Tag: Brandon Phillips

Jason Castro

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Astros 3, Angels 0: The Astros complete a three-game sweep of the Angels and take a two-game lead in the west thanks to Jason Castro’s walkoff three-run homer. The win was aided by Scott Kazmir’s seven and two-thirds shutout innings. And now Carlos Gomez is on his way to join the fun.

Reds 15, Pirates 5: Brandon Phillips hit two three-run homers and drove in seven as the Reds demolish the Pirates. He also stole two bases. Jay Bruce drove in three as well. Word is that the Mets may be interested in Bruce, however, so expect to hear Sandy Alderson identify some mysterious physical ailment in him in the next few hours which undercuts any possible trade. Maybe a strain of his right buttock due to is wallet being too big for the Mets’ tastes.

Nationals 1, Marlins 0: Max Scherzer, Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon combine on a three-hit shutout. After the game someone asked the Nationals new closer how he was getting along with the old closer. Any strife or awkwardness with Storen, you know, losing his job?

That, um, is good.

Padres 8, Mets 7: Justin Upton’s three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth — after a 45 minute rain delay — ended up winning the game. But not before a post-homer rain delay of nearly another three hours, thanks in part to the Mets crew having a hell of a time getting the already wet tarp back on the field. Open question as to why Jeurys Familia was allowed to resuming pitching after that first 45 minute break, but Terry Collins thought he was OK. In other news, Justin Upton, who is the subject of trade rumors, is messing with us:

Earlier in the game, Upton hugged his teammates in the dugout as if he was saying goodbye after a trade.

“I thought that was funny,” Upton said. “That’s what happens when people like to tweet everything.”

Just like Best Shape of His Life, “Hug Watch” is more or less over now that players are aware of it. Really tired of players ruining all that is great about this game.

Phillies 4, Braves 1: Philly wins its tenth in the past 12 games. Aaron Harang came off the DL to allowed one run while scattering nine hits over five innings. Fun times: despite the trade to Texas, reliever Jake Diekman was still in uniform in the Phillies bullpen because, apparently, actually finalizing trades is too hard to do these days. Wilmer Flores on Wednesday night, Michael Morse pinch hitting for the Marlins yesterday, Diekman in the pen. Jeez, guys, clean it up. Tigers should’ve started David Price for crying out loud.

Tigers 9, Orioles 8: The Tigers had a 9-2 lead in the sixth inning before their bullpen made it interesting. Not that that’s new or anything. Now that they’re selling off it doesn’t matter all that much, of course. What does matter is Yoenis Cespedes homering and driving in three runs in his final audition before the trade deadline this afternoon.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 2: Dioner Navarro, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson all homered. Ben Zobrist made his Kansas City debut and went 0-for-4. He did manage to snag his preferred number 18 from coach Rusty Kuntz, however. Hope he’s getting what he wants for it. 

Dare to dream, Rusty.

Cardinals 9, Rockies 8: The Cardinals win on a walkoff walk as the Rockies blew a two-run lead in the ninth. Matt Carpenter homered twice, going 4-for-5 with four driven in. He did so after being moved back up to the leadoff position. After the game he talked about how that helps and how he’s more comfortable there and stuff. Which is something I don’t understand at all, as after the first inning it’s just like being in any other position in the lineup. He singled then, so great, but the homers came later. Never under estimate the superstition, irrationality and love of routine of ballplayers, though.

Red Sox 8, White Sox 2: The White Sox were surging, winners of seven straight, and were sending their ace, Chris Sale to the mound. So much for momentum theory. Boston rocked Sale to the tune of seven runs on 12 hits in five innings. David Ortiz went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Xander Bogaerts also had three hits and Rusney Castillo homered in the seventh. It was only Boston’s third win in their past 15 games.

Rangers 7, Yankees 6: Josh Hamilton hit a three-run homer in the first and a walkoff single in the ninth for a nice set of bookends. It was 101 degrees at first pitch. CC Sabathia ended up going to the hospital with dehydration. I’m all for outdoor baseball but I’d love to meet the genius who decided that they didn’t need a retractable roof in Texas. I guess they build the dang thing too early — Chase Field, Safeco Field, Minute Maid Park, and Miller Park all came later — and weren’t confident that it’d work? I dunno.

Cubs 5, Brewers 2: Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer with two out in the eighth inning. Joe Maddon: “The whole night, it wasn’t going our way, but I liked the way we worked. And then eventually Riz steps up and does what he can do.” No diggity. In other news, baseball nicknames are dying, you guys. How is he not “Ratso?”

Twins 9, Mariners 5: Eddie Rosario had a homer, a triple, a double and drove in three. If you have to fall short of a cycle, not getting the single is the best way to do it, even if “triple short of the cycle” gets all the press. Aaron Hicks and Brian Dozier also homered.

Indians 3, Athletics 1: Carlos Carrasco was dominant, tossing a two-hitter, with both hits coming in the first inning. All the A’s managed the rest of the way was a measly walk as Carrasco went the distance, needing only 103 pitches to do so, in a game that took only two hours and fifteen minutes.

Video: Brandon Phillips and Eugenio Suarez team up for a ridiculous play


We have seen plenty of flashy plays from four-time Gold Glove Award winner Brandon Phillips over the years, but this one might take the cake.

Just to set the scene here, the Reds were clinging to a one-run lead tonight when Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler stepped to the plate with two on and two out in the seventh inning. Soler hit a ground ball up the middle, but Phillips went into a slide to make the stop before making a behind-the-back toss to shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who made a barehanded catch to get the force out at second base and end the inning. Just watch it already:

So pretty. This is one of those things which would be hard to recreate if you tried.

By the way, the Reds held on to win 5-4, so this play proved to be critical.

“The fire sale is in full swing” for the Cincinnati Reds

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: President and General Manager Walt Jocketty of the Cincinnati Reds speaks with the media during a press conference at the Cincinnati Reds Development Complex on February 22, 2010 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Cincinnati is still feeling some positive vibes from a highly successful week of All-Star festivities, but big business is underway in the executive offices at Great American Ball Park. This comes from John Fay’s latest in the Cincinnati Enquirer

The fire sale is in full swing. The Reds have put all the players they [are] willing to part with on the shelf. Owner Bob Castellini has given go-ahead to trade as needed.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has stated that Home Run Derby hero Todd Frazier will not be traded, and we can probably rule out Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Homer Bailey because of their contracts (and other factors). But it seems plausible that Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, Marlon Byrd, Skip Schumaker, and Brayan Pena could all be on the move ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Cueto and Leake definitely because of their status as big-ticket impending free agents.

Fay notes that Jocketty’s approval rating has “eroded” in Cincy, so this is going to be an important couple of weeks for him personally. It’s also an important couple of weeks for the organization, which has been in bad need of a rebuild. The club’s record as of Sunday morning was 40-48. And the farm system isn’t great.

Reds only hurting themselves batting Billy Hamilton ninth

Billy Hamilton, Josh Harrison

At what point does speed outweigh a lousy OBP?

Joe Morgan was fond of saying that speed was the No. 1 factor in searching for a leadoff hitter. Statheads used to believe that OBP was everything, that it made far more sense to put a slow guy with a big OBP in the leadoff spot than a fast guy who didn’t get on base.

Billy Hamilton pretty much sucks at getting on base. But he’s so ridiculously good when he does get on that he’s a viable leadoff hitter anyway.

Hamilton has hit leadoff for the Reds 36 times this year and scored 27 runs in those games. Brandon Phillips, though, has been leading off while healthy these last seven weeks. He’s scored 19 runs in 37 games leading off.

Of course, that’s not really a valid test of speed versus OBP. Oddly enough, both have .280 OBPs in their time batting leadoff. Both have also hit three homers as leadoff man, so that doesn’t really factor in. And while Phillips isn’t quite a burner these days, he’s actually gone 6-for-7 stealing bases from the leadoff spot.

The run totals, even if they’re a bit fluky, suggest that Hamilton should be leading off for the Reds. His .280 OBP is probably worth about the same there as a .330 mark from a merely decent runner. He wouldn’t continue scoring three runs every four games if returned to the spot, but then, who does? Mike Trout and Brian Dozier currently lead the majors in runs scored (largely because they have 27 and 20 homers, respectively) and they’re barely better than that (.775 runs scored per game).

And the Reds’ alternatives simply aren’t any good. Phillips has never been an on-base guy, and the other four guys to have opened a game in the leadoff spot for the Reds this year (Zack Cozart, Skip Schumaker, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Kris Negron) have posted even worse OBPs. Plus, Joey Votto has thrived on those occasions in which he’s hit second behind Hamilton. Unless the Reds somehow come up with a viable option in one of their upcoming trades involving Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake or Jay Bruce, Hamilton is going to be their best option at the top the rest of the way.

The Yankees, Orioles and Blue Jays were scouting Johnny Cueto yesterday

Johnny Cueto

My theory — which is probably wrong given that it involves a prediction — is that whichever of the AL East teams picks up a good starting pitcher will have the inside track on that tight race. Well, unless it’s the Rays, who need a bat. Among the Blue Jays, Yankees and Orioles, however, a top starter should help elevate them to favorite status.

All three were on the scene in Washington last night to scout Johnny Cueto, Joel Sherman reports. They likely liked what they saw, given that he tossed a shutout.

Given how many teams could use a starting pitcher — add the Astros, Dodgers and Tigers to this list — and you have to figure Cueto will come at a higher price than most three-month rentals would. That could pose problems for the Yankees, who don’t exactly have a ton of top team-controlled talent to woo the Reds. That’s not quite as true for the other AL East teams, but it’s not like their systems are loaded either.

Over at Sporting News today Jesse Spector floats a neat idea: someone willing to eat some salary could trade relatively little for Cueto in terms of talent but maybe take on a bad contract from the Reds such as Brandon Phillips’. Intriguing, NBA-style idea, much like the Braves did in their trades with San Diego and Arizona recently.

Cueto may be the top pitcher available right now. So he’s worth watching. And everyone seems to be watching him.