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J.D. Martinez is drawing interest from Rockies, Diamondbacks

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that both the Rockies and Diamondbacks have expressed interest in Tigers’ outfielder J.D. Martinez. With just $11.75 million remaining in his contract before he hits free agency in 2018, the hot-hitting corner outfielder appears likely to be dealt sometime before the deadline, though Morosi notes that trade talks aren’t serious just yet. The Dodgers, Cardinals and Royals are also rumored to be in the running for Martinez’s services, each with a notable gap to fill in the outfield and at the plate.

Martinez, 29, is in his fourth run with the Tigers. He’s two years removed from his most valuable season, during which he produced 5.0 fWAR and slashed .282/.344/.535 with 38 home runs. He managed to maintain a .300+ batting average in 2016 and is chasing that with another .300+ average, 15-homer performance this year. A sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot kept him out of commission for the first few months of the 2017 season, but he appears to have made a full recovery, bouncing back with an impressive .306/.384/.622 batting line, 15 home runs and a 1.006 OPS through his first 224 PA of the year.

The Diamondbacks are in desperate need of outfield depth after losing left fielder Yasmany Tomas, who was hit with a mild right groin strain several weeks ago and is expected to be unavailable through the end of the month, if not longer.  The Rockies, on the other hand, aren’t hurting for outfield depth with Carlos Gonzalez, Gerardo Parra, Raimel Tapia and Ian Desmond at the corners, but could use another boost at the plate as they try to hang onto a wild card spot down the stretch.

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.