Losing streak might push Phillies to sell

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PHILADELPHIA — If there was any doubt which direction the Philadelphia Phillies were going at the trade deadline, a disastrous road trip had to make the organization’s decision easier.

The Phillies put themselves in the playoff mix with a surge before the All-Star break. But they’ve lost eight consecutive games since to the New York Mets, St. Louis and Detroit.

At 49-56, they were 11 games behind division-leading Atlanta and 9½ games out of a wild-card spot Monday. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted before the losing streak that he planned to be a buyer before Wednesday’s nonwaiver trade deadline.

Now, selling seems more likely. Closer Jonathan Papelbon, All-Star lefty Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz are among the players that should generate interest from contenders

“I don’t want anybody to leave from here,” Ruiz said after Sunday’s loss to the Tigers. “It’s not in our hands, it’s from our front office, so our job is, continue to play and see what happens.

“I hope we change everything and play good baseball, and leave that to Ruben and the front office.”

RAYS: Acquired injured reliever Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox in an attempt to bolster their bullpen for the AL East stretch run.

The White Sox will receive players to be named or cash for Crain, a 32-year-old right-hander who is 2-3 with a 1.15 ERA in 38 appearances. The deal was announced before the Rays faced the division-leading Red Sox in Boston on Monday.

TIGERS: Added some help for their shaky bullpen, acquiring reliever Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for minor league outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named.

Veras is 0-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 19 saves this season, and the 32-year-old right-hander has struck out 44 in 43 innings with only 14 walks.

Detroit entered the season with a lot of uncertainty at the closer spot, and although Benoit has pitched well in that role of late, the AL Central-leading Tigers still needed bullpen depth. Aside from Benoit and Smyly, none of their other relievers have been effective on a consistent basis.


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