Diamondbacks did well trading Edwin Jackson to White Sox

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Speculation that the White Sox may have acquired Edwin Jackson to “flip” him to the Nationals for Adam Dunn makes it hard to properly evaluate the deal from Chicago’s point of view yet, but there’s no need to hold off in saying Arizona did extremely well to get pitching prospects Daniel Hudson and David Holmberg for Jackson.
I was underwhelmed by the Diamondbacks’ haul for Dan Haren, but Jackson is a much different story. Some teams remain convinced that Jackson has ace potential because at times he unleashes overpowering raw stuff, which was on full display when he no-hit the Rays last month. Of course, the no-hitter also included eight walks and Jackson has been awful overall this season, going 6-10 with a 5.16 ERA and 104/60 K/BB ratio in 134.1 innings.
Jackson hasn’t pitched quite as poorly as that ugly ERA suggests, but he’s a soon-to-be 27-year-old with a 4.74 career ERA and has posted an ERA under 4.40 exactly once. He’s also owed for $8.25 million next season, which makes him an overpaid mid-rotation starter and makes unloading his contract plenty valuable for the Diamondbacks by itself. That they were able to clear Jackson’s salary off the books and get a pair of useful prospects is a great move, particularly since Hudson is a decent bet to out-perform Jackson in 2011 while making $400,000.
Hudson was so-so in 34 innings with the White Sox, but the former fifth-round pick has an excellent minor-league track record that includes a 2.79 ERA and 195/50 K/BB ratio in 174 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He’s ready to step right into Jackson’s rotation spot and is under team control through 2015. At just 19 years old Holmberg is nowhere near the majors, but he was a second-round pick last June and Baseball America ranked him as the White Sox’s eighth-best prospect coming into the season.

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.