Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff didn’t last long in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Braves. The right-hander gave up six runs on six hits and a walk with one strikeout in two innings. Beyond the poor performance, it was unclear at the time if he exited early for any other reason, but now we know. According to Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal, Eickhoff was bothered by nerve irritation in his right hand. He’ll undergo testing over the next few days to determine where to go from here.
Wednesday’s performance brought Eickhoff’s ERA up to 4.71. He’s also carrying a 118/53 K/BB ratio in 128 innings.
Since the rebuilding Phillies’ postseason hopes were long ago dashed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the club decides to shut Eickhoff down for the rest of the season to play it safe.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.