Phillies Notes: Kevin Siegrist adds another lefty weapon to the bullpen

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Phillies Notes: Kevin Siegrist adds another lefty weapon to the bullpen

MIAMI — In the NL East alone, the Phillies have to face dangerous lefty hitters such as Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy of the Nationals, Michael Conforto (Mets), Christian Yelich and Justin Bour (Marlins) and Freddie Freeman (Braves).

Next year, if everything breaks right, the Phillies will have some late-game weapons to battle those sluggers.

On Saturday, the Phillies claimed 28-year-old lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist on waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals. Siegrist, who is arbitration eligible in 2018 but under team control through 2019, joins two other lefties in the Phillies' 'pen: Adam Morgan and Hoby Milner.

“We (as an organization) have liked (Siegrist) for the past few years,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said before Saturday’s game against the Marlins. “I feel happy that we’ve got a chance to look at him.”

Drafted by the Cardinals in the 41st round in 2008, Siegrist has carved out a significant career as a set-up reliever.  

He is 18-10 with a 3.43 ERA in five major-league seasons, all with St. Louis. He went 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA in 81 appearances in 2015. Last year, he went 6-3 with a 2.77 ERA in 67 games.

This year, though, he was 1-1 with a 4.98 ERA in 39 appearances. He landed on the disabled list in late June, missing nearly one month, and perhaps that heavy usage in 2015 and ’16 has caught up to Siegrist, whose velocity dropped this year amid a forearm injury, according to reports.

“I don’t know much about his injuries,” Mackanin said.

Siegrist hasn’t pitched since Aug. 3, but he did not allow a run in seven of his final eight appearances with the Cardinals.

“I’m anxious to see where he fits,” Mackanin said. “Those two guys (Morgan and Milner) have been outstanding — two nice pieces to have. And if we can add another (lefty reliever), that would be even better.”

Here are some more Phillies notes beyond the Siegrist acquisition:

• RHP Jerad Eickhoff’s season ended officially Saturday when the Phillies placed him on the 60-day disabled list. Eickhoff has been out since Aug. 30 because of nerve irritation and numbness in his right hand.

“It was a pretty clean image,” Mackanin said of the MRI Eickhoff had Friday, “nothing to be overly concerned about.”

Eickhoff, 27, was on the rise in 2016, going 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA in 197 1/3 innings. This year, though, he finished 4-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 128 innings, and Mackanin indicated Eickhoff will have to battle for a job in the rotation once the spring of 2018 arrives.

“He’s a candidate,” Mackanin said of Eickhoff, who was on the disabled list twice this year. “I’d like to think he would be because he was solid for us last year.”  

• RHP Jake Thompson will be recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley so he can start against the Marlins on Sunday. The 23-year-old rookie is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA for the Phillies this year, making six appearances, including three starts.

Thompson went 5-14 with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.546 WHIP in 22 starts at Lehigh Valley this year.

“He didn’t have a very good season at Triple A,” Mackanin said. “But he has pitched relatively well for us the couple of times he’s been up here.”

• Siegrist is the second veteran reliever the Phillies have picked up on waivers this week, joining right-hander Juan Nicasio. The Phillies got Nicasio from the Pirates on Thursday, and he picked up a relief win Friday despite getting just one out on three pitches.

“I told him we’re not going to pay him,” Mackanin joked. “He only threw three pitches to get the win. That’s not fair.”

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).