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ESPN's Peter Gammons reports that the official asking price that the Toronto Blue Jays have asked of the Phillies for Roy Halladay is starting pitcher J.A. Happ, top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek and outfield prospect Dominic Brown. So far, the Phillies haven't caved into those demands, and quite frankly, we don't know why they would.
First of all, for those who have short memories, the Phillies won the World Series last season, so it's not as if they don't think this current group can get the job done. Secondly, with a 6½-game cushion in the NL East, they have no real reason to think they won't get back into the playoffs without making a move. And, most importantly, it's not the starting pitching that needs a boost.
The lineup has scored more runs than any other team in the National League. On Saturday, Jimmy Rollins went 5-for-5 with a grand slam, Shane Victorino went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, and the team scored 11 runs after the sixth inning. Philadelphia is scoring more than five runs a game both at home and on the road. With a starting rotation that hasn't completely yet performed up to expectations, certainly Halladay would help -- but at the expense of Happ, the only Phillies starter with an ERA under 3.00 (even after getting lit up by the Cardinals on Friday)? It doesn't make sense.
No, what Philadelphia needs to do is shore up that bullpen. It just placed Clay Condrey on the 15-day disabled list, and he joined Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero on the sideline. Ineffective Andrew Carpenter was sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Steven Register and Kyle Kendrick take their slots. Brad Lidge has been far from perfect this season at closer, with an 0-4 record and a 7.20 ERA.
Sure, Halladay makes for media buzz and splashy headlines. But acquiring George Sherrill, Heath Bell, Chad Qualls or even David Weathers would cost far less and be worth much more, perhaps even a return invitation to the White House.
• While the Phillies ponder a Halladay deal, the Cardinals have gotten instant dividends from Matt Holliday, who has gone 6-for-9 with three doubles, two RBIs and a steal since in his first two games since St. Louis acquired him on Friday. He's just continuing his hot streak this month, as he's hitting .377 in July.
• On the subject of trades, Adam LaRoche hit a homer in his Red Sox debut, a two-run shot in the eighth inning. He hit seventh in the order, behind Mike Lowell, while Kevin Youkilis had the night off.
• Carlos Guillen's return to the lineup continues to be the difference for the Tigers in their series against the White Sox. Guillen hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday to give Detroit a 4-3 win. Chicago's Bobby Jenks blew his fourth save of the season when he couldn't protect a 3-2 lead heading into the ninth.
• Baa, baa, Blackburn, have you any stuff? Nope. Twins starter Nick Blackburn was tagged for six runs in just 3 2/3 innings as the Angels put a 9-spot on the board in the fourth inning en route to an 11-5 win. Maicer Izturis went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, and Chone Figgins was 2-for-4 with a homer of his very own for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the USA of Planet Earth.
• Two different ballgames were rolled into one in Toronto. The first game was the 8-0 lead that Toronto mustered against David Price and the Rays in the first four innings. Price's road ERA is now 8.20 on the season, compared with 3.04 at home. Aaron Hill was 3-for-5 with two home runs. The second game was the one in which the Rays stormed back to tie things with nine runs from the sixth inning on to send the game to extra frames. Carlos Pena homered, tripled and had four RBIs. However, it was Jason Bartlett's RBI double in the 12th inning that provided the difference, giving Tampa Bay the only W awarded on the day.
• Gio Gonzalez wasn't the most likely candidate for fantasy goodness heading into Yankee Stadium on Saturday, but he gave those owners brave enough to start him a tasty treat. Gonzalez held the pinstripes to just one run and two hits in 6 2/3 innings, and one of those hits was a bunt single by Melky Cabrera. He struck out six and improved to 2-2 on the season with a win. Orlando Cabrera helped Gonzalez with two-run double in a six-run sixth.
• Alfonso Soriano went 3-for-4 with a solo homer on Saturday, improving his second-half batting average to .438. On the other side of the field, Joey Votto went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs, improving his July batting average to .363. But it was the pitching of Kevin Hart that was the difference, as his six innings of one-run, five-hit ball helped the Cubs best Johnny Cueto and the Reds 5-3.
• If Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson don't want to sign contract extensions, then they had better start hitting if they want out of Pittsburgh before the trade deadline. Sanchez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and Wilson went 0-for-3, as both players returned to the Pirates' lineup in what amounts to an audition for any potential suitors. Their lackluster performance only helped pitcher Doug Davis in his attempt to woo his way out of Arizona. Davis threw six scoreless innings and struck out eight in the 7-0 victory.
• Break up the Rockies! They continue their playoff surge with another stellar outing from Jorge De La Rosa, who struck out seven Giants and walked none in 7 1/3 innings. De La Rosa is 8-1 since an 0-6 start. Troy Tulowitzki went 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs in the 8-2 victory.
• What can we say about Yovani Gallardo? It wasn't the greatest pitching performance, as he allowed four hits and four walks in 7 1/3 innings while striking out six Atlanta Braves, but he kept them off the scoreboard. Plus, he went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. Gallardo's efforts bested Tommy Hanson, who lost for the first time in his young career. Hanson pitched well despite having lost close to 12 pounds this week thanks to illness but seemed to be missing some pop in his pitches, striking out only one in seven innings of two-run, nine-hit ball.
Julio Lugo, Cardinals
Something in the water in St. Louis must appeal to Lugo, as he's been on fire since being acquired for Chris Duncan. Lugo went 4-for-5 on Saturday and is hitting .600 in the National League. That's not too surprising, as Lugo had hit .389 for the Red Sox during interleague play earlier this season. Welcome back to fantasy relevance, Julio.
Jon Lester, Red Sox
Lugo's former teammate held the Orioles to just two runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lester struck out nine in the contest and improved to 9-0 in 11 career starts against the Birds. As Boston manager Terry Francona put it on the team's official Web site, "The way he's throwing, I'd hate to say it doesn't matter [who he's facing], but if he pitches like that, he's going to be OK."
Don't worry, Royals fans, we didn't forget about Luke Hochevar, who struck out 13 Texas Rangers in seven innings of five-hit ball to earn his sixth victory of the season. Not only has Hochevar registered 22 strikeouts in his past two starts, but he also hasn't walked any hitters. You have to go back to Pedro Martinez in 2002 to find a two-game walkless "streak" with more strikeouts (23).
• The Mets recalled Jonathon Niese from Triple-A Buffalo to start against the Astros on Saturday, and he did pretty well. Niese threw seven innings of one-run ball and got plenty of run support in a 10-3 win. To make room for Niese on the roster, Gary Sheffield joined the ever-growing list of Mets to be placed on the disabled list this season. He has a strained right hamstring.
• Chicago Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly was placed on the 15-day disabled list thanks to inflammation of his left shoulder. Because he's already on the shelf, Lilly will use the opportunity to also have arthroscopic surgery on his sore knee. He is expected to miss four starts.
• The Indians decided to give Jeremy Sowers another shot in their rotation, bringing the pitcher back from Triple-A Columbus. He was 2-7 with a 5.77 ERA before his demotion in early July, but he returned with a vengeance, throwing seven shutout innings against Seattle on Saturday.
• Speaking of Seattle, the Mariners finally have decided that Wladimir Balentien is not the answer in the outfield. Balentien, hitting just .213 on the season, was designated for assignment and replaced on the roster by Michael Saunders, who was hitting .310 with 13 homers and 32 RBIs in 64 games for Triple-A Tacoma. Saunders went 0-for-4 in his debut Saturday.
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Stephania Bell: Well, I think knowing he's headed for surgery in the offseason and knowing it could flare anytime has to remain a cause for concern. That being said he continues to plow through, but it seems that the elbow is hindering him to some degree. I think if it starts to become a pain issue again they'll back him off in order to avoid another extended (DL) absence.
-- Full chat transcript
James Quintong: Yes, Longoria is struggling as well, but he's also hit a few homers, unlike Wright. I think Longoria will turn things around, and it could be a good time to get him if someone is trying to jump ship.
-- Full chat transcript
Monday's fantasy chat schedule:
Christopher Harris, 11 a.m. ET
Matthew Berry, 3 p.m. ET
• Brett Wallace, acquired by Oakland in the Matt Holliday deal, debuted for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. Wallace went 2-for-6 in a 12-inning affair but, more importantly, was excited to be with his new organization. "It's a dream come true," he told MiLB.com. "I've always wanted to play for the Oakland A's, so once I got here and got into the clubhouse and met the team and actually got to put my jersey on and go out and play a game with this organization was pretty awesome."
• Baltimore manager Dave Trembley may have been speaking in code, but it wasn't too hard to decipher. He told reporters this weekend that the Orioles would call up a pitcher from the minors to start Wednesday against Zack Greinke and the Royals. How could it be anyone else but the much-ballyhooed Chris Tillman?
• Even mediocre pitchers have success against the Royals, and Texas' Kevin Millwood received some extra luck with Jose Guillen on the disabled list. Guillen is 14-for-32 against Millwood in his career.
• The streak is up to seven; that is, seven consecutive starts that Houston's Brian Moehler has allowed three runs or fewer. It's ugly at times, but he's getting the job done, and with an opportunity to face a decimated Mets lineup, that streak should reach eight.
For more on Sunday's games, check out the MLB Daily Notes.