Juan Samuel could wind up back with Philly

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No, not as a second basemen or outfielder, sadly. As a first base coach. That according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli, who notes that Samuel did not take part in the Orioles’ organizational meetings last week and may be in line to take over Davey Lopes’ old job with the Phils.

The last time I said something about first base coaches — I think I dismissed their importance — a lot of you countered with the notion that they’re important to have for base stealing purposes, as they see every opposing pitcher on every pitch, and thus are invaluable in teaching their own base runners how to read moves and stuff.  It’s an excellent and rather obvious point, in hindsight, that I’m rather embarrassed that I didn’t consider.

Which also makes me understand why so many Phillies fans were sad to see Lopes go. In his career he was an 80% base stealer. Samuel, in contrast, was only successful about two-thirds of the time. While the Phillies are perceived as a take-and-rake kind of team, the fact is that they were fourth in the NL in stolen bases in 2010, and were caught stealing fewer times than every single team in the league.  You probably have to give Davy Lopes credit for that, and you probably have to wonder if Juan Samuel — who was a less-successful base stealer than his speed should have had him being — will be able to maintain that kind of success.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.