Tag Archives: Aaron Nola

Time for Phillies to give Alec Bohm a full shot to start in 2020

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It is only a matter of time before Bohm’s powerful bat is impacting the Phillies lineup

 

The Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series and are now playing in their third consecutive American League Championship Series. They won 107 games this season, most in Major League Baseball.

Whether they ultimately capture another title this year or not, Houston is the current model organization in MLB. The folks who run their ball club clearly know what they are doing.

Shortstop Carlos Correa was the first overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. He became a big-league starter in 2015 at age 20.

Third baseman Alex Bregman was the second overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. He became a big-league starter by the following July at age 22.

Second baseman Jose Altuve was signed by Houston as a free agent out of Venezuela at age 16 in 2007. By July of 2011 at age 21 he was a big-league regular.

Yordan Alvarez spent his rookie season in MLB this year as the Astros primary Designated Hitter. He blasted 27 home runs while slashing .313/.412/.655 at age 22.

The point? There is no reason that talented ball players aged 20-22 should be held back from their Major League Baseball debut simply due to their birth date.

In fact, more than ever, professional baseball is a game for players in their 20’s. Getting as many of those years as possible out of your best players is becoming more and more important.

The old way of MLB teams holding young players back in order to gain more years of contractual control should be considered as antiquated thinking.

If a young player demonstrates that he is going to be valuable to your organization, the strategy should be to buy them out of a few free agent years by paying them more at a younger age, as the Phillies have done with Scott Kingery.

In 2018, the Phillies made third baseman Alec Bohm their choice at third overall in the MLB Draft. He was billed as an advanced college bat whose hitting ability and maturity could allow him to quickly reach the big-leagues.

When spring training opens at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida four months from now, there is absolutely no reason that a 23-year-old Bohm should not be the Phillies annointed starter at the hot corner.

Not waiting until May or June after receiving six, eight, ten weeks of experience against Triple-A pitching. Not later in the summer. Not next September when rosters expand. Right away, in Clearwater.

During his first full professional season this year, Bohm demonstrated the hitting ability that had made him such a high pick. He slashed .305/.378/.518 with 21 home runs and 55 extra-base hits across 540 plate appearances while rising through three minor league levels.

No more authoritative hitting expert than former Phillies World Series winning manager Charlie Manuel had this to say regarding Bohm’s hitting ability earlier this year:

He’s going to hit. He’s going to be a line-drive hitter with power. He’s going to be an RBI guy. He’s a tough out. I liked him in college and like him even more now.

One question mark regarding Bohm’s status at the time of his selection was defense. Would he ever become a good enough defender at third base to stick at the position at the MLB level?

This past May, Bohm was named as the Phillies organization minor league defense player of the month. In late June, Mike Drago of The Reading Eagle quoted him regarding his work at the position:

I worked a lot at third base, and on defense (in the offseason), not to prove anybody wrong, but to be the best player I can be. It’s paid off.

Drago also noted that when Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover brought up the fact that some had questioned his defensive chops at the time of his draft selection, Bohm responded: “Those guys don’t know what they’re talking about.

The Phillies minor league infield coordinator Chris Truby, whose four big-league seasons in the early-2000’s included playing in 242 games at the hot corner himself, had this to say per Drago regarding Bohm’s commitment to defense:

I don’t know that he’s ever taken defense as seriously as he is now. He has made tremendous strides since Instructional League (in September 2018). He’s taking this defense thing personally.

By July, Manuel was absolutely gushing about Bohm’s offensive ability. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia quoted the hitting guru on the club’s prospect:

I think when it’s all said and done and his career balances out where it should be, I’m looking at a guy who is going to hit anywhere from .285 to .300 and hit anywhere from 25 to 30 to 40 home runs. It depends on how many he happens to catch that season.”

For his strong 2019 performance, Bohm was named as the Phillies minor league player of the year. In late August for Baseball America, Salisbury quoted Phillies director of player development Josh Bonifay:

Day in and day out, he’s continued to show why the organization believed in him. His ability to command the strike zone and do damage on pitches is impressive. You make a mistake, whether it’s on the heater or a breaking ball, and he’ll hit it hard somewhere. He’s a line-drive hitter who drives the ball with carry. He uses the whole field. He’s fun to watch.”

The Phillies sent Bohm to the Arizona Fall League in September where he became a starter in the annual Fall Stars Game. Josh Norris of Baseball America opined the following after watching Bohm’s performance in the AFL:

Gifted with the tools to become a classic corner-infield masher, Bohm’s .390 average places him third in the AFL through games of October 8.

MLB Pipeline now ranks Bohm as the top third base prospect in the game. But Jim Callis of MLB.com, while praising Bohm’s bat, still has questions on the defense when he wrote the following:

To get to the big leagues, Bohm will need to continue refining his defense at the hot corner. He has enough arm strength for the position, but his range is fringy and he lacks consistency. He made a wide throw on a seventh-inning grounder Sunday, his third error in six AFL games in the field after making 12 miscues in 83 regular-season contests.”

First base is not available in Philadelphia. Rhys Hoskins turns 27-years-old in March, just beginning the prime of this career. Hoskins is not scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2023 season.

Hoskins is a relatively inexpensive and powerful bat for an organization that already has spent a lot of money in free agency and is likely to spend a lot more in the next couple of years.

Incumbent third baseman Maikel Franco has legitimate 25-30 home run power and will spend much of the 2020 season still at just age 26. But his overall ceiling is nowhere near as high as Bohm, and Franco will likely be used as trade bait this coming winter.

The Phillies have a reputation as being notoriously slow in giving their top prospects a shot at the big leagues. But that reputation is beginning to fall by the way side.

Aaron Nola was the Phillies first round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft at seventh overall as an advanced college pitcher. He debuted in the big-leagues the following summer and was a regular member of the starting rotation at age 23 in 2016.

Adam Haseley was the Phillies top pick at eighth overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. He appeared in 67 games and was playing regularly by the end of the 2019 season at age 23. While a better outfield defender than Bohm will be in the infield, Haseley’s bat is nowhere near as advanced or impactful.

The Phillies need these types of exciting, inexpensive, homegrown talents to begin impacting their lineup as soon as possible. Bohm is plenty old enough and appears mature enough to handle the big-league lifestyle. His confidence and talent are undeniable.

Bottom line, there is no reason that Alec Bohm should not be the Philadelphia Phillies starter at third base right out of the gate in the 2020 season.

Madison Bumgarner nearly perfect against lifeless Phillies in series opener

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The Philadelphia Phillies (59-56) look for all the world like a defeated ball club following yet another loss in which they simply did not show up to play.

That would be Thursday’s series opening 5-0 defeat at the hands of the host San Francisco Giants (57-59) at Oracle Park.
The feeble Phillies offensive attack, such as it was, consisted of three base runners. Only a one-out, pinch-hit single off the bat of Cesar Hernandez kept them from getting no-hit by Madison Bumgarner.
In the end, the Giants starter combined with a pair of relievers to shut the Phillies out. It marked the seventh white-washing of the season for the Phillies batters. To call them “hitters” at his point would be to besmirch that term.
Phillies starter Aaron Nola was part of the no-show team effort. The club’s ace was chewed up by a team that came into the game statistically as the second-worst offensive club in the National League, one that had been averaging only 2.78 runs per game over their previous nine contests.
The Giants rapped out seven hits against Nola, who also walked two batters. They were also the beneficiaries of a pair of wild pitches thrown by Nick Pivetta in relief, and a throwing error on backup catcher Andrew Knapp.
Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of legendary Boston Red Sox left fielder and Baseball Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, was the offensive star for San Francisco. The new ‘Yaz’ ripped a two-run double in the bottom of the 3rd inning to push an early Giants lead out to 3-0. He then blasted a solo homer, his 11th of his rookie season, in the bottom of the 7th inning to provide the final score.

 

 

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This was a fourth loss in five games for the Phillies, who have now gone just 3-6 over their last nine. It dropped the club out of an NL Wildcard spot as well. They now sit in a three-way tie, a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the race for the final National League postseason berth.
But playoffs should be the furthest thing from the mind of the Phillies players at this point. There is absolutely zero chance of this team reaching the postseason for the first time in eight years. A season that began with so much excitement and anticipation has devolved into a hellish nightmare of injuries, inconsistencies, and failures, both on the field and in the front office.
Frankly, it’s difficult to imagine that this level of play can continue for very much longer without someone losing their job over it.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Aaron Nola (L 10-3): 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 earned, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts. 93 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Giants – Madison Bumgarner (W 7-7): 7 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. 85 pitches, 56 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: MADISON BUMGARNER

While Yastrzemski doubled, homered and knocked in three of the five Giants runs, this was Bumgarner’s game. He tossed a masterpiece, and very nearly one for the history books.
Bumgarner retired the first 10 Phillies batters in a row before losing Hoskins on a full count cutter. Then he left an 89 mph two-seam fastball a little out over the plate, and lost his no-hit bid to a Cesar Hernandez single with one out in the 7th inning.
If this is going to be the final seven weeks for MadBum in a Giants uniform after 11 mostly glorious campaigns, then the pending free agent is going out in style and showing that he still has plenty in the tank, having just turned age 30 a little more than a week ago.

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Nola gem, Harper and Hoskins homers leads Phils past Chisox

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Phillies fans left Citizens Bank Park happy on Saturday night

On a night when the Phillies honored turn-of-the-century All-Star outfielder Bobby Abreu with a place on the franchise Wall of Fame, the present-day Philadelphia Phillies (58-52) held on for a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox (47-61) at Citizens Bank Park.

The night was all about pitching at the start. Both Phillies ace Aaron Nola and White Sox starter Ross Detwiler went through their opposing lineups perfectly through the first three innings.
The visitors broke through first with a run in the top of the 4th inning. Leury Garcia led off with a walk, moved to second on a ground out, and scored on a two-out double off the bat of Jon Jay.
Bryce Harper’s game-tying upper decker was his 100th hit in a Phillies uniform.

 

 

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With two outs in the bottom of that same inning the Phillies finally got on the scoreboard in a big way. Bryce Harper crushed a 1-1, 89 mph, four-seam fastball from Detwiler into the right field upper deck. His 100th hit with the Phillies tied the game at 1-1. Rhys Hoskins followed by jumping on a first-pitch sinker, blasting it out to dead-center field to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
Hoskins & Harper go back-to-back in the bottom of the 4th inning to put the Phillies on top.

 

 

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The score stood into the 7th inning when Chicago produced a major threat. With one out, Eloy Jimenez singled and Tim Anderson doubled. Yolmer Sanchez then bounced one to Hoskins, who shuffled the ball home to Andrew Knapp in time to get Jimenez at the plate. Nola then struck out Friday night hero Matt Skole as a pinch-hitter to end the threat and keep the Phillies on top by the 2-1 score.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Phillies took their turn presenting a big threat. A walk to Adam Haseley, single by Maikel Franco, and intentional walk to Andrew Knapp loaded the bases. Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler opted to pinch-hit for Nola, who was up to 94 pitches, with J.T. Realmuto.
The Phillies regular catcher flew out to center field for the first out. But then Cesar Hernandez hit into a 4-6 force, with Haseley rushing home with a run to push the Phillies lead out to 3-1. Jean Segura was hit by a pitch by new Chisox hurler Dylan Covey, loading the bases for Harper. But the right fielder grounded out, minimizing the damage.
Nick Pivetta came on for the Phillies in the top of the 8th and did the job in that inning, setting Chicago down in order. Kapler opted to bring him back out for the 9th inning with the score still 3-1, and things did not go as smoothly.
The inning began with Jose Abreu reaching on a throwing error by Segura. Jay followed with base hit, putting the tying run on base. Chicago skipper Rick Renteria then put Ryan Cordell in as a pinch-runner for Jay.
Pivetta then bore down and struck out Jimenez and Anderson, moving the Phillies within an out of a victory. But nothing is ever that easy for this 2019 Phillies ball club.
Yolmer Sanchez singled to score Abreu, making it 3-2, with Cordell rolling around to third base where he stood as the tying run just 90 feet away. Rather than blowing it as so often has happened in this hair-raising season, Pivetta then came through, striking out pinch-hitter Adam Engel swinging to end it and giving Nola his 10th win of the season.
The Phillies and White Sox will go at it one more time in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Drew Smyly will make his third start since joining the Phillies, with right-hander Reynaldo Lopez taking the mound for Chicago.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Aaron Nola: 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 earned, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts. 94 pitches, 66 for strikes.
White Sox – Ross Detwiler: 5.2 IP, 3 hits (2 HR), 2 earned, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts. 78 pitches, 54 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: AARON NOLA

The back-to-back home runs from Harper and Hoskins provided the winning margin. But it was Nola’s outstanding pitching that was once again the real difference in this one for the Phillies.
Nola went seven strong innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing just three hits while walking two. Coming off a bit of a rough outing in two of his last three times on the mound, this was a good shot-in-the-arm for the Phillies ace right-hander.

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The story of the 2019 Phillies to date is one of blown opportunities

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So, you are a Phillies fan, and you are exhausted after Friday night’s 15-inning, 4-3 loss to one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball, the Chicago White Sox.

One strike away from victory, the Phillies blew it. The offense left 15 runners on base and went just 2-13 with runners in scoring position. The bullpen coughed up the late lead in the 9th inning. Manager Gabe Kapler‘s decisions resulted in outfielder Roman Quinn having to pitch two innings, ultimately getting hung with the loss.
If you are anything like me, you are completely exasperated with the way this team has lost many games this season. It feels as if there have been a dozen games or more in which the Phillies should have won, but somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Well, I decided to actually go through the grueling ordeal of researching it. And looking back over the 2019 results shows that we are correct in our feelings. It’s not just that the Phillies have blown games that they should have won, they have also won a ton of tight games. The club has been involved in more than their share of close contests this season.
The Phillies have suffered 18 losses by two runs or fewer, and have been walked-off five times. On the flip side, they have 25 wins by two runs or less, with four walk-off victories. That makes 43 of the Phillies 109 games, nearly 40%, as having been extremely tight affairs.
In many of those losses, the Phillies had a late lead. In each of the following 17 games, fans would not need to apologize if they felt that the club missed a golden opportunity at a victory. These are the 17 games, 11 of them coming at home at Citizens Bank Park, that have caused the collective blood pressure to rise.
In the vast majority of these cases, the bullpen blew a late lead or failed in a tie game. However, in a few of them, greater success by the offense earlier in the game would have kept the pen out of the equation.
Nailing down the win in just under half of these games, simply going 8-9 rather than losing them all, would have the Phillies sitting at 65-44, a game up on Atlanta in the division and seven games clear of the NL Wildcard pack. If you have the stomach for it, let’s relive the excruciating details together.

HALF-DOZEN APRIL CRUSHERS

Wednesday, April 3 at Washington: This was the first loss of the season. The Phillies were 4-0, having swept the Braves and taken out the Nats by 8-2 in a series opener. They had outscored those two teams by a 31-13 margin. In this one at Nationals Park, the Phillies rallied to score four runs in the top of the 8th inning to take an 8-6 lead. But then Seranthony Dominguez surrendered a pair in the bottom of the 8th to tie it up. In the bottom of the 9th, David Robertson surrendered a leadoff base hit, then walked three straight batters to walk in the winning run.
Saturday, April 6 vs Twins at CBP: This was the club’s second loss of the season, just three days after the Nats debacle. The Phillies trailed in this one by 3-2 after the offense had left runners on base a couple of times. They would have one more shot in the bottom of the 9th inning. But before it ever got there, Dominguez surrendered a back-breaking three-run homer to Eddie Rosario in the top of the final frame, giving the Twins a 6-3 victory.
Tuesday, April 9 vs the Nationals at CBP: The third loss of the young season was yet another heart-breaker. The Phillies led this one 6-1 after five innings at home with Aaron Nola on the mound. But their ace would struggle in the early going this season, and this was one of those times. After he had allowed just two runs and five hits through six innings, the Nats got to Nola for a pair of 7th inning homers to cut their deficit to 6-5. Then with two outs and two strikes in the top of the 9th, Juan Soto homered off Edubray Ramos to tie it up. It would not be the last time that the Phillies bullpen would blow a game just one strike away from victory. Washington would whack Jose Alvarez around, scoring four times in the top of the 10th to win 10-6. The Phillies offense failed to score over the final six frames after building that early 6-1 lead.
Monday, April 15 vs Mets at CBP: Every time the visiting Mets scored, the Phillies had an answer. The Phils tied it when Mets pitching walked four batters, including walking in the tying run in the bottom of the 8th with two outs. Bryce Harper then stepped to the plate, but popped up, missing a chance to push the lead runs across. In the bottom of the 10th, Jean Segura struck out with the winning run at second and two outs. The rivals went to the 11th inning still tied at 6-6. The Mets put two men on with two outs and Pat Neshek on the mound. Then, an error by Rhys Hoskins on a grounder allowed what would prove to be the winning run to score. Harper, Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto each struck out swinging in the bottom of the inning to end it.
Friday April 19 at Colorado: Vince Velasquez was shutting out the host Rockies at Coors Field into the 6th with the Phillies leading 2-0. But he gave up a one-out homer and a pair of two-out doubles, and the game was tied at 2-2. The Phillies offense failed to score after the 5th, and the teams moved into the 12th still tied at 2-2. In the top of the 12th, Harper’s clutch two-out RBI double put the Phils on top 3-2. But in the bottom of the 12th, Juan Nicasio surrendered a two-out, two-strike, walkoff home run to Charlie Blackmon to blow it.
Thursday April 25 vs Miami at CBP: The Phillies took an early 1-0 lead on a solo homer from Sean Rodriguez in the bottom of the 2nd inning. It was the only run they would score. The Marlins tied it in the top of the 3rd off Nola, and the game remained 1-1 into the 10th inning. Hector Neris retired the first two Miami batters. But then he allowed a two-out, two-strike double to Neil Walker followed by a two-strike, two-run homer to Starlin Castro to give Miami a 3-1 lead. The Phillies went out 1-2-3 in their half and suffered yet another home heartbreaker.

PAIR OF MAYDAY CALLS

Saturday, May 4 vs Washington at CBP: With the game tied at 3-3 into the 7th, the Nats scored twice to take the lead. But the Phillies offense responded immediately on this night, scoring five times in the bottom to take an 8-5 lead. In the top of the 8th, Neshek put two runners on base, and with two outs he was lifted for Adam Morgan. The lefty promptly surrendered a game-tying home run to Kurt Suzuki, and then a go-ahead homer to the very next batter, Victor Robles. The Nats tacked on one more in the 9th off Ramos, and escaped with a 10-8 win in South Philly.
Tuesday, May 21 at Wrigley Field vs the Cubs: After blowing that game against Washington, the Phillies recovered to begin one of their best runs of the season, winning 10 of 15 to move out to a 2.5 game division lead. In the second game of their series at Wrigley Field, the Phils suffered what would be just their second truly blown opportunity of the month of May. Leading 2-1 into the bottom of the 9th inning, Nicasio loaded the bases with one out. The Cubs then tied it on a fielder’s choice in which Kris Bryant was nearly thrown out at the plate. The Cubs then did the ending, when Javier Baez drilled a first-pitch walkoff single.

HALF-DOZEN MORE DURING JUNE SWOON

Saturday, June 1 at Dodger Stadium: Still in first place themselves, the Phillies had a chance to dump the best team in baseball on the road. Harper’s two-run home run in the top of the 8th inning tied the game at 3-3. But with one out in the bottom of the 9th and the count full, Neris gave up a walkoff home run to rookie Dodgers catcher Will Smith for a 4-3 defeat.
Sunday, June 9 vs Reds at CBP: After a tough road trip, the Phillies had won four straight to move 10 games over the .500 mark and two games up in the NL East race. Nola took a 3-1 lead into the top of the 7th inning at home, then again ran out of gas after retiring the first two batters. After he surrendered a two-out single and walk, manager Gabe Kapler brought in Alvarez. The lefty reliever promptly yielded a two-run single to tie it up, and then an RBI single to the very next batter to give Cincy a 4-3 lead. The Reds bullpen then retired nine of the final 10 Phillies batters.
Friday, June 14 at Atlanta: A truly back-breaking defeat. The Braves had slipped past the Phillies in the NL East standings by 1.5 games as the two division rivals opened a big weekend series in Atlanta. The Phils bolted out to a 5-1 lead behind Nick Pivetta, who then took a 7-2 lead into the bottom of the 7th inning. Brian McCann reached him for a leadoff home run. Then with two outs, Pivetta allowed a double and a walk. Kapler went to Vince Velasquez out of the bullpen, and the former starter immediately allowed an RBI single to Freddie Freeman to cut the Phils lead down to 7-4. The Phillies pushed their lead out to 8-4 in the top of the 8th, but then Alvarez allowed a two-out, two-strike RBI single. Ramos came on and yielded a two-strike RBI triple to the next batter to make it an 8-6 ball game. In the bottom of the 9th, Neris put two on but also got two outs. Then he gave up a two-strike RBI double to Austin Riley to make it 8-7, followed by a two-strike, two-run walkoff double to McCann to blow it.
Friday, June 21 vs Miami at CBP: The Phillies were in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, having lost four straight and six of seven. When the last-place Marlins came to town, it was a chance for the Phillies to get things re-stabilized. It was not to be, as the Fish would win all three games of the weekend set by two runs or fewer. In this Friday series opener, the Phillies offense left 11 men on base and went just 2-12 with runners in scoring position. With the game knotted at 1-1 into the 6th, Miami scored an unearned run off Nola to take a 2-1 lead. The Phillies left the tying run at third base in the home 8th, and dropped a lifeless decision.
Saturday, June 22 vs Miami at CBP: The very next night, the Phillies took a 3-1 lead into the top of the 7th against Miami. Morgan came on in relief and allowed the first three men to reach base, giving up a run to make it a 3-2 game. Then with two on and two out, Ramos came on and allowed a two-run double on the first pitch he threw, putting the Marlins up 4-3. They pushed another across on J.D. Hammer in the top of the 8th, and beat the Phillies by 5-3.
Saturday, June 29 at Miami: A week after that second-straight disheartening defeat at home to the Fish, the Phillies suffered one at Marlins Park. After building a 6-1 lead behind Zach Eflin, Miami got a two-run homer from Walker to make it a 6-3 game in the bottom of the 6th inning. In the next inning, Nicasio allowed a run and gave way to Morgan with one out and runners at first and third. Morgan then got ripped by the Marlins, allowing two singles around a pair of doubles over the next four batters. The result was five more runs for the hosts, who took a 9-6 lead. The Phillies bats went silent over the final four frames, and it was another loss to the last place team in the division.

TRIO OF SECOND HALF COLLAPSES (SO FAR)

Saturday, July 13 vs Washington at CBP: Their awful 10-17 stretch had dropped the Phillies into third place, 8.5 behind Atlanta and now 1.5 back of the Nationals. With a chance to gain ground head-to-head, Nola had the Phillies on top with a shutout, leading 3-0 into the top of the 6th inning. But then he walked two and allowed a two-out RBI single to Robles to make it a 3-1 game. In the top of the 8th, Morgan would blow it again, though his defense also let him down. He walked two and retired two batters. With two outs, an error by Maikel Franco at third base allowed a run to score, cutting the Phillies lead down to 3-2. Then it was Neris’ turn in the top of the 9th inning. The closer retired the first two batters, but then allowed a base hit to Anthony Rendon. That was followed by a game-turning, first-pitch, two-run homer off the bat of Soto that put the Nationals up 4-3. The Phillies got Roman Quinn to second base with two outs in the bottom of the frame, but a series of moves by Kapler had left his best pinch-hit option for Neris as backup catcher Andrew Knapp. The result was as expected, a 4-3 Phillies loss.
Wednesday, July 17 vs the Dodgers at CBP: After winning a spirited walkoff victory the prior night against baseball’s best team, the Phillies and Dodgers were tied at 2-2 into the 7th inning. But Nicasio allowed a two-run homer to David Freese in the top of the 7th, Austin Davis gave up a two-run homer to Justin Turner in the top of the 8th, and the Dodgers coasted home with five runs over the final three innings for a 7-2 victory. The Phillies offense produced just two hits off a half-dozen Dodgers pitchers, who retired nine Phils batters in a row in the late innings as their own hitters opened up the lead.
Friday, August 2 vs the Chisox: Last night. I refuse to relive this 15-inning debacle completely. But the Phillies offense failed to score over the final eight frames, Velasquez was forced to play left field, and Quinn was forced to pitch two innings. If you are that much of a masochist that you need the full details, enjoy my game story at that link.
The Phillies have lost 52 games this season, so their performances in these 17 do not tell the full story. However, they do tell much of the frustrating 2019 story for Phillies fans who feel that they have suffered through far too many late defeats that looked like the could have, usually should have, been put into the win column.
Again, the Phillies did not need to win all of these games. They didn’t even need to win half of them. An 8-9 record in games they definitely could have won with a few timely hits and/or a better effort from the bullpen would have them in first place right now. Somehow, they have to find a way to make this stop over the next eight weeks.

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.
For a few minutes, it appeared that this would be yet another disheartening wasted opportunity. Harper struck out, and then Rhys Hoskins popped to shallow center. With two outs now, J.T. Realmuto stepped in and battled the count full. Then pumped a 96 MPH four-seam fastball right down the pike, and the Phillies catcher turned it around, crushing the ball way out over the left field wall for a grand slam to push the lead out to 6-0.
JT Realmuto blows it open with a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th inning, pushing Phillies lead out to 6-0.

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This one seemed well in hand, with Nola mowing through the Braves. And then suddenly he ran out of gas in the top of the 7th inning. It started as he walked Josh Donaldson after battling to a full count. After Brian McCann singled, Nola struck out Adam Duvall and got ahead 1-2 on Ender Inciarte.

Nola battled in this one, shutting out the Braves for most of the day before running out of steam in the top of the 7th inning. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)
Nola then made his first truly big mistake. He left a meaty 90 MPH two-seam fastball right out over the middle of the plate. Inciarte didn’t miss it, putting a nice and easy swing on the ball and driving it out over the right field wall to cut the Phillies lead down to 6-3. On the very next pitch, Johan Camargo crushed a changeup from Nola out to right as well, and that suddenly the Phillies cushion was just 6-4.
Nola got Matt Joyce to fly out, but then Ronald Acuna Jr. singled to bring Ozzie Albies to the plate as the tying run. Acuna took off, stealing second base. On that play, Segura took the throw from Realmuto, but seemed to get his foot jammed on the second base bag. Segura came up limping and had to leave the ball game, helped off the field.
That outcome caused manager Gabe Kapler to bring Kingery, who had started in center field, in to take over at shortstop, putting Roman Quinn out in center. Meanwhile, Acuna also had trouble after sliding in head-first to the bag. He would also end up leaving the game.
Albies worked a walk, and that would be all for Nola. Calling to his bullpen for Adam Morgan, Kapler went for the lefty-on-lefty match-up as the dangerous Freddie Freeman came up with a chance to give the Braves the lead. Morgan won the battle, getting Atlanta’s three-hole hitter to fly out to center, and the Phillies kept ahold of the lead at 6-4.
Often times in this frustrating season, the Phillies offense would run dry and the bullpen would squander the lead, and the club would suffer a disheartening defeat. That would not be the case on this afternoon.
In their half of the 7th, the Phillies offense responded. Harper drew a one-out walk, and Rhys Hoskins followed by blasting a two-run home run to left, pushing the lead out to 8-4. Then with two outs and two runners on, Haseley delivered again, ripping a ground RBI single to right field, give the Phillies their final cushion of 9-4.
Nick Pivetta would come on to shut down the Braves over the final two frames, allowing just one hit while striking out two batters, including Charlie Culberson to end the game. The win went to Nola, who moved to 9-4 on the season. The Phillies will now enjoy another off-day on Monday before welcoming the hot San Francisco Giants to town for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Aaron Nola: 6.2 IP, 7 hits (2 HR), 4 earned, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts. 102 pitches, 72 for strikes
Braves – Kevin Gausman: 6 IP, 9 hits (3 HR), 6 earned, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts. 100 pitches, 70 for strikes

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: J.T. REALMUTO

The Phillies catcher stepped to the plate in a game that was still up in the air. With a 2-0 lead, the Phillies had loaded the bases with nobody out in the 5th inning. But after Harper struck out and Hoskins popped out easily, it appeared as though Gausman would wriggle off the hook. Realmuto made sure that didn’t happen, with the All-Star catcher crushing a grand slam to make it 6-0.

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