Victor Martinez scratched from lineup due to soreness in side

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The Tigers will be without Victor Martinez when they begin a three-game series against the Athletics tonight in Detroit. According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Martinez is dealing with some soreness in his side and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus doesn’t want to risk making it worse.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus described the injury as soreness “kind of on his back, side area.”

“He didn’t want to come out,” Ausmus said, “but we can’t lose Vic for an extended period.”

Ausmus said Martinez looked OK during batting practice, so the move to remove him from the lineup appears to be precautionary.

“Today was the first time I heard about it,” Ausmus said. “He said he felt it a little bit yesterday and felt it again today, so I just decided it would be better to take him out.”

You usually hear this kind of talk in the early stages of an oblique injury, so it’s easy to understand why Ausmus is being cautious here. With “V-Mart” sidelined, J.D. Martinez will slide into the cleanup spot and serve as the designated hitter tonight.

Martinez has been one of the game’s best hitters this season, batting .323/.384/.589 with 2o home runs and 52 RBI over 78 games. While the 35-year-old was a little slow to get going after knee surgery last season, he has more hits than anyone in MLB (213) over the past calendar year.

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.