Indians-Yankees round two: Mitch Talbot ejected after plunking A-Rod

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After Friday’s benches-clearing incident in the game between the Indians and Yankees, umpire Dan Iassogna wasn’t going to tolerate any hijinks Saturday.  Iassogna tossed Cleveland’s Mitch Talbot in the bottom of the sixth for hitting Alex Rodriguez in the thigh, even though it was the first HBP for either team on the day.

In Iassogna’s defense, there were some suspicious circumstances here.  Curtis Granderson homered two batters before A-Rod stepped to the plate, and A-Rod himself had homered in his previous at-bat.

Still, it was just a 2-0 game at the time, with the solo homers accounting for the only scoring.  Talbot was defnitely hoping for a win at the time, not revenge. It was raining in New York, and Tablot clearly slipped on the mound while delivering the pitch that his A-Rod. Yankees PBP guy Michael Kay suggested it might have been acting, but with the awkward delivery, Talbot didn’t throw the pitch at full speed and what’s the point of intentionally hitting someone if you’re not going to rush the ball up there as hard as you can?

With Iassogna quickly taking control, there wasn’t much action in the dugouts after this one.  A-Rod dropped to his knees for a minute, but he was fine to continue.  Bartolo Colon is currently working on another shutout bid and would be foolish to retaliate with the score as is.  If there’s more to come, it probably won’t happen until Sunday or Monday.

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.