With John Danks injured, Jake Peavy makes first ever relief appearance

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Left-hander John Danks left his start Saturday against the Nationals in the second inning with a strained left oblique, and with the White Sox bullpen already tired, manager Ozzie Guillen was forced to turn to Jake Peavy in relief.

For Peavy, it was the first career relief appearance after 238 major league starts with the Padres and White Sox.  He’s working on two days’ rest after coming off the DL and giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings on Wednesday.

As of this writing, he’s working in the seventh inning having already thrown three scoreless innings and struck out five.

Danks was running to back up third base on a flyball when he was injured in the second.  The White Sox had Brian Bruney take over then and pitch the third, but they didn’t think they could get through the rest of the game using strictly relievers.  They’re short-handed in the pen because of the current six-man rotation.

That will likely change on Sunday, though.  Danks seems sure to land on the disabled list, putting the rotation back at five.   The White Sox will call up a reliever to replace him on the roster.

Update: Peavy ended up throwing four scoreless innings and picking up the win in relief.  He allowed only one hit and struck out seven in the 55-pitch outing.  If one day was any indication, he would have just fine in the closer’s role had the White Sox opted to take him up on it.

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.