Phillies

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Brewers 2

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Brewers 2

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MILWAUKEE -- The Phillies gave the NL Central-leading Brewers a taste of their own medicine Sunday, avoiding a second-half-opening sweep when Nick Williams belted his first career grand slam in a 5-2 victory at Miller Park.

Starting pitching report
Jeremy Hellickson (6-5) earned his first victory since May 19 by holding the Brewers to a pair of runs on four hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings of work. 

He hadn't taken a decision in his last four starts, but including Sunday's effort, has a 3.28 ERA in his last 30 1/3 innings of work. 

Save for an eight-run outburst in the second inning Friday night, Philadelphia's starters had a good series against Milwaukee, which began the second half with the fourth-most runs in the National League.

Bullpen report
Nothing to see here, just another scoreless outing from right-hander Pat Neshek, who hasn't allowed a run in 38 of his 40 outings this season, including his last five in a row.

He was one of four relievers to combine for four shutout innings against the Brewers, who made some noise by putting runners at the corners with two outs in the eighth against Luis Garcia, but he maintained the three-run lead by getting Travis Shaw on a fly out to left, ending the threat. 

Hector Neris brought the tying run to the plate by putting two on to start the ninth but retired the next three in a row to lock down his eighth save of the year.

At the plate
Odubel Herrera moved into the leadoff spot after going 3 for 7 with two home runs and three RBIs in the first two games of the series.

He came up big again Sunday, picking up a pair of hits including an RBI ground-rule double in the fifth that gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

Williams also had two hits, highlighted by his go-ahead blast in the fourth inning — his second home run of the season and the third grand slam of the year by a Phillies' batter.

Up next
The Phillies travel to Miami where RHP Tom Koehler (1-4, 8.00 ERA) and the Marlins await for a three-game series. Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (1-7, 4.63 ERA), who snapped a 14-start winless streak his last time out, gets the start for the Phillies.

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

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AP Images

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

Gabe Kapler on Friday added to his coaching staff by naming Jim Gott the Phillies' bullpen coach.

Gott was the minor-league pitching coordinator for the Angels the last five seasons and the pitching coach for the Arizona League Angels the three years prior to that role.

He played for the Blue Jays, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers over 14 major-league seasons as a starter and reliever. Gott, now 58 years old, compiled a 3.87 ERA while making 96 starts and converting 91 saves.

Kapler and the Phillies still need to name a pitching coach and first-base coach. Last week, they named Dusty Wathan third-base coach and hired John Mallee as hitting coach, while retaining Rick Kranitz, who was the assistant pitching coach last season (see story). He could fill the main pitching coach vacancy, although his role is currently to be determined.

In 2017, Bob McClure served the Phillies as pitching coach and Mickey Morandini was first-base coach.

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

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USA Today Images

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.