Phillies

Best of MLB: Betts' 3 HRs, 8 RBIs carry Porcello, Red Sox over Arizona

Best of MLB: Betts' 3 HRs, 8 RBIs carry Porcello, Red Sox over Arizona

BOSTON -- Mookie Betts hit three home runs and drove in a career-best eight runs and Dustin Pedroia collected five hits to power the Boston Red Sox to a 16-2 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Rick Porcello became the first Red Sox pitcher in 70 years to open a season 12-0 at Fenway Park, improving his overall record to 16-3 as Boston completed a three-game sweep of Arizona.

For Betts, it was the right-fielder's second three homer game of the season. He hit three against Baltimore on May 31.

Jackie Bradley Jr. chipped in with a two-run homer for the Red Sox, who closed a six-game homestand at 4-2.

What was billed as a marquee pitching matchup turned into a rout early when Zack Greinke (11-4) was tagged for three homers and nine runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Porcello allowed one run on three hits over seven innings and became the first Boston pitcher since Dave "Boo" Ferriss to begin a year by winning his first 12 decisions in Fenway (see full story). 

Matz takes no-hit bid into 8th, Mets beat Padres 5-1
NEW YORK -- Steven Matz carried a no-hit bid into the eighth inning and the New York Mets won consecutive games for the first time in more than a month, beating the San Diego Padres 5-1 on Sunday.

Alexei Ramirez slapped a one-out single over first base on Matz's 105th and final pitch in 96-degree heat at Citi Field. Wilmer Flores and Neil Walker homered for the Mets, who took two of three in the series.

Struggling to stay close in the wild-card race, the defending NL champions (59-58) hadn't strung together two wins since July 6-7 against Miami and Washington.

Facing the Padres for the first time, Matz (9-8) won for only the second time in nine decisions over his past 14 starts. The rookie left-hander, a hometown favorite who grew up about 50 miles from Citi Field, struck out eight and walked two. He fanned All-Star slugger Wil Myers all three times.

The only Mets pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Johan Santana in June 2012 against St. Louis.

Flores and Walker connected for solo shots off lefty Clayton Richard (0-2) (see full story). 

Longoria has 4 RBIs as Rays rout youthful Yankees 12-3
NEW YORK -- Corey Dickerson hit a three-run homer off Luis Severino, Evan Longoria added a three-run double against Luis Cessa to cap a six-run fourth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rolled to a 12-3 rout Sunday of the New York Yankees

Longoria had an RBI double in the first and singled in the seventh, finishing the three-game series 7 for 11 with six RBIs.

Logan Forsythe hit a second-inning solo shot and Dickerson's homer put the Rays ahead 5-1. Nick Franklin capped the offense with a three-run homer off Cessa in a four-run seventh as the last-place Rays stopped a three-game losing streak

Jake Odorizzi (7-5) won his fourth straight decision, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings.

Severino (1-8) allowed seven runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, leaving him with a 7.19 ERA. He was demoted to the minor leagues immediately after the game, the third time this year he was optioned.

The Yankees started eight players 26 years old or younger for the first time in 49 years (see full story).

Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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AP Images

Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

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Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

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