Phillies

Phillies Notes: Kyle Kendrick shut down

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Phillies Notes: Kyle Kendrick shut down

While Kyle Kendrick’s season started with a clamor after a hot start, it ends with little more than a thud.

After getting a second opinion on the tendinitis in his right shoulder, Kendrick has been shut down for the rest of the season, manager Ryne Sandberg said Friday.

Sandberg didn’t say whether shutting Kendrick down after the second opinion was simply a precautionary measure or if it was cause for more concern.

Kendrick started off the season strong, but his 6.91 ERA since the All-Star break is the worst among all regular starters in the major leagues.

Since his velocity stayed up throughout that stretch, however, it was tough to see that Kendrick was ailing.

“He was able to pitch and his stuff was there,” Sandberg said.

Still, Sandberg admitted that Kendrick’s sinker, the one pitch he would often have even on off-nights, didn’t have the same movement as it did at the beginning of the season.

“He was healthy enough to pitch,” Sandberg said. “It was a normal sensation that he was feeling.”

Kendrick had failed to go more than six innings in a start since he took the mound against Washington on July 11.

Zack Miner will start in Kendrick’s place.

In his first start with the Phillies on Wednesday, Miner threw three scoreless innings on 61 pitches. On the year, Miner has a 3.22 ERA in 14 appearances.

Stutes returns
While Kendrick is done for the season, Michael Stutes returns to the big-league squad for the first time since June 22 after suffering from bicep soreness.

“There was a chance for him to come back and pitch some time late in September,” Sandberg said. “He’s been throwing in Florida and he’s ready to join us.”

Before his injury, Stutes carried a 5.14 ERA in 14 appearances.

While there was the possibility that Stutes wouldn’t return this season, “I wouldn’t say it was a surprise,” Sandberg said.

Still, the manager will be smart about his use of the reliever.

“Use him accordingly,” Sandberg said. “There will be a little bit of caution there, but he’s good to pitch.”

The Phillies will need to make judgments on the bullpen going forward. Having Stutes get back on the mound gives Sandberg a chance to see where the righty currently stands.

“It’s a thing just to show that he’s healthy and being able to end the season on that note adds some depth to the bullpen,” Sandberg said. "In regards to the bullpen personnel, there are decisions that have to be made.”

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).