Phillies

With J.P. Crawford ready, Freddy Galvis' Phillies tenure appears to be over

With J.P. Crawford ready, Freddy Galvis' Phillies tenure appears to be over

It felt like the end for Freddy Galvis on Sunday.
 
Not the end of his career.
 
No. Not at all. This guy has many good years left in the game.
 
But it felt like the end of Galvis' time with the Phillies and that deserves some reflection.

He signed with the club back in 2006, when he was just 16. How long ago was that? Well, the Phillies have spanned three different eras since then. They were in the throes of a 13-season playoff drought when Galvis signed. That was followed by a five-year run in which they were among the best teams in baseball. On Sunday, they completed their sixth straight non-winning season.
 
The Phillies did manage to end the season on a high note — with an 11-0 win over the New York Mets on Pete Mackanin's last day as manager (see story).
 
Galvis, a play-making fixture at shortstop for three seasons and the team's longest-tenured player, did not start the ballgame.
 
Given the leadership he provided to the team — remember how he showed up for work and smacked a home run just hours after the birth of his second daughter in July? — and Gold Glove-caliber defense he played the last couple of seasons, Galvis probably deserved to start the season finale. But the team was committed to getting top prospect J.P. Crawford a half-dozen starts at shortstop so he got the call Sunday. There's little room for sentimentality when you're building a team and the shortstop of the future needs reps.
 
Galvis, 27 and smart, understands what's going on.
 
"It was no big deal," he said. "It's something we had talked about."
 
Galvis had hoped to start all 162 games this season and was on pace to do so until Crawford came up in early September. The team spread Crawford around the infield but wanted to get him six starts at shortstop. So Galvis finished five starts shy of 162 (he made one start in center field) but did play in all 162 games, the first Phillie to do so since Ryan Howard in 2008. 

Mackanin managed to get Galvis into the five games he did not start. He had a pinch-hit double in the sixth inning Sunday and received a nice ovation from the crowd, which seemed to know it might have just witnessed his last at-bat with the club.
 
"He's due all the respect he gets," Mackanin said.
 
Galvis was pleased that he could get in all 162 games.
 
"I think it’s pretty cool," he said. "I think just to be able to play 162 games and try to help the team is awesome. I feel proud for myself."
 
The Phillies have major-league ready middle infield depth in Crawford, 22, and Scott Kingery, 23. That is likely to result in general manager Matt Klentak's shopping Galvis and second baseman Cesar Hernandez for pitching this winter. Crawford could be the opening day shortstop. The Phillies could delay Kingery's arrival for a few weeks as they look to buy an extra year of control on him before free agency.

His time as manager up, Mackanin now becomes a front-office adviser. Any insights as to what might happen, Pete?

"It's a tough decision," Mackanin said. "But I know for a fact that the people upstairs, Matt and Andy (MacPhail, the club president), all of them, they really love Freddy. They realize what a good player he is, and they also acknowledge the fact that J.P. Crawford — this guy can play, so it's a tough decision. It will be up to them. Whatever they decide is fine with me."
 
Deep down inside, Galvis can't be happy about being pushed to the side. But he's been a pro about it.
 
"It's kind of weird," he said. "But I just have to be ready for whatever happens. I'm still a Phillie right now."
 
Galvis was a magician with the glove as a teenager and throughout his time in the minors. He raised his game the last couple of seasons in the majors. He led NL shortstops this season in fielding percentage (.989) and total chances (637).
 
Galvis credits Larry Bowa, a Gold Glove shortstop in his playing days, for fine-tuning his defense the last few years.
 
Like Galvis, Bowa might have spent his final day in a Phillies uniform Sunday. Bowa finished his fourth season as the team's bench coach. He and the rest of the coaching staff are now free agents.
 
After Sunday's game, Galvis and Bowa posed for a picture on the field.
 
It was a poignant moment, one that spoke volumes as the two men head off to an offseason of uncertainty.
 
"He elevated my defensive game to different places," Galvis said. "I always knew I could pick the ball and I can make some outs, but working with Bo, he elevated my game to a different level."

While Phils' search continues, Red Sox get their guy, Mets appear to too

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While Phils' search continues, Red Sox get their guy, Mets appear to too

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have hired Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora to be their new manager.

The team made the announcement on Sunday, a day after Cora's Astros reached the World Series.

Cora replaces John Farrell, who was fired this month despite winning back-to-back AL East titles. Farrell's teams won the 2013 World Series, finished last twice and then in each of the past two years won the division but got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

A native of Puerto Rico, Cora is the first Hispanic manager in Red Sox history.

He played 14 years in the major leagues before retiring in 2011, including parts of four seasons with the Red Sox. He was a member of Boston's 2007 World Series team.

Cora has never managed before.

Reports: Mets offer manager job to Indians coach Callaway
NEW YORK — It appears the New York Mets have settled on their choice for a manager.

Several media outlets are reporting the team has offered the job to Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway. The New York Post was the first to report the Mets were in talks with Callaway, saying a deal is being finalized.

When contacted Sunday, multiple Mets officials declined to comment.

With his contract set to expire, Terry Collins stepped down at the end of the season after seven years as Mets manager and accepted a position as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson.

The 42-year-old Callaway has been Cleveland's pitching coach for the past five seasons under highly successful manager Terry Francona. Led by ace right-hander Corey Kluber, the Indians led the major leagues with a 3.30 ERA this season, one year after reaching the World Series.

Callaway has never managed at any professional level.

Astros reach World Series, shut out Yankees in ALCS Game 7

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Astros reach World Series, shut out Yankees in ALCS Game 7

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series.

Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP, and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.

"I love our personality," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have the right amount of fun, the right amount of seriousness, the right amount of perspective when we need it. This is a very, very unique group. To win 100 games and still be hungry is pretty remarkable."

The Astros will try for their first World Series title, thanks in large part to Altuve, the diminutive second baseman who swings a potent bat, and Verlander, who switched teams for the first time in his career to chase a ring.

Four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees on consecutive nights after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first crown, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

"This city, they deserve this," McCullers said.

Clutch defensive plays by third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and become the fifth team in major league history to capture a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished up with 24 straight breaking pitches to earn his first major league save.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

"I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Astros also eliminated New York in the 2015 postseason, with Keuchel winning the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia entered 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double. He snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night in a 7-1 win.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York went 1-6 on the road this postseason.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS exactly 13 years earlier.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh.

With McCullers in charge, the Astros soon closed it out.

"It's not easy to get here. And I don't take any of this for granted. And this is what we play for," Verlander said. "These are the experiences that you remember at the end of your career when you look back, winning these games, just playing the World Series. Hopefully winning the World Series."