Phillies

Mets part ways with Carlos Beltran

Mets part ways with Carlos Beltran

This has truly turned into one of the most historic scandals in MLB history.

The Mets parted ways with manager Carlos Beltran on Thursday afternoon, less than three months after hiring him. He's the third manager in the last week to be either fired or step down following the Astros' cheating scandal, joining AJ Hinch and Alex Cora. That's two World Series-winning managers and another in Beltran whose hire resulted in near universal praise.

Will our great grandchildren be talking about this 100 years from now the way we still reference the Black Sox scandal of 1919?

Beltran was named in commissioner Rob Manfred's report which detailed the Astros' sign-stealing. Beyond Cora, Beltran's name was mentioned the most. As recently as two months ago, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen dismissed questions about Beltran's involvement and told reporters he saw it as an Astros issue.

Not anymore.

"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Van Wagenen wrote in a statement.

"This was not an easy decision. Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as manager of the New York Mets.

"We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."

It seemed inevitable over the last 48 hours that Beltran would be let go. The focus shifted from Hinch and former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow to Cora and then to Beltran. The stink kept spreading and the Mets obviously feel they're better off cutting ties now to avoid any awkwardness or questions about their own franchise.

"Over my 20 years in the game, I've always taken pride in being a leader and doing things the right way, and in this situation, I failed," Beltran's statement read. "As a veteran player on the team, I should've recognized the severity of the issue and truly regret the actions that were taken."

This shakes up the NL East a bit. No, managers don't have the same impact on baseball teams that head coaches in the NFL or NBA have, but the Mets are now in scramble mode. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month. 

And beyond that, the Mets might be the third-most attractive managerial vacancy right now behind the Astros and Red Sox.

Buck Showalter? He's a New York-savvy guy and was a finalist for the job here that went to Joe Girardi.

As disappointing as the post-Didi Gregorius/Zack Wheeler period of the offseason has been for many Phillies fans, two events this week did benefit them: the Mets' disarray and Josh Donaldson's departure from the Braves to sign with the Twins.

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Phillies go hitless with runners in scoring position and lose both games of doubleheader to Braves

Phillies go hitless with runners in scoring position and lose both games of doubleheader to Braves

Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Braves spoiled the MLB debut of Phillies top prospect Spencer Howard on what was also a dismal day for the Phils' bats.

Freeman and Acuña each homered to the opposite field off of Howard, going 5 for 6 with those two jacks and a triple as the Braves won both games of Sunday's doubleheader by scores of 5-2 and 8-0.

The Phillies had just seven hits in 14 innings. They went 7 for 48 in the doubleheader, a .146 batting average.

Their best scoring chance in Game 2 came in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs for Bryce Harper, who flied out to shallow center.

The Phillies are 4-6. The Braves are 11-6.

More specifics here on Howard's outing.

No knocks when it counts

The Phillies went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position in the two games Sunday. They have hit .194 with RISP this season.

Braves' best players woke up

To win this series, the Phillies needed Freeman and Acuña to stay cold for just a few more days. They entered Sunday hitting a combined .207. Freeman went 6 for 8 in the doubleheader with a double, triple and homer. Acuña went 5 for 8 with three homers. Combined, that's 11 for 16 with four homers, a double, triple and eight RBI. Good grief.

At least Hoskins built a little confidence

Rhys Hoskins, who entered the second game Sunday hitting .111 (3 for 27), went 2 for 2 with a double and an HBP. He's hitting .172, though with a .429 on-base percentage. Every little thing counts right now for Hoskins, who threw his arms up in the air to thank the Baseball Gods after he finally picked up that first hit Sunday. 

Up next

Aaron Nola (0-1, 3.97) starts the series finale Monday night at 6:05 against Braves lefty Sean Newcomb (0-1, 6.57).

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Spencer Howard gives up homers to Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. in Phillies debut

Spencer Howard gives up homers to Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. in Phillies debut

Spencer Howard's first major-league start is in the books. The Braves didn't make it easy on him.

In 4⅔ innings, Howard allowed four runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He threw 81 pitches. The Phillies did not score with him in the game.

Howard threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the 22 hitters he faced, and after a couple innings the Braves were going up to the plate ready to hack at the first pitch.

Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr., the Braves' pair of superstars, did the most damage against Howard, going 5 for 6 with two homers and a triple.

Howard was close to getting through his first three innings unscathed but Dansby Swanson beat out a would-be double-play ball by inches. The third inning went on and Freeman took Howard opposite-field for a two-run shot on a 95 mph fastball. Two innings later, Acuña also took Howard oppo. Welcome to the bigs.

Howard allowed a fair amount of hard contact. Even in the scoreless first inning, Freeman lined out hard to right field and Travis d'Arnaud smoked a liner right at third baseman Jean Segura.

There were also some eye-popping pitches and moments from Howard, such as his second-inning strikeout of Adam Duvall. Howard spotted a fastball on the outside corner for a called strike one, threw a nasty hook for a swinging strike two, then pinpointed a fastball inside and at the knees for a called strike three.

His fastball averaged 93.5 mph and maxed out at 95.5. Surprisingly, Howard didn't get a single swing-and-miss on the 41 fastballs he threw. He did get seven swinging strikes with his slider and three with the changeup.

Bryce Harper, who had pined for Howard to join the Phillies' rotation, said this about his new teammate:

"I'm excited for him. This is where it starts. It's not minor-league ball anymore, it starts now. Excited to get him up here and get him acclimated to this team and how we go about it. He's a great competitor. He's got plus-plus stuff. Phillies fans should be very excited to see what Spence does. 

"He just needs to be Spence. That's the biggest thing when guys get up here, change this or change that, people want to see you do this or do that. But my biggest thing is when guys get up here, I want them to be able to enjoy themselves, take in the moment and really know they have the stuff to be here. I just want him to enjoy the moment."

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