Phillips dances, Gallo clinches in Players League

April 27th, 2020

Brett Phillips’ record may have fallen under .500 (13-14), but the Royals outfielder has consistently ranked No. 1 in entertainment during the MLB The Show Players League.

On Sunday night, Phillips was sporting his regular eye black and sunglasses and added a helmet, bat, batting gloves and, most importantly, an intro dance to get himself game-ready.

“Here we go, baby!” Phillips yelled before his first game of the night. “Hype it up, chat!”

He then jumped out of his seat, grabbed his bat and glove and began dancing to “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood. This ritual preceded each game, and he saved his longest -- and most involved -- routine for the end of the night just before signing off.

Against Bo Bichette (Blue Jays), Phillips’ intro dance ran a little late, and he was forced to run to his chair as the game was getting underway. But his rushed start didn’t impact his play, as he put up 14 runs on 13 hits in the first inning, allowing him to showcase all of his sound effects, including celebratory horns and songs that he played after runs scored.

“We’re playing some good baseball right now,” Phillips said during the inning. “It’s definitely the helmet.”

Because of his hot start, Bichette decided to hit virtual Phillips with a pitch in his first at-bat, prompting an overly excited reaction out of the Kansas City outfielder.

Phillips defeated Bichette, 15-10, for his only victory of the night. But the win came at a cost. His running man, air guitar and celebrations had him yelling for medical attention at the end of the game.

“Coach, I need some Advil,” Phillips yelled while laughing. “I’m sweating, my hands, they’re cramped. ... This helmet is squeezing my head so hard. But you know what? I’m grinding it out.”

Gallo clinches
Blake Snell (Rays) has some company. With a 4-0 night, slugger Joey Gallo and the Rangers have clinched their spot in the playoffs, sitting at the top of the leaderboard with a 23-4 record.

“Is that good?” Gallo joked of his record at the end of the night. “I’ve heard that’s pretty good.”

Gallo defeated Cole Tucker (Pirates), Tommy Kahnle (Yankees), Hunter Pence (Giants) and Jesús Luzardo (A’s) to extend his winning streak to five games. He has two remaining matchups for the final day of the regular season on Monday against Juan Soto (Nationals) and Ian Happ (Cubs).

Looking to clinch
Jeff McNeil (Mets) went 2-0 against Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) and Dwight Smith Jr. (Orioles), winning in walk-off fashion in both contests to improve his overall record to 17-7. Against St. Louis, McNeil delivered a game-winning homer with Yoenis Céspedes before hitting a walk-off double with Robinson Canó against Baltimore.

Smith wrapped up his regular season by improving to 17-10 with a 2-1 showing on Sunday night against Luzardo, McNeil and Carlos Santana (Indians).

Bichette had a big night, playing six games, including a matchup against Josh Hader (Brewers) on MLB Network. He got off to a strong start, launching a grand slam to give him his first of four wins on the night. He’ll enter the final day of regular-season play on Monday with a 19-7 record.

Happ extended his winning streak to six games after a 2-0 night against Ty Buttrey (Angels) and Rhys Hoskins (Phillies).

The playoff picture

  1. Joey Gallo (Rangers) -- 23-4 (clinched playoff spot)
  2. Blake Snell (Rays) -- 21-4 (clinched playoff spot)
  3. Bo Bichette (Blue Jays) -- 19-7
  4. Gavin Lux (Dodgers) -- 18-7
  5. Jeff McNeil (Mets) -- 17-7
  6. Tommy Kahnle (Yankees) -- 17-8
  7. Dwight Smith Jr. (Orioles) -- 19-10
  8. Lucas Giolito (White Sox) -- 17-9

Outside looking in
9) Ian Happ (Cubs) -- 16-9
10 tie) Amir Garrett (Reds) -- 17-11
10 tie) Fernando Tatís Jr. (Padres) -- 17-11
11) Trevor May (Twins) -- 15-10
12) Josh Hader (Brewers) -- 16-11

Monday’s games to watch
The time has come. The regular season will come to an end on Monday with 26 players slated to finish off the remainder of their schedules.

Watch as Lux, McNeil, Bichette, Kahnle and Giolito aim to maintain their hold on their playoff spots, while others like Garrett, Smith, Happ, Tatís, Hader and May will look to force their way into the postseason picture.

Where to watch
Over the next few days, the league will be livestreamed on MLB social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), MLB Network's Twitch site, "MLB The Show" social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), the clubs’ social media accounts and Each player will also stream it from their individual Twitch or YouTube accounts.

Aside from those streams, in order to provide a full gameday experience, MLB Network will provide a livestream in which it will select the best one-on-one matchups and look into other game results and friendly banter.