Message sent: the Braves Sweep the Phillies, take a 2.5 game lead

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Yunel Escobar double play.jpgThe Braves beat the Phillies 2-1 this afternoon behind a stellar outing from Derek Lowe and some timely hitting from Omar Infante, who was subbing for a banged up Chipper Jones.  Lowe gave up one run on six hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts. He was helped by a couple of timely double plays and, as I mentioned earlier today, a little bit of luck too.

Kyle Kendrick was nearly as good, giving up one run in seven innings. Jose Contreras showed that he is mortal, however, walking two (one intentionally) and giving up a two-out RBI single to Omar Infante to drive home the winning run. Or maybe he’s just mortal against the Braves.

The Braves have won eight straight and now have a 2.5 game lead in the NL East as they hop a plane for the west coast.  The Phillies have lost nine of their last 11 and have scored a mere 14 runs in those games.  I suppose there are worse plans than asking Roy Halladay to throw perfect games every time out, but the Phillies need a better one, and fast.

Indians to sign Tyler Clippard

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Jon Heyman reports that the Indians are signing Tyler Clippard to a minor league deal. He’ll make $1.75 million if he makes the big league roster.

Clippard, a 12-year veteran who just turned 34, pitched in 73 games for the Blue Jays last year, posting a 3.67 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 85/23 in 68.2 innings. It was a nice bounce back year for him after he spent 2017 bouncing among three different teams in the course of a below average campaign.

With the departures of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, and the elevation of Brad Hand to the closer’s role, Terry Francona will be looking for all the mid-innings help he can get in the Indians’ pen. Clippard could fit that bill.