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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]

Report: Dodgers to sign Joe Kelly to three-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Dodgers are close to signing reliever Joe Kelly. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the deal is for three years and around $25 million.

Kelly, 30, posted a 4.39 ERA with a 68/32 K/BB ratio in 65 2/3 innings out of the Red Sox bullpen during the regular season in 2018. He turned it up a notch in the postseason, limiting the opposition to two runs (one earned) in 11 1/3 innings with a 13/0 K/BB ratio.

With the Red Sox, Kelly mostly pitched seventh and eighth innings ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel. He will likely do the same ahead of closer Kenley Jansen, sharing the workload with Pedro Báez.