Tag Archives: Alex Avila

Dbacks and Phillies combine for MLB record 13 home runs in 13-8 win for Arizona

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Eduardo Escobar’s big night helped power Dbacks past Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies (37-29) are no longer all alone in first place in the National League East Division standings. After being crushed by a 13-8 score on Monday night by the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks (35-32) at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies now find themselves tied at the top with the Atlanta Braves.

This marks the first time since April 25 that the Phillies were not at the top of the division by themselves. The Braves crushed the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight in Atlanta by 13-7 to earn the tie. It was a fourth consecutive win for the Braves, the fifth win in a row for the Dbacks, and the Phillies second straight loss.
The Phillies and Braves are set to meet this coming weekend down in Atlanta in a key mid-season series, the first meeting between the clubs since the Phillies swept the Braves in the first series of the season back in late March.
The vast majority of the 21 runs scored by the two teams came via the long ball. The two clubs combined for a Major League Baseball record 13 home runs in this contest. Unfortunately for the home side and their fans, most of those were slugged by the visitors.

Arizona jumped all over Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff (3-4) about as hard as you can jump on a pitcher. The Dbacks first three batters – Jarrod DysonKetel Marte and David Peralta – all homered.
Credit Eickhoff in the immediate aftermath of that potentially demoralizing opening. He settled down to retire the next nine straight Arizona batters as the Phillies slowly fought back with solo runs in each of their first three at-bats to get back to even.
Jean Segura‘s sixth home run of the season got the Phillies on the board in the home 1st inning. In the 2nd, Scott Kingery ripped a one-out triple and scored on a ground out by Maikel Franco to make it 3-2. They tied it up in the 3rd when Rhys Hoskins singled home Segura, who had reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second base.

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Jean Segura’s solo blast has the Phillies down just 3-1 as we head to the bottom of the 2nd inning.

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That tied didn’t last long, as the Diamondbacks blew the game open by scoring eight times over the next three frames. Eduard Escobar and Alex Avila each blasted two-run homers in the top of the 4th to give Arizona back the lead at 7-3.
After Kingery drilled his fifth home run of the season out to right field in the bottom of that inning to cut the deficit to 7-4, Arizona answered with three more runs thanks to two more long balls. Escobar blasted his second of the game and 17th of the season, and then Ildemar Vargas ripped his third of the year.
In the top of the 6th, the Eduardo Escobar show continued. He roped an RBI double to give him five ribbies on the night, and the Dbacks had an 11-4 lead.
The Phillies had one positive on this night, and that was the performance of Kingery. In the bottom of the 8th he homered again, his second of the night and sixth of the season, to make it an 11-5 ball game. Later in the frame, Nick Williams doubled and scored on a base hit from Bryce Harper, making it 11-6.

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Second homer of the night for Kingery, who has been the lone bright spot tonight for the Phillies.

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But the Dbacks relentless offense still was not finished. In the top of the 9th inning, Vargas crushed his own second homer of the night to push Arizona’s lead back out to 13-6. He thus became the third player, joining his teammate Escobar and the Phillies’ Kingery, to homer twice in this one.
Even with that big lead, Dbacks skipper Torey Lovullo brought in his closer, Greg Holland, to wrap this one up. Hoskins greeted Holland by driving the 14th home run of the season by the first baseman out over the left field wall to make it a 13-7 game.
Two batters later, Jay Bruce roped his 19th homer of the year, his fifth in seven games since joining the Phillies in a trade from Seattle last week. It was just announced earlier today that Bruce had been named as the NL Player of the Week honoree for his hot debut with the club last week.

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The Phillies got homers from Hoskins and Bruce in the 9th inning, but it was too little, too late.

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That was finally the end of the scoring on this night. 13 home runs in all went over the walls of Citizens Bank Park. Unfortunately, most of those came off the bats of the visitors as Arizona wrapped up a 13-8 victory.
With their hold on sole possession of first place in the division gone and the Braves playing good baseball, the pressure on the Phillies has now increased. They have not gone on a truly extended winning run all season long. If there was ever a time to get one started, it would be now. These two teams will meet again on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, when Jake Arrieta will try to regain his April mojo.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Jerad Eickhoff: 3 IP, 5 hits (all homers), 7 earned, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts. 75 pitches, 44 for strikes.
Taylor Clarke: 3.1 IP, 6 hits (2 homers), 4 earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. 77 pitches, 48 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME:  EDUARDO ESCOBAR

The Dbacks third baseman went 4-5 with two homers, a double and a single, driving in five runs and scoring three times. Escobar raised his average to the .299 level, and his 17 home runs and 54 RBIs both lead the Arizona lineup.

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Cubs lose Contreras, but Avila ready to step in

Contreras (C) has been pivotal to Cubs this season
The Chicago Cubs are the defending World Series champions, and entered the season as prohibitive favorites to repeat in the NL Central Division.
Things haven’t gone as smoothly as the team or their fans in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field had expected. The Cubbies struggled for most of the first half of the season.
Coming out hot after the MLB All-Star break, Chicago re-established themselves at the top of the division. Their most consistently productive player all season has been young catcher Willson Contreras.
The 25-year old backstop is in his first full season as the starter behind the dish on the North Side. He was slashing .274/.342/.519 with 21 homers and 70 RBI following Wednesday night’s game. Those power totals are second on the ball club.
But potential disaster struck in the late innings of that 3-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. While running out a routine grounder in the bottom of the eighth inning, Contreras pulled up lame. He needed to be helped from the field with what turns out to be a hamstring injury.
An MRI on Thursday will determine the extent of the injury, as well as the length of time that Contreras is expected to miss. He could be gone for a week or so. He could also be gone for a lot longer. A stint on the Disabled List is a virtual certainty.
“He’s in good spirits,’’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo said per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “He said he’s had it worse than this before [in 2015 in the Arizona Fall League]. He thinks he’ll be fine. Injuries like that, when you see someone grab like that, it’s not very good. So you never know. We’ll see.’’

NEW BACKUP BACKSTOP READY TO STEP IN

Fortunately for the Cubs, they have a solid replacement ready to step into the breech. Alex Avila is a 30-year old veteran in his ninth big league season. He was obtained by GM Jed Hoyer in a deal at this year’s trade deadline.
On July 31, Hoyer shipped a pair of talented prospects, third baseman Jeimer Candelario and shortstop Isaac Paredes, to the Detroit Tigers. In exchange, the Cubs received Avila and Tigers’ closer Justin Wilson.
For many at the time, Wilson probably seemed the bigger addition. The 29-year old had saved 13 games in Detroit, allowing just 22 hits over 40.1 innings with a 55/16 K:BB ratio. He wouldn’t close with the Cubs, but as a left-hander, Wilson would become an integral part of manager Joe Maddon‘s late-innings bullpen mix.
But now it seems that Avila may prove just as crucial an addition, if not more so. With Detroit he was the starting catcher, and had a stellar .387 on-base percentage over 274 plate appearances. Avila also demonstrated some pop, with 11 homers and 32 RBI.
He certainly doesn’t lack for the confidence to step into the Cubs starting role, for however long they need him. “There’s nothing to hang our heads,’’ Avila said per Nightengale. “No reason to be upset. We’re in first place. We got to keep grinding away. Got to keep playing hard. We’re in a great position.’’
The Cubs are indeed in first place. However, their lead is just 1.5 games over Milwaukee and Saint Louis. The arch-rival Cardinals have been playing good ball for weeks. If the Cubs want to remain on top, the ability of Avila to effectively step in while Contreras is out is likely to prove a crucial factor.

MLB 2017 All-Surprise Team

We are now more than two full months into the 2017 MLB regular season. At this point, sustained success can usually be considered more than a simple hot streak.
A look across the statistical leader boards of Major League Baseball reveals some surprising names. 
As fans vote for their favorites to appear in the starting lineups at the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, few of these players have a shot to win.
However, if they can keep up their strong performances of these first two months, some will undoubtedly find their way on to the rosters of the NL and AL squads at the mid-summer classic.
Surprises don’t stop with individual player performances. A look at the current standings reveals a number of surprise teams across the Major League Baseball landscape.
For instance, who would have predicted back in March that the Minnesota Twins would be leading the AL Central Division at this point? Or that the Angels and Rays would still be squarely in the AL Wildcard race this late?

The Milwaukee Brewers are tied with the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. The Colorado Rockies are on top of the NL West heap. The Arizona Diamondbacks are in that western race, and are solidly in control of an NL Wildcard spot.
Who knows how long these surprise teams will continue to impact the 2017 MLB season? But while they are producing at such an impactful level, let’s take a shot at naming some players to an “All-Surprise Team” in Major League Baseball.