Quick hits: Harang done for the year

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Here’s a few quick hits to get you started for Sunday’s action:



– According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse,
Aaron Harang will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an
emergency appendectomy. He finishes yet another disappointing
campaign at 6-14 with a 4.21 ERA. His 14 losses led the majors, while
only four other pitches gave up more homers (24 in 162 1/3 innings).
However, his 2.86 ERA over his last four starts give at least some hope
that he’ll be worth the $12.5 million owed to him next season.
Scott Rolen was activated from the disabled list to take his spot on the roster.



– On the heels of Aaron Cook going down with a strained right shoulder, the Rockies are on the verge of adding some reinforcements
in veterans Russ Ortiz and Jason Giambi. Ortiz was 3-6 with a 5.57 ERA
in 23 games (13 starts) with the Astros before being released on July
30. He was granted his release by the Yankees last week after going 2-1
with Triple-A Columbus. As for Giambi, he’ll function as a left-handed
bat off the bench. The 38-year-old slugger batted just .193/.332/.364
with 11 homers and 40 RBI before being released by the Athletics on
August 7. Both are expected to join the team when rosters expand in
September and would be eligible for post-season play.




– Oh, the ego. Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen have expressed some concern
at the prospect of the Red Sox acquiring Billy Wagner. Papelbon went as
far to ask, “What has he done? Has he pitched this year?” while
comparing the potential move to Eric Gagne in 2007. The Red Sox
have until 1pm ET on Tuesday to complete a deal for the 38-year-old
southpaw.

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.