Troy Renck of the Denver Post has been all over the Brad Hawpe news front since he was placed on waivers last week. And now Renck has a breaking report.
The Post columnist and beat writer heard from sources Wednesday that Hawpe is going to be released after tonight’s game against the Dodgers and made available to all interested major league teams as a free agent.
The 31-year-old Hawpe has posted an ugly .642 OPS and two home runs since the All-Star break, but part of his struggles can be equated to a lack of playing time and he should be rejuvenated in joining a playoff race. If he joins a playoff race.
Renck believes that the Rangers and Red Sox will show interest, but look for a good helping of teams to jump in on the negotiations. He’s not exactly a versatile player — and probably needs to be limited to a corner outfield or first base job — but Hawpe still has great power potential and a .280/.374/.492 career batting line.
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.