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.

Report: Yankees J.A. Happ, closing in on a three-year deal

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UPDATE: Rosenthal is now walking the report back a bit, saying that indications that the Yankees and Happ are close to a deal but that it is not yet done.

10:29 AM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees and J.A. Happ have come to terms on a three-year deal. The agreement is pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known.

Happ just turned 36, but he has been effective enough to warrant a three-year commitment. The Yankees know this as well as anyone, having acquired him last year and watched him post a 7-0 record and a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts in New York. For the entire season he was 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 193/51 in 177.2 innings between the Yankees and the Blue Jays.

With Happ back in the fold, the Yankees rotation now consists of Luis Severino, James Paxton, Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, not necessarily in that order. A good group, assuming it stays healthy.