-ball that much, it’s tough to crawl back. But there’s no question we need to swing the bats better.”

Kevin Slowey, who wasn’t even in the major leagues in 2012, pitched seven shutout innings for the Marlins. Slowey came into the game with a career 4.50 ERA. His win Sunday was his first in the majors since Sept. 18, 2010.

“I believe in these guys still,” Amaro said. “They’re good hitters. They need to do better. For us to be contenders, they have to hit better.”

Defending his signing of right fielder Delmon Young (and ostensibly of constructing his offense the way he had), Amaro said in January, “I don’t care about walks. I care about production,” then lamented that the Phillies weren’t drawing walks two and a half weeks into the season. Presently, the Cubs and Brewers are the only teams in the league to have drawn fewer walks than the Phillies.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.