When Detroit reliever Willie Hernandez won the MVP in 1984, he pitched in 80 games. The current trend in bullpen management – in which the best relievers are used primarily in the ninth inning to close out victories – didn’t start until later. Now many teams take specialization a step further, assigning the closer to the ninth inning and another setup man to the eighth. ”They like their roles, they kind of know when they’ve got to get out there, they know what time they’ve got to be there, they know when to get loose and what their roles might be.” Over the course of a 162-game season, there’s something to be said for establishing a sense of routine – and limiting certain relievers to certain situations can help control workloads.

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Post info: By PhillyFanatic on July 28th, 2014
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The Miami Marlins have used strong pitching to put together an impressive winning stretch and remain in the postseason discussion as the trade deadline nears. A similar formula has helped the Washington Nationals maintain their lead atop the NL East. The clubs will open a three-game series Monday night in Miami with the home team hoping to equal its best winning streak of the season. The Marlins (51-53) have won four straight and seven of eight after completing a three-game sweep in Houston and a 6-1 road trip with Sunday’s 4-2 victory.

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Jake Peavy, Chase Headley, Kendrys Morales and Joakim Soria all relocated in a hectic Week That Was.

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Domonic Brown and the Phillies had a rare power surge. Brown homered, doubled and drove in three runs to lead Philadelphia to a 9-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. Grady Sizemore had three hits, including the 1,000th of his career, with a double and an RBI for the Phillies, who entered 12th in the NL in runs. ”Real good swings of the bats, extra-base hits, bases on balls,” manager Ryne Sandberg said.

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The Stew’s Trade Talk Tracker follows the juiciest rumors in MLB until the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. We’ll give you the day’s most important links about who may (or may not) be changing teams soon.
WILLING TO MOVE: Matt Kemp is open to a trade and five teams have reportedly contacted the Dodgers. [ CBS Sports ]
EATING MONEY:  The Mets are willing to absorb $2 million of the roughly $14 million left on Bartolo Colon’s contract to trade him. He’s due to make $11 million next season. [ New York Daily News ]
PHILLES ALSO WILLING:  Philadelphia will eat a portion of the $18 million still owed to Jonathan Papelbon. [ CBS Sports ]
RYAN HOWARD UPDATE: General manager Ruben Amaro “fully expects” Ryan Howard to be the Phillies first baseman in 2015. [ @ToddZolecki ]
VESTING OPTION:  Jimmy Rollins’ $11 million option for next season vested on Friday. It shouldn’t affect his trade value since it was expected. [ CBS Sports ] 

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The Philadelphia Phillies ended a four-game losing streak Thursday, with closer Jonathan Papelbon pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn the save in a 2-1 victory against the San Francisco Giants. Cheers all around at Citizens Bank Park, right? Not at the start of the inning. Some boo birds flew about the ballpark when Papelbon made his entrance. It seems some where unhappy that he blew a save Monday and took the loss Tuesday leading up to the save.
That’s OK, Papelbon said. Via CSN Philly , he said it doesn’t bother him in the least when fans boo:

“No, I enjoy it,” he said. “I just think that it’s fun. It just brings a little bit of energy and life to the park and gives me a little bit of something to look forward to every day.”

Wouldn’t he rather the park chant his name like in “Gladiator,” or something? Apparently not. Papelbon is just a different kind of cat.

Papelbon regretted that only half the ballpark booed him.

“I heard some of them,” he said. “But that’s it? Maybe we can get the whole park going here soon.”

He also likened getting booed in Philly to a big brother/little brother relationship. You’ve got to be able to take it, if you want to dish it out, Papelbon says, in the City of Brotherly Love. (Oh, and he’s the big brother, by the way.)
Papelbon has 24 saves in 27 opportunities, to go along with a sub-2.00 ERA. Despite throwing with diminished velocity these days, he’s still getting the opponent out in the ninth inning. But, because of his sometimes abrasive personality and an overall lousy season by the Phillies, he’s going to hear about it when he fails. Or even before he’s expected to fail.
Which means Philly fans are likely to start cheering the next time they see him, because it’s the opposite of what Papelbon wants.
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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!
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Yo, Philly, meet your new big brother.
His name is Jonathan Papelbon.
The Phillies ’ closer was booed lustily when he entered Thursday’s game, but that’s what happens when you blow a save and take the loss in the previous two nights’ games.
Papelbon righted the ship Thursday afternoon. Even after throwing 55 pitches the previous two nights, he answered the call and delivered a 10-pitch save in the Phillies’ sweep-averting, 2-1 win over the Giants at Citizens Bank Park.
It was his 24th save of the season and the 310th of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage for 21st on the all-time list.
Papelbon did not mind hearing boos from some of the crowd of 33,358.
He feeds off wearing the black hat, loves being the villain. Boos don’t bother him.
They fuel him.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I just think that it’s fun. It just brings a little bit of energy and life to the park and gives me a little bit of something to look forward to do every day.”
Papelbon regretted that only half the ballpark booed him.
“I heard some of them,” he said. “But that’s it ? Maybe we can get the whole park going here soon.”
Papelbon explained why boos don’t bother him.
“You’ve got to be able to take it if you want to dish it out, right?” he said. “I think that goes both ways for me. It’s kind of like a big brother-little brother relationship, I would say.”
And what would that make Pap, the big brother or the little brother?
“Big brother,” he said without hesitation.
Paplebon also likes some of the, ahem, nice things he hears from fans in the bullpen. And he hears lots of them.
“Of course, man, I play in Philadelphia,” he said. “Yeah, there’s some good ones. I can’t really say them on camera. But there’s some good ones. You get a chuckle every now and then.
“It doesn’t bother me, man. I enjoy playing here. I really do. It’s all part of the territory man.”
Two and a half years into his tenure in Philadelphia, Papelbon is finally showing the good side of his personality. He was ornery, as pleasant as barbed wire, for most of the first two years here. He’s still ornery now, but it’s more like pro-wrestler ornery, more like his inner Ric Flair coming out.
It’s all the latest example of this: They learn to say hello when it’s time to say good-bye.
Papelbon is very much on the trade block — and he would welcome a ticket out of Philadelphia. The question is: Will any team take him and his high salary? The Tigers and Angels, two teams with closer woes, passed on him and acquired other closers.
So maybe Papelbon, owed the remainder of $13 million this year, $13 million next year and possibly another $13 million in 2016 if his option kicks in, sticks around a little longer.
It sounds like he will have a positive attitude if he does.
“For me, I really, really like our situation down there in the bullpen. I really truly do,” he said. “I like being a part of it. Just the circumstances are we’re not in a playoff situation or a winning situation right now and, of course, if I had the opportunity to go to a playoff contending team, yeah that’s all fine and dandy.
“But at the end of the day, if nothing happens, nothing happens. I don’t have any control over that. Like I said, I enjoy my situation here and we’ve got a great captain down there in (bullpen coach) Rod Nichols and a great group of young guys that are all hungry and push me and I push them and it’s a fun atmosphere. We’ve got a good thing going down there and if I was to leave, I would be lying to say I wouldn’t miss that.”
After throwing 65 pitches the last three games, Papelbon will likely have the night off Friday.
But if he gets in the game Saturday night, feel free to greet him the way he likes to be greeted.
Boo his ass.
— Jim Salisbury, CSNPhilly.com

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The San Francisco Giants hit the road after the All-Star break and took care of business. After a 5-2 trip away from the Bay Area, the first-place Giants (57-45) welcome the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers (56-47) to AT&T Park for a three-game weekend series that has must-see entertainment written all over it. “It’s going to be a good, exciting series — it’s what you play for,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said after his team’s 2-1 loss to the Phillies on Thursday that concluded the trip. San Francisco holds a 1 1/2-game lead over Los Angeles in the National League West.

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San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is a bundle of energy every time he’s on the field. On Wednesday night in Philadelphia — one of his former baseball homes — he perhaps had a little too much energy built up, and at one critical point during the game that led to a hilarious baserunning blunder.
With the game scoreless in the eighth inning, Pence attempted to manufacture a scoring chance by stealing second base and moving into scoring position. The good news: he had a fantastic jump and beat the throw by Carlos Ruiz by plenty. The bad news: he slid right on past the safety of second base and into no man’s land.

At this point, most baserunners would have either given up or made a token attempt to get back to second. But this is Hunter Pence we’re talking about. He’s not going to give himself up that easy and he’s not going to give a token effort. Instead, he popped up and made a beeline for third base.
Hey, it made sense in his mind at the time. Unfortunately for Pence, the speedy Rollins ended up chasing after him and then flipped to third baseman Andres Blanco to record the 2-6-5 caught stealing. That’s no stolen base credited if you’re scoring at home, but many laughs were had at Pence’s expense in Philadelphia. 
Of course, in typical Hunter Pence fashion, he ended up getting the last and loudest laugh of all anyway. In a matter of an inning’s time, he went from goat to hero by delivering a bases-clearing double off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. That hit held up as the game-winner in San Francisco’s 3-1 victory over the Phillies .
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”Pence is the guy you want up there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ”He has the knack of putting the ball in the right place. Pence is amazing. He has so much energy and he’s relentless. We’re lucky to have him.”
All a in night’s work…
Oh, wait, that wasn’t his only heroic act. Pence also played the role of medic, bringing the Phillly Phanatic back to life after he fell to the ground making fun of Pablo Sandoval. 
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“I just didn’t want him to die,” Pence said.

Hunter Pence: A man of action, and an inspiration to all.  
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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Freddie Freeman ended his seasonlong frustration against Miami with his first home run in nearly a month to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 6-1 win over the Marlins on Wednesday at Turner Field. Freeman, Atlanta’s All-Star first baseman, entered the game with a .088 batting average in 11 games against Miami this season. He changed his luck in the second inning with a long three-run home run to the opposite field in left against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi (5-6). It was Freeman’s first homer against Miami this season and his first long ball since June 26 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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