J.T. Realmuto becomes lone Phillies player named to 2019 NL All-Star squad

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Bryce Harper jokes with J.T. Realmuto at 2018 MLB All-Star Game

When general manager Matt Klentak made a big trade back on February 7 of this year to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins, he knew that the Philadelphia Phillies were gaining one of the most respected catchers in the game.

Klentak paid a big price to acquire the now 28-year-old from Oklahoma. Sent to Miami were the organization’s top pitching prospect, one of the most prized in the game, in right-hander Sixto Sanchez. Also going to the Marlins were catcher Jorge Alfaro and another minor league pitcher.
Realmuto was a big part of the Phillies early-season rise to the top of the NL East Division. Though his offensive production tailed off during what was a difficult month of June for the entire team, his defensive game never wavered.
The Phillies catcher remains one of the top backstops in all of Major League Baseball. This afternoon, that was recognized once again with his selection as a reserve on the National League All-Star team.
This marks a second consecutive NL All-Star nod for Realmuto. Last year as a member of the Marlins he was one of four backstops named to the NL squad. This year, at least as the initial reserves are announced, there will be three.

The starting catcher voted to the squad for a second straight year was Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. Joining Realmuto as a back-up behind the plate will be Yasmani Grandal of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Realmuto entered last year’s game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. as a defensive replacement for Contreras in the top of the 6th inning. He would make two plate appearances, walking twice and scoring a run during an 8-6 win for the American League.
The Phillies lone All-Star representative a year ago was pitcher Aaron Nola, who would go on to finish third in the NL Cy Young Award voting during a stellar 2018 campaign. Nola threw a scoreless 5th inning, allowing one hit and striking out two batters.
The most likely Phillies to also be considered were probably utility player Scott Kingery and reliever Hector Neris. Leading the Phillies in RBIs, Bryce Harper was an NL All-Star in each of the last four years and in six of his first seven season. Rhys Hoskins was a participant in last year’s Home Run Derby and is the Phillies current leader in home runs. None made the NL squad, at least in the initial announcement. It is possible that injuries and other considerations could still open an opportunity.
Realmuto is arbitration-eligible for one more season. He will become a free agent after the 2020 season if the Phillies do not sign him to a contract extension prior to that time. The 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place this year at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 9.

As June comes to an end, Phillies look to snap skid vs Marlins

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Phillies are desperate for a win at Marlins Park as June ends

The Philadelphia Phillies (43-40) have fallen 6.5 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East Division standings.

That difference can be almost entirely attributed to the two teams performance against the last-place Miami Marlins (32-49) this season.
While the Braves have dominated the Fish with an 8-1 head-to-head record, the Marlins have gone 7-5 against the Phillies. That includes victories in the last five games between the teams over the last two weekends.
While the Marlins continue to rank last in the entire National League in runs-per-game with their 3.62 mark, they also continue to defy their normal statistics when facing the Phillies pitching staff.
In the last four victories between the two teams, the Miami offense has produced 26 runs. That means they have scored nearly three more runs-per-game in those contests than the Marlins hitters average as their normal result.
When the series began, the key for the Phillies to get a series victory was to find a way to score against the stingy Marlins pitching staff while keeping their hitters in the ball park. Instead, the Fish bats have produced 23 hits including three long balls.
It’s no longer about a series victory. This one is lost. It will make five of the last six series dropped by the Phillies. In fact, today will bring to an end a disastrous month of June in which the club has gone just 10-16 to this point. They began the month at nine games over the .500 mark with a three-game lead in the NL East. At this point, they just need a win.

SUNDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Scott Kingery CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Brad Miller LF
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Jake Arrieta P
Jay Bruce remains out of the lineup, day-to-day for now with a sore elbow.

MARLINS

  1. Miguel Rojas SS
  2. Harold Ramirez RF
  3. Garrett Cooper 1B
  4. Brian Anderson 3B
  5. Curtis Granderson LF
  6. Starlin Castro 2B
  7. Jorge Alfaro C
  8. JT Riddle CF
  9. Trevor Richards P
Former Phillies catcher Alfaro is 0-5 since returning from a stint on the IL due to the MLB concussion protocol. He was the “Spotlight Player” in our series opposition preview of the Marlins, which contains some revealing information worth looking back on before the finale.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Jake Arrieta: 7-6, 4.33 ERA, 99 hits over 97.2 IP across 16 starts with a 75/39 K:BB. The 33-year-old right-hander has given the Phillies six innings in each of this last three outings. But while the first two of those were strong, he was tuned up by the Mets his last time out for five earned and nine hits including two homers in a game the team eventually won. He started twice in April vs Miami, dominating them on April 12 in Marlins Park, but getting hit hard in an April 27 start against Richards (below), one that the Phillies would win by 12-9.
MARLINS – Trevor Richards: 3-8, 3.94 ERA, 76 hits over 89 IP across 16 starts with an 80/38 K:BB. The 26-year-old right-hander was signed as an undrafted free agent in July 2016. Made his MLB debut last season, making 25 starts as a rookie. He has five starts already against the Phillies, going 1-3 with a 6.64 ERA. The Phillies beat him up on April 27 at Citizens Bank Park for five earned runs on six hits including two home runs over just four innings.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Phillies are now 5-10 during a month-long stretch of games against only divisional competition. There are 11 games left in that stretch, including today.
  • Following an off-day on Monday, the Phillies will remain on the road all of the coming week. There will be three games with the first-place Braves followed by three at Citi Field against the struggling New York Mets next weekend.
  • The MLB All-Star Game reserves are scheduled to be announced later today. The odds are that the Phillies will get just one representative for the National League team. That will probaby be either catcher J.T. Realmuto or reliever Hector Neris.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION

Phillies head to South Florida seeking revenge on the Miami Marlins

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Phillies visit Marlins Park seeking revenge

The Philadephia Phillies (43-38) are down in South Florida for a weekend meeting with the host Miami Marlins (30-49) at Marlins Park.

Coming off an uplifting four-game sweep of the New York Mets, the Phillies will be looking to extend their winning streak and avenge last weekend’s home sweep at the hands of the Fish.
A week ago at Citizens Bank Park, the Marlins took all three games by holding the Phillies to just eight runs scored. By the end of that series, the Phillies had dropped seven games in a row and their season was spiraling out of control.
While the Mets series allowed the Phillies to regain their positive mojo, they cannot afford to give any of that momentum back. Just as they were last weekend, the Marlins are the owners of the worst record in the National League. They came home from Philadelphia and were promptly swept by the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins offense has generated just 3.52 runs-per-game, the worst run production in the NL and second-lowest scoring average in all of Major League Baseball. Their 60 home runs are the least in all of baseball and their .646 OPS is the lowest in the game.
That lack of power has not translated in their meetings with the Phillies. The Miami hitters have blasted 11 of their 60 home runs this season over 10 previous games between the two teams, resulting in a 5-5 split.
While they generally suffer to score, at least when playing the other 28 teams in baseball, the Marlins pitching staff has been strong. The cumulative batting average against mark of .242 is tied for the 6th best in the game. The Miami pitchers have surrendered just 94 home runs, tied for the fourth-most stingy staff in baseball.
The challenge for the Phillies this weekend will be the same as last. Find a way to score against Marlins pitching. The Phillies have scored 45 runs in the 10 meetings. That is a mediocre 4.5 runs-per-game, and it is exaggerated by two games in which the Phillies hitters produced 21 runs. That means in the other eight games, the Phillies have averaged just 4.375 runs.
Also, Phillies pitching is going to have to start holding the Marlins hitters in the park themselves, the same way those other 28 pitching staffs have been doing.

MIAMI MARLINS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Brian Anderson: The 26-year-old third baseman leads the Fish with 10 homers, 26 extra-base hits, and 34 RBIs
Garrett Cooper: 28-year-old right fielder slashing .311/.379/.490 has 7 homers, 12 extra-base hits, and 23 RBIs in just 169 plate appearances
Miguel Rojas: 30-year-old shortstop hitting .286 with a .350 OBP leads the club with 19 doubles and a half-dozen steals
Neil Walker: 33-year-old first baseman hitting .280 with a .362 OBP has 14 XBH over 177 plate appearances. Just activated this past week after spending a month on the IL
Harold Ramirez: 25-year-old rookie playing mostly LF is slashing .313/.348/.407 with 21 runs and 18 RBIs over just 158 plate appearances after being promoted on May 11
Starlin Castro: 29-year-old second baseman is second on the club with 32 RBIs and always seems to do something against the Phillies

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Jorge Alfaro: the 26-year-old catcher was traded to the Fish from the Phillies along with top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and another prospect arm in exchange for J.T. Realmuto back in early February. He came to the Phillies as part of a big package received in the Cole Hamels deal with Texas at the 2015 MLB trade deadline.
Alfaro’s status for this series is currently up in the air. He is currently on the IL under the seven-day concussion protocol. In a game last Thursday against the Saint Louis Cardinals, Alfaro was hit in the mask by a back-swing of former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. He later took a foul ball off the mask as well. He is eligible to be activated as early as the series opener on Friday, and will be a day-to-day decision at this point.
Prior to his IL stint, Alfaro was one of the Marlins top run producers. Their regular starting catcher, his nine homers are second and his 24 RBIs are third among all Miami hitters.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Elieser Hernandez: 0-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 18 hits over 18.2 IP across four games (three starts) with a 19/4 K:BB ratio. The 24-year-old right-hander in his second big-league season went five innings last weekend, allowing three earned on four hits including a pair of homers. He struck out six and walked two and left with the Phillies up 3-1. The Marlins rallied to win 5-3 after he was out.
SATURDAY – Jordan Yamamoto: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, seven hits over 19 IP across three starts with a 19/8 K:BB ratio. The 23-year-old righty rookie from Hawaii came to the Marlins from the Milwaukee Brewers in January 2018 as part of a four-prospect package for Christian Yelich. This will be his third big-league start. He allowed just two hits and two earned in a five-inning start last weekend at Citizens Bank Park, earning the victory in a 6-4 Marlins win. Yamamoto has won each of his three starts to this point.
SUNDAY – Trevor Richards: 3-8, 3.94 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 76 hits over 89 IP across 16 starts with an 80/38 K:BB ratio. The 26-year-old righty is in his second big-league season after signing as an undrafted free agent back in July 2016. The Phillies got to him for five earned on six hits including a pair of homers over four innings in a 12-9 victory back on April 27 in Miami.

THE SKIPPER

Don Mattingly: As a ballplayer, Mattingly was a New York Yankees legend who played his entire 14-year big-league career in the Bronx. The 1985 AL MVP and runner-up for the award the following year, he was one of the top players of the second half of the 1980’s. Mattingly made six consecutive AL All-Star teams as a first baseman from 1984-89, and won nine AL Gold Glove Awards at the position. He also won three straight Silver Sluggers 1985-87.
Mattingly served as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager for five years 2011-15, guiding the Dodgers to three straight NL West crowns in his final three seasons. Over parts of four seasons now in Miami he has fashioned a 249-314 record and been at the helm as the franchise has undergone a major personnel teardown and rebuild process.

THE BALLPARK

Marlins Park has been renovated for the 2019 season. Perhaps the most noticeable difference for fans in Philly watching this series on television will be the removal of the massive and colorful home run sculpture that adorned center field since the ballpark opened for the 2012 season.
The dimensions are 344 down the left field line and 335 to right field. A big ballpark, the right- and left-center power alleys are 392 and 386 feet away respectively. It will be a 407 foot shot to dead-center field.
Located on the site of the old Orange Bowl, Marlins Park sits in the Little Havana section of the city, just two miles west of the downtown Miami area. At a 37,442 normal seating capacity, it is the third-smallest ballpark in Major League Baseball. It is also one of six MLB parks with a retractable roof, so weather is unlikely to play any role this weekend.

Reading Fightin Phils feature four top Phillies draft picks

Randolph, Moniak, Bohm, Haseley at Reading end of June 2019
(photo credit: George Young Jr)
Many fans of the Philadelphia Phillies make the trip to FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania at some point. Roughly 75-80 miles northwest of Philly, those fans make the trip to watch the Reading Fightin’ Phils, the club’s Double-A minor league affiliate.
Minor league baseball has its own attractions, with frequent giveaways and other promotional activities. There is often access to the players that you rarely get in a big-league ballpark, and the seating is fantastic in a more intimate setting.
Recently there was something even more exciting for fans who were able to get to Reading. For the first time in the history of the franchise, four Phillies first round draft picks were all being featured in the Fightins lineup at the same time.
The Phillies top prospect, 22-year-old third baseman Alec Bohm, was the club’s first round choice at third overall in the June 2018 MLB Draft out of Wichita State. Bohm was promoted last Thursday from High-A Clearwater after tearing through four levels of the system since being drafted last year.
Bohm made his home debut in Reading with a fantastic performance on Thursday night. “It was an outstanding game, all-around (for Bohm),” said Reading manager Shawn Williams per The Reading Eagle. “He did it all here tonight.
Bohm has slashed .331/.406/.535 with nine home runs, 32 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, and 43 runs scored over 298 plate appearances across three levels this season. It was just announced that Bohm has been selected to play for the United States team in the prestigious MLB Futures Game as part of the MLB All-Star festivities next month.

After making his big-league debut last month, outfielder Adam Haseley was also at Reading on a rehab stint. Haseley is back in the minors after suffering a left groin injury in early June. The club’s first round pick at 8th overall in 2017 out of the University of Virginia, the 23-year-old Haseley could find himself back in a Phillies uniform at any time now.
Haseley has slashed .274/.355/.479 this season over the two highest levels of the minors with eight homers, 21 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs, and 31 runs scored over 217 plate appearances. In two games with the Phillies, Haseley had a double and a walk, scoring two runs and driving in another.
The first overall pick of the entire 2016 MLB Draft, outfielder Mickey Moniak, struggled in his first couple of minor league seasons. But the 21-year-old Moniak, who was drafted out of a California high school, began to catch-up last summer and was recently selected for the Double-A All-Star Game.
Finally beginning to really break out, Moniak is slashing .262/.315/.434 with 31 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs, 41 runs scored, and nine steals in 72 games this year as he continues to advance incrementally one level at a time. He is slashing .284/.373/.474 in the month of June with a dozen extra-base hits.
Also drafted out of high school, Cornelius Randolph is a Georgia native selected at 10th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft. Randolph turned 22 years of age at the start of June, and is the one in this talented group who is still trying to figure things out.
Randolph is slashing just .237/.305/.367 with 16 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, 22 runs scored, and five stolen bases over 236 plate appearances as he repeats the Double-A level. Last season with Reading, Randolph slashed .241/.324/.322, showing limited power and speed. After being drafted as a bat-first prospect, he simply has not progressed much to this point.
All four of these talented youngsters were playing together briefly at Reading, as Haseley has just been activated by the Phillies today and optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The other three may not be together for very long either. If Bohm continues to progress as he has to this point, he would put himself in line for another promotion, also to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, before the minor league season ends.
Now is the time to make a trip from Philly. If you plan it on the right night, you can even see these stud position prospects performing behind the club’s top pitching prospect, Adonis Medina. The 22-year-old right-hander is 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.292 WHIP over his first 13 Double-A starts this season.

Jay Bruce comes through again, Phillies walkoff Mets in 10 innings

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Jay Bruce about to get doused after his Wednesday walkoff

The Philadelphia Phillies (42-38) completed their first walkoff victory of the season, downing the New York Mets (37-44) by a 5-4 final score on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia. With the win, the Phillies remain tied for an NL Wildcard playoff spot.

For a third consecutive night the Phillies fell behind early. And for a third straight game the offense rallied to bring home a victory. For a club that had languished in a disheartening three-week slump, you can almost feel the energy turning around them, building with each bamboo-inspired victory.

After Phillies starter Nick Pivetta and Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas battled through the first three innings scoreless, the visitors jumped on the board first courtesy of the longball. Dominic Smith drove his 7th homer of the season out on a line to left to put New York on top 1-0 with one out in the top of the 4th inning.
In the top of the 5th it was new Phillies-killer Jeff McNeil blasting his 6th home run of the year over the center field wall to make it 2-0.
The Mets scored twice more in the very next inning to double their lead. Smith led off by drawing a walk. He then stole second base, and when J.T. Realmuto threw the ball away, Smith went to third. Amed Rosario then walked, and then Tomas Nido singled to bring Smith home, making it 3-0. With two outs, McNeil did it again, ripping a double to right field that scored Rosario to make it 4-0 for the visitors.
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Jean Segura finally got the Phillies on the board with his 9th homer to left-center field. Then the Phillies got even by putting up a crooked number, scoring three times in the home 7th to tie it up.
Realmuto started it off with a double. One out later, J.T. sprinted home on a ground-rule double to right off the bat of Cesar Hernandez. With two outs, Brad Miller drew a walk as a pinch-hitter to put the tying run on base. The Phillies then got a huge break when Scott Kingery struck out, but reached base anyway when the ball got past Nido on a wild pitch by Lugo.
Thanks to that break, the Phillies had the bases loaded, with the tying run in scoring position. It was up to them to take advantage, and Segura did just that. His base hit to center scored both Hernandez and Miller to tie the ball game.
That would be all the scoring in regulation, and the two teams moved to the bottom of the 10th still knotted at four apiece. Rhys Hoskins led off the frame by drawing a walk. Realmuto then worked the count to 2-2 before drilling a base hit to center field. Hoskins had to freeze to ensure that the ball went through cleanly, and so the Phillies had runners at first and second with nobody out.
With the potential winning run in scoring position, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler took a calculated gamble. He brought in one of the fastest men in the game, Roman Quinn, to pinch-run for his cleanup hitter Hoskins at second base.
The next batter was Jay Bruce, who has come through for the Phillies so many times already since being acquired in a June 2 trade with Seattle. He would come through once again here.
After taking a first-pitch ball, Bruce crushed the second pitch he saw  from Mets reliever Stephen Nogosek over the head of center fielder Juan Lagares. Quinn rushed around to score easily, and the Phillies enjoyed celebrating their first walkoff victory of the 2019 season.
Before the game today, I had a conversation with Jimmy Rollins in the kitchen, and he mentioned how impressed he was with the fight of our club the last couple days,” said Kapler in his postgame presser. “He mentioned that he saw guys playing hard and really getting after it, and never feeling like they were out of any inning or any game…I think tonight was an indication of how resilient we are. How we never feel like we’re out of a game, particularly when we’re swinging the bats like we’re capable. Always feels like we can take a late lead, and really proud of the guys tonight. They worked hard.
Appearing on their death beds coming into this series with the Mets, the three straight come from behind victories were just what the doctor ordered for the suddenly Fightin’ Phils. Tomorrow afternoon they will try for a four-game sweep of the reeling boys from the Big Apple.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

PHILLIES – Nick Pivetta: 5.2 IP, 9 hits (2 HR), 4 earned, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. Threw 93 pitches, 60 for strikes.
METS – Jason Vargas: 6.1 IP, 3 hits (1 HR), 2 earned, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts. Threw 77 pitches, 53 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: JAY BRUCE

The Phillies left fielder went 2-5, and provided the margin of victory with his 10th inning double. However, we have to give a nod to the Phillies bullpen. Relievers Jose AlvarezJ.D. HammerAdam MorganHector Neris, and Edgar Garcia combined to shut the Mets out over the final 4.1 innings, allowing just two base runners. Garcia was credited with the ‘W’ in the end.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME

  • Thursday June 26 at 1:05 pm EDT vs. the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. This will be a “Nemours kids run the bases game”, with children 14 and under invited to go onto the field and run the bases immediately after the game.
  • TV: NBC Sports PhiladelphiaMLB Network (out-of-market only)
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)