Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr hit a ball about 200 feet but it turned into an inside-the-park grand slam against Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals on Friday evening. The Phillies loaded the bases on a walk by Brian Bogusevic, a single by Cameron Rupp, and a bunt single by Jerad Eickhoff. After Freddy Galvis popped out to center field, Altherr stepped to the plate.
Altherr hit a sinking liner right in front of center fielder Michael Taylor, who dove for it but cleanly missed it. The ball skipped towards the fence. Not only did all three runners on base score, but Altherr scored as well without a throw. As FOX Sports on Twitter notes, it’s the first inside-the-park grand slam since Randy Winn in 1999 against the Yankees as a member of the Devil Rays.
Altherr tacked on an outside-the-park solo home run in the fifth inning to boost the Phillies’ lead to 5-1. The outfielder, on the season, is hitting .238/.322/.514 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 121 plate appearances.
ESPN Stats & Info, citing the Elias Sports Bureau, notes that Altherr is the first to have an inside-the-park grand slam and an outside-the-park home run in the same game since 1987.
New team president Andy McPhail hasn’t decided on Ruben Amaro Jr.’s replacement as Phillies general manager yet, but he has decided that Pete Mackanin will stick around as manager.
Mackanin, who replaced Ryne Sandberg as manager in late June on an interim basis, has signed a contract extension for the 2016 season that also includes a team option for 2017.
Mackanin took over a team that was 26-48 under Sandberg and has managed them to a similar 30-46 record. Beginning in mid-July there was a month-long stretch in which the Phillies were playing really good baseball, but they’ve now lost 20 of their last 26 games to limp to the finish line.
As a 64-year-old baseball lifer Mackanin has played, coached, and managed for a bunch of different organizations, including three stints as an interim manager in the big leagues, but this is his first opportunity as a full-time MLB manager. MacPhail signing Mackanin to an extension before picking a new GM makes it pretty clear he’ll be truly calling the shots in the Phillies’ front office regardless of who’s chosen as Amaro’s replacement.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta pitched brilliantly over eight innings in the first game of Friday’s double-header at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies. The right-hander limited the Phillies to a lone run on six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Aaron Altherr accounted for the only run with a solo home run in the second inning.
With the performance, Arrieta won his major league-leading 19th game while sending his ERA below 2.00 to 1.99. He and Zack Greinke are the only two starters in baseball with an ERA below 2.00. He also carries a terrific 204/46 K/BB ratio in 199 innings.
Arrieta, 29, broke out with the Cubs last season. He was once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, but he struggled over parts of four seasons before the O’s sent him to the Cubs along with reliever Pedro Strop in exchange for starter Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger in a July 2013 trade. In 2014, Arrieta posted a 2.53 ERA over 25 starts. He’s shown, in dominating the National League this season, that last year’s performance wasn’t a fluke.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts helped his team take a commanding 7-0 lead in the fourth inning against the Phillies on Saturday, clearing the bases and coming around to score on what should have been only a double, but turned out to be a Little League grand slam.
Bogaerts slashed an Alec Asher offering down the right field line. Right fielder Aaron Altherr corralled the ball and hit cutoff man Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez fired a weak throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz, bouncing off of him and into foul territory. Betts, at third base, used the opportunity to scamper home. Bogaerts was credited with a double and three RBI, advancing to third base on the relay throw home and scoring on Hernandez’s throwing error.
David Ortiz followed up with a solo home run, his 30th of the season and the 496th of his career.
Maikel Franco’s chances of playing again this season took a hit today, as the Phillies rookie third baseman felt soreness in his fractured left wrist while attempting to take batting practice.
Franco is about four weeks into his recovery from the injury and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies “will slow him down.” Playing again in late September hasn’t been ruled out, but it’s not looking likely at this point.
Franco has had a fantastic rookie season, hitting .277 with 13 homers and an .830 OPS in 77 games at age 22. He’s one of the Phillies’ few bright spots this year and looks like a long-term building block.