Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton saved the Reds’ bacon with fantastic catches

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As we mentioned in this morning’s recaps, the Nationals twice thought they had game-winning hits in extra innings last night, only to have the Reds’ defense take them away with fantastic catches.

First, in the 12th, Brandon Phillips made a diving catch to rob Wilson Ramos of a hit behind second base with a runner on third. If he doesn’t: game over. Second, Billy Hamilton robbed Anthony Rendon of extra bases and the game-winner in the 14th, allowing Todd Frazier to come up in the 15th for the two-run homer that proved to be the game-winner.

Watch these fantastic plays:

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.