*** PHILLIES ARE IN BOSTON FOR A TWO-GAME SET WITH RED SOX AT FENWAY PARK *** PHILLIES TIED WITH METS, TWO GAMES BEHIND CUBS FOR THE SECOND NL WILDCARD PLAYOFF SPOT ***

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How Phillies GM Matt Klentak channeled "Hoosiers" at the trade deadline

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Matt Klentak's team is on the floor

In the classic 1986 film “Hoosiers”, Gene Hackman stars as basketball coach Norman Dale, who takes the reigns of a rural Indiana high school team in the early-1950’s.
Hackman/Dale is an old-school coach, even for those long-ago days. He uses a number of tough-love methods, trying to mold his team into a winner despite a highly skeptical and passionate fan base in the local community.
In one such incident, Dale’s Hickory High School team begins a game with just six players. He benches one for disobeying his rules, and when another player fouls out, Dale refuses to allow the benched player to take the floor.
The referee approaches and says “Coach, ya need one more,‘ to which Dale replies “My team’s on the floor.
In this analogy, Phillies fans are the referee. Matt Klentak is Norman Dale.
Sure, leading up to Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline, Klentak had added lefties Drew Smyly and Jason Vargas, bumping both Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin to the bullpen.
But Phillies fans wanted more. They wanted a co-ace to pair with Aaron Nola at the top of the rotation. Or at the very least, someone who would slot in as a legitimately talented, proven #2-type starting pitcher behind the right-hander.
Those Phillies fans wanted someone such as Zack GreinkeMadison BumgarnerRobbie Ray or Alex Wood.
And so, on trade deadline day, the fan base sat staring at their laptops, pads and phone screens thinking “Ya need one more.
But there would be no new ace added to the Phillies starting rotation on this day. And since are no longer waiver trades allowed during the month of August, there will be no new aces at all during the 2019 season.
Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweeted out that, in summary, Klentak’s position was that “We can’t trade our best prospects all the time. We weren’t willing to meet prices on better players.

Phillies will try to take series over Giants on Wednesday night

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Phillies welcome the Giants back in to Citizens Bank Park

The Philadelphia Phillies (56-50) and San Francisco Giants (54-53) continue their series on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.
As a result of their 4-2 victory in the series opener on Tuesday night, the Phillies have moved into a tie for the second National League Wildcard playoff berth with the Chicago Cubs, trailing the Washington Nationals by just a half-game and tied with the Nats in the loss column.
The loss dropped the Giants three games back in that loss column. San Francisco entered the series as the hottest team in Major League Baseball over the last six weeks, having won 23 of their previous 33 games to get back into the postseason picture.
Just prior to the MLB trade deadline, which passed at 4:00 pm this afternoon, both clubs swung deals. The Phillies added veteran outfielder Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants sent relievers Sam DysonDrew PomeranzMark Melancon and Ray Black away, with Melancon going to the Atlanta Braves. San Francisco also acquired second baseman Scooter Gennett from the Cincinnati Reds.
After coming with what appeared to be a very weak, inexperienced lineup on Tuesday night, Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will be retiring after this season, has loaded the batting order with veterans for this Wednesday night tilt.
With scattered showers and thunderstorms in the forecast, tonight’s game could prove a challenge for the pitching staffs of both clubs. Storms have already been rolling through Philly on and off during the afternoon. There is a 60% chance at the scheduled first pitch, dropping to 40% throughout the remainder of the ball game.

Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson moving across state to Phillies

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Outfielder Corey Dickerson moving across the state

In a deal first reported by ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, the Philadelphia Phillies have acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In exchange, the Phillies will be sending international slot money to Pittsburgh.
Dickerson is a 30-year-old left-handed hitter (fields right-handed) who was the eighth round choice of the Colorado Rockies in the 2010 MLB Draft out of Meridian Community College in his native Mississippi.
He debuted with the Rockies in the 2013 season, becoming their starting left fielder the following season. In January 2016, Dickerson was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays along with a prospect for pitcher German Marquez and Jake McGee.
With the Rays, Dickerson became the starting left fielder and a 2017 American League All-Star, blasting 51 home runs over the 2016-17 campaigns.
In February 2018, Dickerson was dealt to the Pirates for Daniel Hudson and a prospect. Last season in Pittsburgh, Dickerson won the National League Gold Glove Award for left fielders.
have acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for international signing bonus money and a player to be named later.

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This year, Dickerson injured his should in the first week and ending up spending more than two months on the Injured List. He returned and had put together a .317/.376/.556 slash line with four home runs, 18 doubles, 25 RBIs, and 20 runs scored over 141 plate appearances.

As 2019 MLB trade deadline arrives the Phillies remain linked to arms

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Folks at the MLB Network will be busy on trade deadline day

The 2019 trade deadline has finally arrived in Major League Baseball, and the Philadelphia Phillies continue to be linked to a number of players.
Two pitchers with the same first name are among the more frequently mentioned when it comes to deadline deals for the Phillies: Alex Wood and Alex Colome.
Wood is a 28-year-old left-hander currently with the Cincinnati Reds. The North Carolina native was a second round choice of the Atlanta Braves in the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of Georgia. He can become a free agent after this season, so would be a pure rental unless he can be signed to an extension.
Wood was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a huge 12-player, three-team deal between the Braves, Dodgers and Miami Marlins at the 2015 trade deadline. He was then sent to the Reds along with Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig back in December.
The southpaw has a 52-40 career record over 173 games (130 starts) across parts of seven big-league seasons. Due to back issues, Wood did not make his 2019 season debut with Cincinnati until this past weekend. On Sunday, Wood allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings against the Colorado Rockies.
The Phillies have taken a very close look at Alex Wood and have discussed Tanner Roark, too. With Cincinnati's acquisition of Trevor Bauer, figure one of those SP is on the move.

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Wood also would bring 16 games of postseason experience, including a pair of starts with the Dodgers, one each in the NLCS and World Series while with the Dodgers in 2017.
Wood is scheduled to make his next start on Friday. The Phillies have already announced that Jason Vargas will make his debut with the team that night, and Saturday is Aaron Nola‘s regular turn. Should Wood be acquired, he would most likely make his Phillies debut on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park against the Chicago White Sox.
Colome is a 30-year-old reliever out of the Dominican Republic. He is under club control via arbitration for one more season, and can become a free agent following the 2020 campaign.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Drew Smyly strong again on mound in series opener vs Giants

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Phillies get second straight strong outing from Drew Smyly

The Philadelphia Phillies left tons of base runners in scoring position, 10 left on base total, on a steaming hot Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, but still came away with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
With the win, the Phillies (56-50) moved three games up on the Giants (54-53) in the overall National League Wildcard race standings. Based on the results of other games involving that race, the Phillies will end the night tied for one of the two available Wildcard postseason berths.
The two teams battled through the first three innings scoreless, with the Phillies leaving a runner out at second base in each frame. But it would be the home side getting on the board first, finally pushing two runs across in the bottom of the 4th inning.
J.T. Realmuto and Cesar Hernandez started that inning with singles, with Realmuto rolling around to third base on the Hernandez base hit. Maikel Franco then hit into a 4-3 ground out, but Realmuto raced home with the game’s first run. Adam Haseley then ripped a double to right, with Hernandez racing around to make it a 2-0 game.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Phillies powered up with the longball to double their lead. After Bryce Harper drew a one-out walk, Rhys Hoskins crushed his 23rd home run of the season out to center field, pushing the Phillies out on top by a 4-0 margin.
The real story on this night for the home side was the pitching of newcomer Drew Smyly. The southpaw was brilliant, allowing just four hits and a walk over seven shutout frames, striking out five Giants batters.

Former Twins closer Blake Parker added to Phillies bullpen mix

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Blake Parker adds closing experience to Phillies bullpen mix

In their continuing search for upgrades to help their inconsistent bullpen, the Philadelphia Phillies signed former Minnesota Twins closer Blake Parker on Tuesday. He is expected to be in uniform for the series opener with the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park.
Parker is a 34-year-old native of Arkansas. The right-hander was selected by the Chicago Cubs with their 16th round pick in the 2006 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas and reached the big-leagues with the Cubs in 2012.
In 2015, after pitching with the Cubs over parts of the previous three seasons, Parker missed most of the year after undergoing elbow surgery due to ‘loose bodies’ in his right pitching elbow. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners, who used him for just one game before releasing him in August 2016.
Parker was quickly signed by the New York Yankees, appearing in 16 games over the last two months of that 2016 campaign. He would finally get a full, healthy shot at a bullpen role with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017 and excelled.
Over two seasons with the Angels in 2016-17, Parker registered 22 saves with a 2.90 ERA over 138 games. He allowed 103 hits over 133.2 innings with a 156/35 K:BB.
The Twins signed him to a one-year, $1.8 million free agent contract back in January. With Minnesota, Parker pitched in 37 games this year. He saved 10 games, allowing 34 hits over 36.1 innings with a 34/16 K:BB.
Parker had a rough patch from late-May through early-June. However, over a dozen games between June 15 and July 20, Parker allowed 13 hits over 13.1 innings with a 15/5 K:BB. During that stretch he posted a 1.35 ERA, allowing just one home run.
That led up to what would be his final outing in a Twins uniform, and it was a bad one. Against the New York Yankees at Target Field exactly one week ago tonight (Tuesday), Parker was beaten up, allowing four earned runs on three hits and a walk in just 1/3 of an inning.
Parker was designated for assignment by the Twins, who hoped to send him to the minor leagues. However, he opted to become a free agent instead. The Phillies jumped on him, hoping that he can bring a more consistent, veteran presence to their bullpen as the club makes a run at a postseason berth over the final two months.

Giants stomp into South Philly as surprise Wildcard contenders

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Bruce Bochy is in his final season as Giants skipper

The Philadelphia Phillies (55-50) and San Francisco Giants (54-52) are each squarely in the hunt for a National League Wildcard playoff berth with just nine weeks remaining in the 2019 MLB regular season.
However, the two teams came to that race in very different ways. The Phillies bolted out to a hot start over the season’s first two months, leading the NL East Division into late May before stumbling.
The Giants, on the other hand, stumbled out of the gate. As late as June 29, San Francisco found themselves a dozen games below the .500 mark. With the second-worst record in the National League, they sat 8.5 back of a Wildcard berth, 19.5 out and in last place in the NL West.
But the Giants suddenly and unexpectedly turned their season around, and turned the playoff race on its head. They have won 19 of their last 24, moved to second place in their division, and are just 2.5 back in the Wildcard hunt, 1.5 back of the Phillies.
The franchise has won three World Series titles in this decade: 2010, 2012 and 2014. They also reached the playoffs in 2016, the last postseason appearance for the team. With an aging ball club that has finished a collective 60 games below .500 over the last two seaons, this winning burst has shocked most in the game. Can it continue? Can this team possibly sustain their recent hot streak?
On Wednesday, the MLB trade deadline arrives. It was expected that the Giants were going to be a seller. That was the general consensus as recently as three weeks ago. Now, could Farhan Zaidi instead become a buyer, hoping to inject just enough talent to push the Giants back to the postseason for another run?
The Giants offense has averaged just 4.37 runs per game this season, 25th of the 30 teams in baseball. Their 109 home runs are next-to-last in the NL, as is their .698 OPS. Their combined .237 batting average is the lowest mark in the league, and their 28 steals are tied for last. In other words, this is a team that even Phillies pitching without Aaron Nola getting a start should be able to contain.
On the mound, Giants pitching is middle-of-the-road with a .251 batting average against, and ranks 13th in strikeouts and 14th in OPS against. In other words, they should not be a major challenge for the Phillies inconsistent offense.
These two teams have played one another tough over the last three seasons, with the Phillies holding an 11-9 edge in those head-to-head meetings. They will meet again by the bay at Oracle Park in San Francisco in a four-game series during the second week of August.

Monday, July 29, 2019

With nine weeks to go, Phillies remain in Wildcard contention

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Gabe Kapler's team is a clear Wildcard contender - for now

One week ago, I began a countdown as the Phillies attempt to push for a 2019 playoff berth, their first in eight years. That countdown began at ’10’, as in there were just ten weeks remaining in the regular season.
Here we are, one week later, and the countdown reaches ‘9’ with the club basically in the same spot. Last week, the Phillies were four games over the .500 mark, a half-game off the second NL Wildcard pace. They were 7.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
As they enjoy an off-day in the schedule, the Phillies are five games above the .500 mark, and now sit one full game back in that National League Wildcard race. They trail the Braves by 6.5 games in the NL East Division standings after dropping two of three to Atlanta over this past weekend.
Here is where the Phillies currently stand in both the division and wildcard races. Also included are the schedules for this week of any other club in reasonable contention.


NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION

  1. Atlanta Braves  62-44 (@WAS – 3, CIN – 4)
  2. Washington Nationals 56-49 (ATL – 3, @ARZ – 3)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies 55-50 (SFG – 3, CWS – 3)

NATIONAL LEAGUE WILDCARD (TWO AVAILABLE)

  1. Washington Nationals 56-49 (ATL – 3, @ARZ – 3)
  2. Chicago Cubs 56-49 / Saint Louis Cardinals (tied for NL Central lead and NL Wildcard, meet for 3 this week)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies 55-50 (SFG – 3, CWS – 3)
  4. Milwaukee Brewers 56-51 (@OAK – 3, @CHC – 3)
  5. San Francisco Giants 54-52 (@PHI – 3, @COL – 3)
  6. Arizona Diamondbacks 53-53 (@MIA – 1, @NYY – 2, WAS – 3)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Phillies crush Braves by 9-4 to salvage series finale at Citizens Bank Park

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J.T. Realmuto blasted a grand slam as one of four Phillies homers

The host Philadelphia Phillies (55-50) used the long ball, blasting four home runs to power past the Atlanta Braves (62-43) and salvage the series finale with a 9-4 victory on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Atlanta took the first two in this weekend set between the NL East Division rivals despite being out-hit by the Phillies by a 36-31 margin over the three games.
Still, this was a big victory for the Phillies. It came on a day when starting pitcher Aaron Nola looked to be totally in control, was given a big lead, and then suddenly hit a wall on a hot afternoon in South Philly, nearly blowing that lead before being bailed out by his offense.
The Phillies broke out on top with a pair of solo home runs. Bryce Harper started the scoring by slamming his 18th deep to center field off a first-pitch fastball from Braves starter Kevin Gausman in the bottom of the 1st inning. Then in the home 3rd, Adam Haseley lofted his third home run of the season just over the center field fence to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.
Adam Haseley’s solo home run to leadoff the bottom of the 3rd has made it a 2-0 Phillies lead.

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While Nola was keeping Atlanta off the scoreboard through the first half of the ball game, the Phillies offense was having a typically difficult time opening up their lead. That is, until the home 5th inning.  Nola led off with his second hit of the day. That was followed by singles from Scott Kingery and Jean Segura to load the bases with nobody out and the Phillies 3-4-5 hitters due up to bat.