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Joaquin Benoit criticizes Pete Mackanin’s bullpen management

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The Phillies’ bullpen has hit the skids as of late. On Tuesday against the Mariners, the ‘pen coughed up five runs in 5 1/3 innings. On Wednesday afternoon, the Phillies bullpen surrendered eight runs in three innings of work versus the M’s. Joaquin Benoit was on the hook for five of those runs on Wednesday while recording only one out, giving up three walks, a single, and two doubles.

After the game, Benoit took full responsibility for his struggles, Ed Benkin of KYW Sports reports. But Benoit also criticized the way manager Pete Mackanin has handled the bullpen, moving pitchers in and out of various roles. For example, Jeanmar Gomez started the season as the closer, but was quickly taken out in favor of Benoit. Benoit struggled, so the role went to Hector Neris. Neris struggled, and now it’s been essentially a closer-by-committee, though the Phillies haven’t had many leads to protect in the ninth inning lately.

Benoit said, “I believe that if we have a set role, everybody will fall in place. Right now I think everybody is a different piece.” He added, “It would be better if everybody knows what their role is and when you are going to contribute. Right now, I’m all over the place. It’s a little consistency not just for the pitching staff, but the people that run it, too. It works if you find a place for everybody.”

After Wednesday’s outing, the 39-year-old Benoit is sporting a 5.79 ERA with a 14/10 K/BB ratio in 14 innings. The Phillies signed him to a one-year, $7.5 million contract in December to help buoy an otherwise mostly youthful bullpen, but that hasn’t been the case thus far.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.