Cardinals GM John Mozeliak: “More momentum” for DH to come to NL

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There was all sorts of discussion about the designated hitter coming to the National League after Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright went down with a torn Achilles last April. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said as recently as September that he sees no need to expand the designated hitter to the National League, but that hasn’t stopped the chatter from continuing.

The designated hitter has been in effect in the American League since 1973. The National League has resisted it until now, but the idea of a universal DH rule has begun to feel inevitable since the introduction of daily interleague play. The current collective bargaining agreement will expire at the end of 2016, so one wonders if we could see a rule change as soon as next year.

The universal DH rule would potentially add 15 new jobs and/or prolong the careers of some veterans, so there’s obvious incentive for the players’ union to be in favor of it, but there’s an argument to be made for the owners to want it beyond a simple bargaining chip. In addition to increased scoring, it would protect high-priced pitchers from freak injuries like the one suffered by Wainwright. It’s risky enough to pitch.

The novelty of Bartolo Colon aside, pitchers hitting is generally a pretty ugly thing. My defense of keeping the status quo has mostly been based on celebrating and preserving the differences between the two leagues. There’s something cool about that, but I can also acknowledge that it’s irrational.

Wright wins 20th, Braves beat Phils to trim NL East deficit

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA – Kyle Wright became the first 20-game winner in the majors this season and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Saturday to stop a three-game losing streak.

William Contreras and rookie Michael Harris II each homered and had three hits for the Braves (94-58), who moved within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Mets in the NL East. New York lost 10-4 at Oakland.

The Mets and Braves play three games in Atlanta next weekend.

Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning for Philadelphia (83-68), which began the day a half-game ahead of San Diego for the second NL wild card and 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the final spot.

The 26-year-old Wright went 5 1/3 innings and became the first Braves pitcher to win 20 games since Russ Ortiz won 21 in 2003. Wright is the seventh 20-game winner for the Braves since they moved to Atlanta in 1966, also joining Denny Neagle and four Hall of Famers: John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro and Tom Glavine.

Wright (20-5) ran a high pitch count but didn’t allow a hit until Rhys Hoskins doubled with one out in the sixth. Harper followed with his 18th homer, ending the shutout bid and chasing Wright.

Philadelphia scored an unearned run in the seventh and had the potential tying run at the plate with two outs when A.J. Minter struck out Hoskins on a 3-2 fastball. Kenley Jansen earned his 37th save with a clean ninth inning.

Atlanta generated its offense early, taking advantage of Bailey Falter’s inability to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate. The Braves got six runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings against Falter (5-4), handing the left-hander his first loss since July 24.

Contreras hit his 20th homer in the third. Harris added a two-run drive, his 19th, in the fourth. Vaughn Grissom and Travis d'Arnaud both had two hits for Atlanta.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: Rookie RHP Spencer Strider (strained left oblique) was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 21, and will miss the rest of the regular season. His status for the playoffs is uncertain. … OF Ronald Acuna Jr. (back) sat out for a third straight day. He is day-to-day.

Phillies: OF Nick Castellanos (right oblique strain) will not go out on a minor league rehab assignment and will likely be activated off the IL next week when the Phillies begin a nine-game road trip in Chicago. Castellanos was added to the injured list Sept. 4.

UP NEXT

The regular-season finale between the NL East rivals is Sunday, with Atlanta sending RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.09 ERA) to the mound against RHP Kyle Gibson (10-7, 4.71).