Mariners designate Aaron Harang for assignment

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The Mariners now have an opening for Taijuan Walker in their rotation if they want to take it.

Aaron Harang, who have up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings Sunday in a loss to the Angels, was designated for assignment Monday. It was the fourth time in his last eight starts that he had given up seven runs, and he fell to 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA for the year.

Harang’s stint in Seattle was quite the roller coaster ride. He’s one of just seven pitchers with multiple shutout this year, having blanked the Padres on May 27 and the Astros on June 11.  He also had five starts in which he allowed just one run, three of them coming since the All-Star break.

Overall, Harang had a solid 87/26 K/BB ratio in 120 1/3 innings, but he had given up 21 homers even with Safeco Field helping him along. What hasn’t helped in a Seattle defense that rates among the worst in the league.

Of course, now that it’s too late for Harang, the Mariners are getting their best defensive outfielder back today in Franklin Gutierrez. He was activated from the DL to replace Harang on the roster. Brandon Maurer and Hector Noesi are a couple of possibilities to take his rotation spot. The Mariners could also give Walker, their No. 1 prospect, a look next month. The 21-year-old is 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA and a 64/27 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 IP since moving up to Triple-A Tacoma.

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.