Phillies

Phillies-Marlins observations: Nick Williams delivers win in extras

Phillies-Marlins observations: Nick Williams delivers win in extras

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MIAMI — Nick Williams came through just in time.

The rookie stroked a two-run single to right in the top of the 12th inning to lead the Phillies to a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Marlins Park.

Williams, who had failed to get a runner home from third base with one out in the fifth inning and again in the 10th, found redemption against Marlins reliever Junichi Tazawa (3-4).

The Phillies (52-84) took three out of four games from the Marlins (67-69).

• Reliever Adam Morgan (3-1) was brilliant with three scoreless innings. He allowed no hits and just one walk, a splendid encore to his work earlier this weekend when he pitched one scoreless inning.

Hector Neris got the save, his 19th.

• The Phillies got a stellar start from 23-year-old Jake Thompson.

Called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley in time to make his 14th career start, Thompson struck out a career-high seven batters in six innings. He allowed three hits and no walks but took a no-decision.

• With no Rhys Hoskins (bruised hand) in the lineup, the Phillies struggled to score. The middle of the lineup — where Hoskins normally resides — was especially poor … until the 12th.

Still, Williams, in the three-hole, went 1 for 5 with a strikeout, stranding five runners.

Clean-up man Tommy Joseph went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts, stranding six.

Williams had opportunities to drive in runs in both the fifth and 10th innings, but he failed both times. Joseph followed him with an inning-ending out in both of those frames.  

• Cameron Perkins nearly won the game for the Phillies in the ninth. With a runner on first and two outs, his long drive to dead center was run down by Christian Yelich.

• The Phillies had a forgettable eighth inning as all three of their batters — Freddy Galvis, Williams and Joseph — struck out against reliever Kyle Barraclough.

• From the hole at shortstop, Galvis threw out Marcell Ozuna at first on a bang-bang-bang play in the seventh.

That’s three “bangs” because the ball tipped off the glove of third baseman Maikel Franco, was caught by Galvis and then dug out of the dirt at first by Joseph. Ozuna was originally called safe, but that ruling was overturned on video review.

• The Phillies opened the scoring with one run in the fifth, but the Phillies really should have cashed in a bit better.

The Phillies produced four singles, making Marlins starter Jose Urena throw 27 pitches. Cesar Hernandez got the RBI on an opposite-field single, but Williams (lineout) and Joseph (groundout) both stranded the bases loaded.

• Miami tied the score in the bottom of the fifth due to an unfortunate circumstance. Miami’s Brian Anderson, playing his first weekend of Major League Baseball, pulled a leadoff double down the third-base line, advanced to third on an A.J. Ellis groundout and scored on a wild pitch in the dirt.

Certainly, Thompson has to wear that wild pitch, which occurred on an 84-mph breaking ball away. But it was also not catcher Jorge Alfaro’s finest moment as he failed to block that pitch and save his pitcher.

Ricky Bo's MLB rule changes if he was commish for a day

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Ricky Bo's MLB rule changes if he was commish for a day

I think most of us would agree baseball has gotten too slow and there's too much inactivity in the modern game.

MLB met last week to discuss possible rule changes, so here are mine, all designed to either speed up the game or make it more exciting.

1. Instant decisions on challenges

No more of this 45-second crap deciding whether to challenge a play. No more of the manager holding up his hand while waiting for his bench coach to get off the phone with the video coordinator to decide whether to challenge. Either you make the call with your naked eye or don't.

It makes the games several minutes longer and can take pitchers out of their rhythm.

2. Move bullpens closer to dugouts

This might not make a huge impact on the length of games, but moving bullpens closer to dugouts would cut down on the 20- to 30-second run-ins from the bullpen, especially with how often teams make pitching changes these days.

The whole process of a manager slowly walking to the mound, taking the ball, making the call to the 'pen and the pitcher coming in for him warmups would be sped up.

3. Four total pitching changes per game per team (barring injury)

It would add a lot of strategy to the games if you limited the number of decisions a manager can make. The game is overly specialized these days so it would mean we'd see less of a lefty specialist coming in for one batter and then coming out.

It might also create some more offense.

4. Limiting defensive shifts

Two infielders on each side just like it was for a generation. I get that teams want to use the available data to determine where to place their infielders for specific hitters, but it wipes away so many hits and has turned the sport into a strikeout-fest.

Hitters who have trouble beating the shift are trying more than ever before to beat it by hitting the ball out of the ballpark. The result is more home runs but also so many more strikeouts. We're on pace for about 500 more strikeouts than any season in history.

This last one won't be popular, but down with the shifts!

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Forget Machado (for now), Phils reportedly eyeing HOF third baseman

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Forget Machado (for now), Phils reportedly eyeing HOF third baseman

Forget Manny Machado (for now). The Phillies are reportedly also interested in an older third baseman who can still hit but would come much cheaper.

That would be Rangers 3B and future Hall-of-Famer Adrian Beltre, according to MLB's Jon Paul Morosi

"The Phillies also have interest in Beltre, sources say, as much for his professionalism as his production," Morosi wrote. "The Phils have the youngest group of position players in the Majors, and team officials see long-term value in Beltre's influence on an emerging core."

Beltre turned 39 in April and has been on the DL four times in the last two seasons, including twice this season with hamstring strains. Still, he's remained one of the better all-around third basemen in the majors, hitting .304 with an .877 OPS the last three seasons. He'd be an unquestioned upgrade at third over Maikel Franco, who has talked over the years about how much he admires Beltre's game.

Beltre is in the final year of his contract and is owed $18 million. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and Beltre would need to waive it to potentially join the Phils. The Phillies are a fringe contender but the Rangers are already out of it at 32-44 and 18 games back in the AL West.

This week, Phillies GM Matt Klentak said he is not opposed to trading for a rental player so long as the Phillies hang around the playoff picture in the next month. Royals 3B Mike Moustakas is another player to monitor in that regard.

Of course, this doesn't mean the Phillies are out on Machado but trading for him midseason would be much more complicated and there's little chance he'd re-sign before first testing the free-agent market.

If the Phillies do trade for him, they just have to make sure everyone in the clubhouse knows the rules about touching his head.

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