Eric Gagne talked the Rockies into giving him a tryout yesterday:
I basically called them up and said I’m ready. I want to find a place to play and see if you guys give me a shot. I have no expectation. I told them I can help this team. I’m healthy right now. If they think it’s good enough, that’s good.
Unfortunately it sounds like he wasn’t very impressive. Troy Renck of the Denver Post notes that Gagne “looks trimmer and more muscular after working with a mixed martial arts trainer” during the offseason, but added that he “remains a longshot to join Colorado after a pedestrian bullpen session.”
Rockies skipper Jim Tracy would no doubt love to give Gagne a comeback chance after managing him with the Dodgers, but the former Cy Young winner is 34 years old, hasn’t been effective against big-league hitters since mid-2007, and spent last season posting a 4.65 ERA in an independent Canadian league.
At best he’ll get a minor-league deal and have to work his way back to the majors with an impressive stint at Triple-A, but it seems unlikely that he’s even capable of that at this point. On the other hand, if he steps up the MMA training he could probably beat up Jose Canseco some day.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.