Padres, Phillies close first half with trade deadline on their minds (Jul 09, 2017)

BY AP • July 8, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- Sunday marks the end of the first portion of the Major League Baseball season, and for struggling teams like the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, it really means the trade deadline is looming.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, whose team has the worst record (28-58) in baseball, held a pregame media session before a 2-1 loss to the Padres on Saturday. He talked about the state of the team and the potential for a busy few weeks before July 31.

"I would expect we would be more active than last year," Klentak said. "I think a lot of our short-term controlled players have had nice first halves. I think that's going to put us in position to field a lot of inquiries and we are fielding those inquiries."

Those inquiries will only go up after and during the All-Star festivities in Miami.

San Diego (38-49) is likely to hear plenty regarding the pitcher it sends to the mound in a series finale against the Phillies on Sunday.

Trevor Cahill, a right-hander with a 3-2 record and a 2.96 ERA, is on a one-year deal and could help a contender that needs some rotation depth. Cahill has been limited to seven starts this year because of two stints on the disabled list (shoulder and back), but he has been impressive when he has been on the mound.

Cahill faces Phillies RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-7, 4.93) in the series finale.

Eickhoff, who looked last year like he'd become a strong piece of the Philadelphia rotation moving forward, will make his first start since June 17 after going on the disabled list with a back injury.

Eickhoff had success in two starts against the Padres last year, going 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings. He allowed four earned runs and nine hits with 14 strikeouts in the two starts combined.

Cahill is 2-4 with a 3.40 ERA in 11 appearances (five starts) against Philadelphia. He made two bullpen appearances against the Phillies in 2016.

Cahill returned from the disabled list to make his first start since May 13 on July 4. In a 1-0 San Diego win, he allowed four hits and no runs while striking out four in 4 1/3 innings. He threw 85 pitches in his return.

"I thought, all things together, he didn't miss a beat," Padres manager Andy Green told "He was right back the way he was before. I think maybe not quite the fastball command he's had before, but the breaking stuff was off the charts."

The Padres are probably hopeful for more of the same from him on Sunday and moving forward. Cahill and reliever Brad Hand, the team's lone All-Star representative, are sure to be among the players opposing general managers call about the most.

Those calls won't come from Klentak, who isn't in the market for a rental.

So Sunday's series matchup features two teams too far out of contention to make a playoff run, but they're in the most critical stretch of their seasons.

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