Phillies lose three out of four to woeful Astros

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So much for the Phillies’ big surge. The Philadelphia bullpen blew a 4-3 lead Sunday in a 7-6 loss to Astros, giving Houston a rare series win.

Antonio Bastardo took the loss in relief of Roy Halladay, though the blame more squarely rests on the broad shoulders of rookie Phillippe Aumont. The Astros scored four times in the seventh with a rally that started on a Michael Martinez error. Bastardo left with two on, one out and the 4-3 lead still intact. Aumont followed by giving up a walk, a two-run double and a two-run single to the only three hitters he faced, making it 7-4 Houston.

The Phillies came back with two runs on a Domonic Brown double in the top of the eighth, but it wasn’t enough.

Setup relief was the Phillies’ Achilles heel early this season, but it’s been much better in the second half, as the team has largely been successful in maintaining leads in front of Jonathan Papelbon. Today’s misstep was Aumont’s second in a row. He allowed just one run over 8 1/3 innings in his first nine appearances for the Phillies, but he’s given up four runs in the last two. He took the loss in Thursday’s series opener.

Back under .500 at 73-74, the Phillies again look like extreme long shots for the second wild card spot. While they’ll be “only” four games back of either the Cards or Dodgers at the end of the day, they’re going to have four teams ahead of them in the standings.

Mitch Moreland signs one-year, $3 million deal with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland
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First baseman Mitch Moreland is back with the Red Sox. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the veteran has inked a one-year, $3 million to remain in Boston. The contract calls for a $2.5 million salary for 2020 and includes a 2021 club option worth $3 million with a $500,000 buyout.

Moreland has spent the past three seasons with the Red Sox. Last year, he hit .252/.328/.507 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI over 335 plate appearances. He mostly faced right-handed pitching, platooning at first base with Michael Chavis, Sam Travis, and Steve Pearce.

Moreland will once again platoon at first base with Chavis. Chavis also played second and third base last year, so he could find time at those positions when Moreland is in the starting lineup.