Outfielder Jeff Francoeur has had a penchant for timely hitting for the Phillies in semi-regular playing time this season. He hit a grand slam off of Madison Bumgarner earlier this season and drilled an insurance three-run home run on Friday against the Marlins.
He offered more heroics on Sunday, helping the Phillies finish off a sweep the reeling Fish. He singled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh after entering as a defensive replacement, but the Phillies lost their lead, going into the bottom of the ninth down 7-6. With Carlos Ruiz on base, Francoeur crushed a walk-off two-run home run off of closer A.J. Ramos into the left-field stands, a no doubter.
Francoeur has emerged as a potential trade chip for the Phillies. Despite a meager .257 average and .288 on-base percentage, he’s slugging .449 with eight home runs in 198 plate appearances.
After being demoted from the Marlins’ closer role last month, Steve Cishek was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville following Monday’s game.
Cishek saved 91 games for the Marlins between 2011-2014 while posting a 2.70 ERA, but he has an ugly 6.98 ERA and 17/10 K/BB ratio over 19 1/3 innings so far this season. He blew four saves in seven chances before being removed as closer. A.J. Ramos has emerged in the role since.
Cishek’s velocity has bounced back since the start of the season, but it still hasn’t made much of a difference performance-wise. Marlins manager Dan Jennings told Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald that they’d rather have him work on things in Triple-A.
The Mets will be without catcher Travis d’Arnaud a little while longer. He was expected to come off of the disabled list next week after recovering from a fractured right pinkie finger, but he now has a bone bruise in his wrist, per ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin.
It’s not known how d’Arnaud suffered the wrist injury nor exactly how much extra time he’ll need before returning to the Mets. He suffered the broken pinkie when he was hit on the right hand with a fastball from Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos. Prior to landing on the disabled list, d’Arnaud was hitting .317/.356/.537 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 45 plate appearances.
Kevin Plawecki and Anthony Recker will continue to handle most of the catching duties while d’Arnaud remains out.
Steve Cishek’s run as the Marlins’ closer is over–or at the very least, on hold–after back-to-back ugly blown saves Sunday and Monday.
Cishek has blown four saves and converted three saves this season while posting a 10.32 ERA in 13 appearances, and manager Mike Redmond has seen enough to start mixing in other options for the ninth inning:
Shrek [Cishek] has done a tremendous job for us, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning games. It’s tough to win in the big leagues, and when you get late leads, you’ve got to be able to lock them down.
For now Redmond said he plans to “mix and match” in the ninth inning, which likely means some combination of A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris, and Mike Dunn.
There’s no getting around how awful Cishek has been this season, but he converted 39 of 43 save chances last season and came into this year with a career ERA of 2.98 in 269 innings.
UPDATE: Miami has “expressed interest” in veteran closer Rafael Soriano.
Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki slugged his first major league home run on Saturday afternoon against Yankees lefty CC Sabathia. The 24-year-old was ahead in the count 2-1 before sending an 88 MPH fastball over the fence in left field on a line drive.
Plawecki got his first hit in his first major league game, but had gone 0-for-7 in his other two games entering Saturday’s contest. He’s replacing Travis d’Arnaud, who suffered a fractured right hand on Sunday when he was hit by an A.J. Ramos pitch.
The Mets had their 11-game winning streak snapped on Friday night, but are set to rebound as they lead the Yankees 7-2 as of this writing.