ATLANTA A few hours before Friday night's game against the Atlanta Braves, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin had some words of praise for his starting pitcher, Ben Lively. "He's just very competitive," Mackanin said of the 25-year-old right-hander. The Braves' first six hitters of the game all reached base on hits (three singles, two doubles and a homer) and five of them scored.
Tanner Roark earned his first win in four 2017 starts against Atlanta last week, when he faced the Braves in the nation’s capital, going six innings on 108 pitches, and giving up four hits, a walk, and two earned runs in what ended up a 5-2 win. That outing left Washington’s right-handed starter (8-3) in eleven second-half outings in which he’d put up a 3.18 ERA, 22 walks, 74 Ks, and a .204/.270/.380 line against in 68 innings, after he went (6-6) in 18 appearances (17 of them starts) in the first half of the 2017 campaign, putting up a 5.27 ERA, 36 walks, 80 Ks, and a .278/.343/.417 line against in 100 2⁄3 IP before the All-Star Break. “He’s getting his stuff,” Dusty Baker said after last week’s
A look at what’s trending in MLB: THREE UP Iron men: There are two players who have started every game this year — curiously, the one with the highest on-base-plus-slugging percentage and the one with the lowest OPS, among the 86 players with at least 500 at-bats through Friday. The OPS leader: first baseman Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, an MVP candidate, who has 35 home runs, a .316 batting average and 50 more walks than strikeouts. Votto is trying to become the first Reds player to start every game in a non-strike season since Pete Rose in 1975. The OPS laggard: Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals, a relic from the era of good-field, no-hit shortstops. Votto had reached base 304