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: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS lead
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).