Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ryon Healy Homers Twice, Drives In 5 As A's Top Jays; Odubel Herrera Leads Phillies Over Braves

Players of the Day for Monday, June 5, 2017

Healy: 2HR, 5 RBI
American League

In Oakland, there isn't much to be happy about, such as the NFL Raiders being set to move to Las Vegas in 2020, and the area's baseball team, the Oakland A's, in last place in the AL West.

Whatever the mood in the second city by the bay, the baseball season is long, and only a third finished as of this date, so the A's trudge onward. Opening a three game series with the Toronto Blue Jays, the A's came up 5-3 winners with all of their runs driven in by second-year DH Ryon Healy.

Socking a pair of home runs off Toronto starter, A.J. Happ (0-4, 5.33), Healy offers some degree of hope in the future success of the A's, being that he's only 25 and has already equaled his home run total from last season (13) in fewer games (56 vs. 72) and will surpass his RBI total from 2016 shortly, as he drove in 37 last year and has driven in 33 this year.

Healy whacked a three-run shot in the second and followed up in his next at-bat with a two-run belt. Done and done. Oakland pitching did the rest, with starter Sean Manaea (5-3, 3.81) allowing two earned over six innings and a trio of A's relievers giving up just two hits and one run (Justin Smoak's 15th home run, a solo shot in the eighth) over the final three frames.

The A's host Toronto in game two of the series on Tuesday. Game time is 7:05 pm PT.

Herrera: 2 doubles, HR
National League

At 20-35, the Phillies have the worst record in the majors, but every now and then they upset another team by actually beating them. It's not that the Phillies are a bad team - though they might be - it's just that after trading away or releasing all of the good players that made them a contender in the 2000s, they've not made the effort to rebuild.

But, they do possibly have the nucleus of a future team in the two, three and four batters in their current lineup, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, and Tommy Joseph.

Each member of that trio socked home runs in Philly's 11-4 victory at Atlanta, were a combined 9-for-14 and combined to drive in eight of the Phillies' 11 runs.

Herrera had the best at-bats, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a two-run homer, the round-tripper coming in a five-run fourth inning that put Philadelphia ahead, 9-0. Herrera, 25, had his two doubles prior to that, scoring both times, in the first and third innings.

Having been the starting center fielder for Philly the past two seasons, Herrera's position is pretty solid, with a .283 career batting average, 28 homers, 112 RBI and 45 steals. Altherr is a 26-year-old right fielder with a .295 average, nine home runs and 31 RBI. First baseman Tommy Jospeh, in his second year, is 25, and has 10 long balls and 28 RBI with a .245 average.

So, while the Phillies may not be going anywhere in particular this season, the future surrounding the middle of their batting order has a high degree of upside.

The win was in the opener of a four-game series in Atlanta. Game two is scheduled for Tuesday, 7:35 pm ET.

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