Dominican Republic crushes Phillies 15-2 in exhibition

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The Phillies meant to give the Dominican Republic a proper tuneup on Tuesday, going so far as to start likely ace Cole Hamels. This one was quickly a rout, though, as the Dominican club collected a whopping 28 hits and steamrolled the Phillies 15-2.

Jose Reyes, Robinson Cano and Hanley Ramirez all homered for the D.R. Ramirez and Miguel Tejada both had four hits apiece. Edwin Encarnacion went 3-for-5 from the cleanup spot.

The Dominican squad boasts a powerful lineup despite lacking Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and Aramis Ramirez. Bautista is the player the team misses most; while the country has produced plenty of good infielders, it’s very short on outfielders at the moment. Alongside Nelson Cruz in right today were Alejandro De Aza in center and Ricardo Nanita in left. Moises Sierra is the other candidate to start in left.

Hamels ended up surrendering eight runs and 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings in his start. Maybe it was for the best that he decided against pitching for Team USA this year.

Dallas Keuchel could make season debut on Friday vs. Nationals

Dallas Keuchel
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Braves manager Brian Snitker is hoping recently-signed starter Dallas Keuchel will make his season debut on Friday when the Braves open a 10-game road trip with a three-game set against the Nationals, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. For now, the Braves have not officially named a starter for Friday.

After spending seven months as a free agent, Keuchel finally inked a one-year, $13 million contract with the Braves on June 6. He tossed seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in his first start with Single-A Rome, then gave up three runs on 11 hits across seven innings for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday.

Last year, his final season with the Astros, Keuchel went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA and a 153/58 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old supposedly worried prospective teams due to his declining strikeout rate.

Keuchel is hoping to continue the Braves’ momentum, as the club has won 9 of its last 10 games and is 12-3 overall in June thus far, building up a 2.5-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East.