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Report: Phillies interested in Adrian Beltre

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In his latest column for MLB.com, Jon Morosi reports that the Phillies have interest in potentially trading for Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre. While Beltre’s bat would be a help, Morosi notes that the Phillies are just as interested in his professionalism for their otherwise young roster.

Beltre, 39, has been on the disabled list twice already this season due to calf injuries. When he’s been in the lineup, he has managed a .302/.357/.428 triple-slash line along with three home runs and 22 RBI in 182 plate appearances. Beltre is in the last year of his contract, earning $18 million, so he would be a rental for the Phillies.

Third base has been a problem for the Phillies. Their composite .699 OPS from their third basemen is 25th-best in baseball. Maikel Franco has seen the most time at third base, but Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford (currently on the disabled list) have also seen time there. The Phillies are getting to a point where they may turn the page on Franco, who was once one of the organization’s top prospects. Kingery should see regular time at shortstop with Crawford on the disabled list, so adding a rental third baseman makes sense for the team as presently constructed. The Phillies have also been linked to Manny Machado, but it would make more sense for the club to pursue him in free agency rather than acquire him as a rental.

Starters? Openers? Who cares? It’s the lack of offense killing the Brewers

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The talk of Game 5 of the NLCS — and, indeed, the talk of the postseason so far — has been the Brewers’ creative use of their pitching staff. Indeed, Craig Counsell calling for Brandon Woodruff, and removing Miley from the game after just one batter and five pitches, stands as one of the more audacious acts of bullpenning in recent memory.

In light of that strategy, it was tempting to compare and contrast the Brewers’ approach to that of the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw gave up an early run and, as has so often been the case lately, didn’t look super sharp early. But as the game wore on he got stronger, his curve got more devastating and he turned in an ace-like performance, leaving after seven innings of work, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The Brewers may have an army of pitchers they throw at you, but the Dodgers, on this night, had a Hulk.

That’s all a lot of fun, and it was a tempting narrative to grab a hold of, but you know what? It doesn’t matter a bit. The fact of the matter is that the Brewers have scored two runs in the last 17 innings between Games 4 and 5. Two runs, with one of them being an oh-by-the-way run with out in the ninth tonight. They’ve only scored three runs in their last 24 innings. They could have a college of coaches using a murder of pitchers and they’d still be staring at being down 3-2 like they are right now because the bats have gone cold.

The presumptive NL MVP, Christian Yelich, was 0-for-4 in Game 5 and is only 3-for-20 with three singles in the entire NLCS. Ryan Braun is 5-for-21. Lorenzo Cain is 6-for-24. Games 3 and 4 have, obviously, been the big problems for the Brewers. In those games the entire team is batting .168 with 26 strikeouts and they are 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Craig Counsell could go back in time, bring back Pete Vukovich, Rollie Fingers, Teddy Higuera, Moose Haas and Jim Slaton, use them all for an inning and two-thirds each and it wouldn’t matter if the Brewers can’t score. That’s the story of the series so far. No matter how much we might want to talk about the pitching shenanigans, that’s the only thing that really matters.