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What’s on Tap: Previewing Monday’s action

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As usual, we have an abbreviated schedule on Monday: nine evening games and one afternoon game. That afternoon game was at Citizens Bank Park, as the Phillies are hosting the Diamondbacks in the finale of a four-game series. The woebegone Phillies lost again, 3-1, suffering a series sweep and their seventh consecutive loss, dropping their record to 30-41. The offense has been held to two or fewer runs in six consecutive games.

On May 14, the Phillies were 22-15 and the roster seemed to gel much quicker than anticipated. The starting pitching was great, the back end of the bullpen was reliable, and the offense was able to churn out four runs a game on a regular basis. Since then, the Phillies are 8-26 (.235) with a staff ERA of 4.93 and an aggregate battling line of .219/.269/.355. In fact, the Phillies entered Monday’s game with a team on-base percentage of .279, easily the worst in the league. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, the only team to post a worse on-base percentage were the 112-loss Mets of 1965.

That the Phillies are bad isn’t a startling fact. They were expected to challenge the Braves for the honor of finishing with baseball’s worst record this season. They’re now only six games “ahead” of the Braves with 91 games left in the season. FanGraphs projects the Phillies to be the worst team in baseball the rest of the way, at 36-56, but only a half-game ahead of the Braves, so they may not repeat the honor of picking first in the draft next season. Still, a protected top-10 pick would be great, setting the team up well for the future.

As a Phillies fan, it’s tough to watch the team right now, but this is who they were all along. They were never as good as they appeared in the first month and a half of the season.

The rest of Monday’s action…

San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Locke), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez) @ Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright), 7:10 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa) @ Miami Marlins (Paul Clemens), 7:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Nathan Karns) @ Detroit Tigers (Mike Pelfrey), 7:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 7:10 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman) @ Texas Rangers (Derek Holland), 8:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia) @ Chicago Cubs (John Lackey), 8:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Jhoulys Chacin) @ Houston Astros (Doug Fister), 8:10 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Yusmeiro Petit) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), 10:10 PM EDT [Note]

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”