TAMPA — I made a miscalculation in schedule and did not realize that both the Phillies and the Yankees are playing night games rather than day games today. That means the closest team with a day game to me is (a) 75 miles away; and (b) is the Atlanta Braves, who play the Nationals at 1pm this afternoon.
I haven’t actively tried to avoid the Braves while I’m down here, but I have thought that it might be OK if I miss them. Partially because I was just at Disney World in December and I wouldn’t mind avoiding it out of principle, partially because the Braves are my team. I like to see my team, of course, but I do wonder how I’ll approach the job today given that I’ll be in their clubhouse and press box and stuff. I’m not the sort who will cheer in the press box — that’s the ultimate reporter no-no — but I don wonder if I can refrain from bitching in the press box. Like, if Fredi Gonzalez bunts in the second inning of a 0-0 spring training game, will I be able to refrain from grumbling at him?
Well, I suppose we’ll see. Check back later today for that. And follow me on Twitter during the game. I may have to use that as an outlet.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.