Potent quotables: Everyone loves bobbleheads

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“Bobbleheads are our most expensive giveaway item. And they have the most perceived value.

– Dennis Lehman, executive vice president of business for the Indians, takes bobbleheads very seriously.
The team went ahead with their “Victor Martinez Bobblehead Night” on
Saturday, despite him being traded to the Red Sox on Friday.

“We have to have a special type of
veteran pitcher, who is willing to give of himself as a teacher and
mentor type of guy. We have to get a team-oriented person, a person
that is going to give his time and his knowledge. It’s not an easy
task.”

– Nationals interim general manager Mike Rizzo is currently casting the “big-brother type” to his boy-band of starting pitchers.

“I’m just depressed that this isn’t
progressing the way I want it to progress. I’m throwing, playing catch.
There are different symptoms now. I’ve got zero strength in my left
calf due to the nerve. I’m just waiting for it to get better.”

– Tim Wakefield, who turned 43 years old on Sunday, isn’t likely to return from the disabled list anytime soon.
He went 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA, earning his first trip to the All-Star
Game, before landing on the disabled list with a lower back strain on
July 21.

“I know I’ve got to go out there and
pitch one or two innings. I’ve got to throw strikes and keep the ball
low. That’s exactly what I have to do.”

– Top-prospect Neftali Feliz knows what he has to do in order to be successful in the bigs.

“It just seemed like one thing after
another. [It] just seemed like every one of the surgeries he had, as
soon as he got healthy from one of those, something else kind of crept
in and happened.”

– Jeff Niemann speaks about his friend Wade Townsend, who was released by the Rays on Monday.
Now 26-years-old, numerous arm injuries resulted in the 2005
first-round draft pick posting a 5.59 ERA over 211 1/3 innings in the
minors.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.