Phillies

Phillies-Mets observations: A sweet sendoff for Pete Mackanin in final game as manager

Phillies-Mets observations: A sweet sendoff for Pete Mackanin in final game as manager

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The Phillies ended their 135th season — and Pete Mackanin's tenure as manager — with an 11-0 win over the New York Mets Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
 
Mackanin, informed Thursday he would not manage the club in 2018, will move into a front-office adviser's role next season. He received a nice ovation from the fans before the game. His final record was 174-238.
 
The Phillies played well under Mackanin down the stretch. They went 37-38 after the All-Star break and 16-13 in September. All of this after the team 29-58 before the All-Star break.
 
For the season, the Phillies went 66-96 and finished third from the bottom in the majors. They will pick third in the draft next year.
 
Final attendance at Citizens Bank Park was 1,905,354, down from 1,915,144 in 2016.
 
• Rookie Nick Williams punctuated the win with a three-run, inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the eighth inning. Williams finished with 12 homers and 55 RBIs in 83 games. He clubbed a liner off the center field wall. It bounced wildly and he sprinted around the bases to the delight of the crowd. He received a curtain call. It was the Phillies' first inside-the-parker since Chase Utley in 2011.
 
• Right-hander Nick Pivetta survived five walks, a wild pitch and a hit batsman on his way to six shutout innings in the 26th and final start of his rookie season. Pivetta's final ERA was 6.02. Despite control problems, he allowed just two runs over 17 innings in his last three starts. That should give him a little confidence as he heads into spring training looking to win a spot in the rotation.
 
• The Phillies scored six runs in an eventful fourth inning that saw Maikel Franco clout a three-run homer and Mets first baseman Dominic Smith make a pair of ugly defensive miscues.
 
• Franco ended up with 24 homers. He has 49 the last two seasons. There was credible buzz that Franco was on the trading block earlier this season, but indications are Phillies management is not ready to give up on his talent. (Surely, they'd be selling low if they did now.) Barring a favorable deal coming their way this winter, the Phillies appear to be leaning toward giving Franco another shot at third base next season. The hope is he puts it together as a hitter and becomes a firm piece of the future or a good trade chip.
 
• J.P Crawford made his sixth start at shortstop since coming up on Sept. 5. It seemed rather telling that Crawford got the nod over Freddy Galvis on the final day of the season. Galvis blossomed into a team leader and continued to play Gold Glove caliber defense this season and probably deserved to start on the final day. But Crawford has long been considered the shortstop of the future and his getting the nod at the position on the final day of the season seemed to indicate that the future will start on opening day 2018. Galvis does not have the on-base skills that the Phillies' front office wants to build a team upon. Crawford does, and he got one more bit of big-league experience before the curtain went down on the season Sunday.

• Galvis had wanted to start all 162 games this season. He came six short but did play in all 162 after entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning and stroking a double Sunday. It may have been his last at-bat with the club. The Phillies are likely to shop him for a trade as they look to add some pitching this winter. Galvis became the first Phillie since Ryan Howard in 2008 to play in all 162 games.

• The Phillies out-hit the Mets, 11-2.
 
• Late-season sensation Rhys Hoskins struggled to the finish line. He went 0 for 3 with two walks and three strikeouts Sunday and was just 7 for 52 (.135) with 19 strikeouts and 11 walks since hitting his 18th homer on Sept. 14. Hoskins is set to open the 2018 season at first base.
 
• This wasn't just Mackanin's last game. The members of the coaching staff became free agents after the game. They are free to consult with other clubs. There's also a chance some of them will be back under the new manager. Time will tell.
 
• Next on the docket for the Phillies is a manager search that general manager Matt Klentak has undoubtedly already begun.

MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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HOUSTON — Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

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Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker's time as the manager of the Washington Nationals is over after two seasons, two NL East titles and zero playoff series victories.

The Nationals announced Friday that they would not be bringing Baker back. His two-year deal with the club is expiring.

The contracts for the members of Baker's coaching staff also are finished. The team said it will work with its new manager to fill those positions.

The moves come the week after Washington was eliminated from its NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs with a 9-8 loss at home in Game 5. The Nationals also were bounced from the postseason in the NLDS round in 2016 -- also with a Game 5 loss at home by one run, that time against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This outcome, essentially, is what Baker was worried about as far back as spring training in February, when he made clear his desire for a new contract, knowing his was up after 2017.

Before the series against the Cubs began, Baker was asked about his possible future in Washington.

"I've given some thought to some things, but we were told that we were waiting until after the season to make a determination," he said at the time. "There's a good chance I'll be back."

He expected negotiations to pick up after the season ended (see full story).

Turner, Taylor repay Dodgers' patience by sharing NLCS MVP
CHICAGO -- Justin Turner and Chris Taylor shared MVP honors in the NL Championship Series, repaying a Dodgers organization willing to roll the dice on players whose big league careers were stalled.

In Turner's case, it was then-bench coach Tim Wallach who rediscovered him playing in a Cal State-Fullerton alumni baseball game four years ago, after his career appeared all but over.

In Taylor's case, it was Los Angeles' willingness to gamble that an offseason of grueling workouts would enable the young utilityman to rebuild his swing in a matter of months.

The co-MVPs turned up in the interview room together after the Dodgers eliminated the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs 11-1 in Game 5. They were champagne-soaked with hats turned backward, a pair of goggles still perched on Turner's head. Fittingly, they doused each other with praise.

"He's a dynamic player and a table setter," said Turner, who hit .333 for the series, with two home runs and seven RBIs. "When he goes, we usually go as a team."

"I talk to him as much as I can. He's one of the reasons I decided to make the changes I did," said Taylor, who finished at .316 with two homers and three RBIs. Both men also walked five times, as many as the entire Cubs roster (see full story).

Rare Jackie Robinson rookie jersey up for auction
NEW YORK -- A rare jersey from Jackie Robinson's historic rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers 70 years ago could be available for someone with a few spare millions.

The jersey, part of a Heroes of Sports offering by Heritage Auctions, has been certified by Mears, one of the top memorabilia authentication companies. It is accompanied by a letter from Robinson's widow, Rachel, saying it is the one brought home by the Hall of Famer at the end of the 1947 season, when he became the first black player in the majors and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

"This is the only one known from the `47 season, the only one that survived," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "It stayed in his closet for five decades plus until it was eventually sold to a private collector in the early 2000s."

The online auction opened Friday and closes at 11 p.m. on Nov. 19. The entire collection is from one owner and can be viewed on Heritage's website. Other items available for bidding include Babe Ruth's pants from the Hall of Fame induction in 1939, Keith Hernandez's 1978 Gold Glove award, a Wilt Chamberlain jersey from 1966, Bill Vukovich's Indianapolis 500 trophy from 1953 and Muhammad Ali's shoes from his fight against Ken Norton in 1973.

Ivy said the Robinson jersey has been valued at more than $3 million. He wouldn't be surprised to see it exceed that.

"It's tough to estimate a piece like this -- it's a one of a kind," he said. "As far as collectibles a rookie (jersey) is always sought after, something that's significant."