Tag Archives: Adam Morgan

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

Embed from Getty Images

 

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 will try to take series over Giants on Wednesday night

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’Kq2qufyQTcpNevzvag2cyw’,sig:’v59eGBjLMJL_NKu_OMUBDA1dtCCzcIEA-CcP2gOEhK0=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’988426282′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

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.

WEDNESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  4. Bryce Harper RF
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Adam Haseley LF
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Vince Velasquez P

GIANTS

  1. Brandon Belt 1B
  2. Buster Posey C
  3. Pablo Sandoval 3B
  4. Alex Dickerson LF
  5. Brandon Crawford SS
  6. Kevin Pillar CF
  7. Mike Yastrzemski RF
  8. Joe Panik 2B
  9. Jeff Samardzija P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

Phillies – Vince Velasquez: 3-5, 4.46 ERA, 65 hits over 66.2 IP across 22 games (12 starts) with a 79/26 K:BB. Velasquez has made three career starts vs the Giants: 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 13 hits over 17.1 IP with a 27/5 K:BB
Giants – Jeff Samardzija (34/RH): 7-8, 3.95 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 1.178 WHIP, 105 hits over 116.1 IP across 21 starts with a 102/32 K:BB. Samardizja is in his 12th year in the big-leagues and is signed through the 2020 season.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Since their season-long seven-game losing streak ended on June 24, the Phillies have won 17 of their last 29 games and their .586 winning percentage in that stretch ranks tied for third among all National League teams.
  • After Tuesday night’s victory, the Phillies are now 35-13 when scoring first, 49-13 when scoring four or more runs, 45-6 when leading into the late innings (after six), 36-5 win outhitting their opposition, 50-27 when hitting at least one home run.
  • The Phillies have now won seven straight games against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park. It is the club’s longest win streak against San Francisco since winning eight in a row over the 1990-91 seasons at Veteran’s Stadium.
  • Since June 24, the Phillies are averaging 5.07 runs per game, nearly a half-run improvement over their performance across the season’s first 77 games.
  • Rhys Hoskins (79) and Bryce Harper (71) rank 1-2 in the National League in Walks. The Phillies have not had a pair of teammates lead the league at 1-2 in free passes since Gavvy Cravath and Dave Bancroft with the 1915 NL pennant winners.
  • Phillies three southpaw relievers have been hot. Adam Morgan has allowed 1 unearned run on 3 hits with 10 K’s in 8.2 IP during July and has held opponents to a .165/.259/.272 slash line this season, with lefty hitters just 2-30 (.067) with 11 SO against him since May 13. Jose Alvarez has not allowed a run in his last 10.1 IP across 9 appearances, has a 1.62 ERA over 33.1 IP since April 19, and lefty batters are hitting just 4-for-25 (.160) against him since June 22, including 1 for the last 15. Ranger Suarez had a 0.68 ERA for more than a month, allowing just 1 earned run over 13.1 IP across 10 appearances between June 23 and July 24.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Will Phillies finally move on from Cesar Hernandez at the 2019 trade deadline?

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’CQBMDhBlSO1Cch02jpHF-A’,sig:’i8JjdaeQhBjYfZye2oZkdGpO2-r8e0YlRyWM6qnxjII=’,w:’594px’,h:’431px’,items:’1027407152′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Cesar Hernandez is likely available at the 2019 trade deadline

The 2019 Major League Baseball trade deadline is now less than two weeks away. As always, rumor and speculation are running rampant around the game, especially on social media.

Our Philadelphia Phillies are certainly not immune to any of this, and in fact are one of the most fascinating teams to watch as the July 31 deadline draws closer.
Will the Phillies be buyers, trying to push themselves back to the postseason for the first time in eight years? Will general manager Matt Klentak stand pat, either believing that no move will be enough, or just finding none palatable? Will he sell away players and punt the season?
Well, in looking out over the current baseball landscape and the team roster, there is a very real possibility that the Phillies could wind up as both buyers and sellers this time around.
Though owner John Middleton authorized the spending of a half-billion dollars in contracts to improve the everyday lineup, there was almost no attention paid to upgrading the pitching staff, especially the starting rotation. That is proving  fatal flaw. There are also a few players who have been around over the last handful of losing campaigns who have nearly worn out their welcome among many fans.
One player who has been the subject of much social media speculation has been second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Now 29-years-old, the native of Venezuela has been the Phillies starter at the keystone position for much of the last five years. Those have been mostly long, bottom-dwelling seasons for an increasingly frustrated fan base, many of whom feel it is time to turn the page from one of the last vestiges of that losing near-past.

THE HEIR APPARENT

Kingery is ready to take over as the Phillies starting second baseman. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
I have been publicly and vocally leading that call to deal Hernandez and to turn the position over to 25-year-old Scott Kingery. In fact, I have been pushing that since early in the 2018 season, when the Phillies first called Kingery up to the big-leagues and began playing him out of position.
Kingery won a minor league Gold Glove Award at second base during an outstanding 2017 campaign, one that put him on the prospect map. But since promoting him, the Phillies have used him at seven of the nine positions on the field. They have used Kingery as a Swiss army knife, pushing him around the diamond to fill in whatever injury opens a position on a given day.
With just nine of those games, five starts, at his natural position of second base, the Phillies have failed to truly maximize him as an asset in order to cover for their organizational failure to build big-league quality depth and to keep running Hernandez out despite the incumbent’s inconsistencies.

WHY NOW?

Hernandez will turn 30 next year, and will be arbitration-eligible for a final time before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2020 season. Both his on-base percentage and OPS+ are now down for a second straight season. Still, Fangraphs defensive statistics reveal that he has something to offer with his glove. And both is batting average and slugging percentage are up from poor 2018 levels.
Now would appear to be an ideal time to deal Hernandez. I simply cannot imagine the club investing in him with a contract extension for 2021 and beyond for his ages 32+ seasons when they have Kingery ready to play every day, a natural at the position, and five years younger.

FOR WHO? FOR WHAT?

So, that leaves the question of where might the Phillies find a fit as a trade partner? What team, if any, could use Hernandez, and what might any team have that might interest Klentak as a return?
Let’s begin by taking a look around the rosters of MLB teams to see if we can find any clubs who might be in the market for a second baseman.
Among contenders there are the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. Each of these teams would appear to fit the category of a contender with whom Hernandez would arguably be an upgrade at second base.
Now, what might the Phillies expect in return? Let’s face it, Hernandez is not likely to yield a top prospect as a payoff. At least not by himself. And every MLB organization protects its young pitching, which is the Phillies area of biggest need.

Spectacular defender Jackie Bradley Jr would shore up center field for the Phillies. (Keith Allison)
You might get the A’s to come off someone like 23-year-old righty Grant Holmes. Coming off a 2018 season derailed by rotator cuff troubles, the 2014 first rounder could become a solid bullpen piece. Ditto the Indians with lefty Sam Hentges, a big 22-year-old southpaw who was a fourth rounder in that same 2014 MLB Draft.
recently speculated that an interesting fit for the Phillies to take over as the everyday center fielder would be Jackie Bradley Jr.of the Bosox. The spectacular defender is the same age and in the same contract situation as Hernandez. The Red Sox could slide Andrew Benintendi over to center field as their starter for years to come.
Perhaps a deal sending Hernandez, a lefty reliever in either Adam Morgan or Jose Alvarez, and prospect arm Adonis Medina would entice Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski to solidify his second base position with Hernandez for the rest of this season and next. The lefty bullpen piece is something that Boston needs as well as they try to repeat as world champions.

DEADLINE DEALS

There are other pieces the Phillies could deal away as the deadline approaches, and still be considered as both buying and selling, keeping themselves in position to contend for an NL Wildcard now while possibly obtaining pieces to help for a better 2020 run.
Among the names who could be dealt in addition to Hernandez in such a deal are third baseman Maikel Franco, relievers Hector Neris and Juan Nicasio, and outfielder Roman Quinn. Of the current starting rotation members, and from among Vince VelasquezNick Pivetta and Zach Eflin could find themselves used as trade bait in a package.
The Phillies have a number of prospects who could be of interest to another ball club in addition to Medina. Those likely to be available include pitchers Enyel De Los SantosRanger Suarez, Jo Jo Romero and Cole Irvin. Slugging outfield prospect Jhailyn Ortiz could be available and used as part of a package deal as well.
It would be extremely surprising to see the Phillies simply sit out this trade deadline. Someone, likely a few someones, are going to be leaving. The important question that remains to be answered: Who will that be, what will be the return, and how will management’s moves effect the ability of the 2019 team to make a legitimate run at a playoff spot through the dog days of August and stretch run of September?

Marlins send Phillies to sixth straight defeat on a hit that was ten years in the making

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’EMD1_3t6R5BlFRvYjVAKug’,sig:’t_cRtakFhzQdc_jHr1kqr7Z2wSMmLfBstrHueQVyanM=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1151523322′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Wilkin Castillo waited a decade to deliver the game-winning hit

This is not a recording. The Philadelphia Phillies (39-37) lost (again) on Saturday, this time by a 5-3 score, when their bullpen collapsed (again) to blow a late-innings lead. And this was a second consecutive loss to the Miami Marlins (29-46), the team with by far the worst record in the National League.

It marks a sixth consecutive defeat for the Phillies. Eight out of nine, and 10 of their last 12, have resulted in their finishing on the lower side of the final score. The have won just six times over their last 20 games.
That is more than a losing skid, or a poor stretch of games. For a team that was 11 games over the .500 mark and in first place when it all began to slowly unravel, this is a complete and utter collapse. For fans, it has been excruciating to endure. Nothing changed this afternoon.
So they are 6-14 over the last three weeks. That is a .300 winning percentage. The lowest winning percentage right now by any team in Major League Baseball over this full season is the .286 mark owned by the woeful Baltimore Orioles. But the O’s at least won today, ending their own 10-game losing streak. Maybe the Phillies aren’t the worst team in the game right now, but you would have a hard time convincing the fan base.
There were hopeful signs early on. Vince Velasquez, given a second (third? fourth?) chance to demonstrate that he might be a viable starting pitcher took the ball and ran with it. He allowed just one hit, a third inning solo home run by JT Riddle, over five innings. Velasquez struck out five, walked none, and was in command the entire time, throwing 40 strikes among his 50 pitches.
In the bottom of that 3rd inning, the Phillies offense responded in a manner that fans have been waiting for all season. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins slammed back-to-back home runs for the first time all year to put the Phillies on top 2-1.

Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, the Phillies manufactured another run. Cesar Hernandez grounded a single, moved to second on a wild pitch by Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez, and scored when Harper slashed a base hit to the opposite field, beating the exaggerated shift put on against him by Marlins skipper Don Mattingly.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler wasn’t around to see that one cross the plate. He was tossed for the first time in his career an inning earlier after a spirited argument with the umpiring crew. He also wasn’t around to watch as his bullpen gave away that 3-1 lead.
The Marlins scored three times in the top of the 7th inning to regain the lead. Adam Morgan, newly activated from a stint on the Injured List, came out rusty. The lefty committed the cardinal baseball sin of walking the leadoff man, Garrett Cooper. Morgan then surrendered consecutive base hits to Brian Anderson and Starlin Castro, the latter hit scoring Cooper and cutting the Phillies lead to 3-2.
The Phillies nearly escaped the inning with the lead intact when Cesar Puello hit into a fielder’s choice. Hoskins fielded his grounder, fired home to J.T. Realmuto, who fired to third baseman Brad Miller, getting Anderson. Morgan then got Riddle to pop out to shortstop for the second out.
With runners at first and second and two outs, bench coach Rob Thomson, subbing for the ejected Kapler, chose to bring in Edubray Ramos to face switch-hitter Wilkin Castillo. The 35-year-old catcher hadn’t appeared in a big-league game since 2009, and was hitless on the day. So Castillo didn’t have a hit in Major League Baseball for a full decade. Now he does.
Castillo wasted no time, ripping a two-run double to right field that scored Castro and Puello, pushing the Fish into the lead at 4-3. In the top of the 8th, the Marlins got an insurance run when Cooper singled off J.D. Hammer to score Curtis Granderson, who had doubled.

Embedded video

Wilkin Castillo last played a MLB game on June 20th, 2009.

He now has a hit streak that spans 10 years.

242 people are talking about this

For Castillo, the hit was a rush, helping justify his decade-long journey through the minor leagues with six different organizations.
“It was something indescribable,” Castillo said through an interpreter per Paul Casella for MLB.com. “It’s a lot of effort, just playing winter ball in the Dominican League, the Mexican League, the Minor Leagues for 10 years. So just being up here and see things happening, I thank God, and I thank the Marlins for giving me the opportunity to be here at the Major League level.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Phillies got a leadoff single from Hernandez. But then Harper, who was 2-2 with a walk to that point of the game, grounded into a 6-3 double play. The Marlins would take their 5-3 lead into the 9th inning.
The Phillies loaded the bases with two outs in the 9th on a double by Jean Segura, a single by Scott Kingery, and a walk to pinch-hitter Roman Quinn. That brought Hernandez to the plate again, this time with a chance to really become a hero. Instead, he popped weakly to second and the losing streak was extended.
The Marlins will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies will try to end this losing streak. It will end at some point. Yet even when it does, it will serve to prove nothing. This team needs a run in the other direction, an extended winning stretch where the offense is clicking, or their season is going to completely disintegrate before our eyes.

Right now, the Phillies look like the worst team in Major League Baseball. Certainly in the National League. If they aren’t, if this is just a losing skid or a “phase”, then it’s well past time to prove it. You can only talk about your alleged talent for so long before having to back up that talk by actually winning ball games. Even one game.

Phillies hope to treat fans to a win before treating them to a free concert

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’-ZMKX4nnQuF8SJAAMC3RxQ’,sig:’HlsNJg24AirwKMGybP5PASXROIH8SaVj0eVh_ZeLuAg=’,w:’594px’,h:’395px’,items:’477063682′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Country star Brad Eldredge performs a post-game concert on Saturday

The Philadelphia Phillies (39-36) and Miami Marlins (28-46) will meet on Saturday afternoon in the second game of their weekend series at Citizens Bank Park.

For the Phillies, it will be another chance to put an end to a losing streak that has now reached five games. The club has also dropped seven of eight, and nine of their last 11 games.
This losing period has dropped the Phillies to 4.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East Division standings. The team is also now tied with the Saint Louis Cardinals, a half-game out of the NL Wildcard race.
The Marlins have now won three of their last four games. Their pitching staff has surrendered just 22 runs over the last seven (3.14 per game) and is now fourth in the National League in batting average against.
The Marlins pitching strength is certainly not good news for a struggling Phillies offensive attack. No matter how inept the Marlins own lineup is at scoring runs, the Phillies can’t win without scoring some themselves. This was perfectly demonstrated in last night’s 2-1 victory for the visitors.
No matter how the game plays out, fans will be treated to a post-game concert by country music star Brett Eldredge. The concert will begin as soon as possible after the conclusion of the game, and your game ticket is also your concert ticket.


SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Bryce Harper RF
  2. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  3. Jay Bruce LF
  4. J.T. Realmuto C
  5. Jean Segura SS
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Brad Miller 3B
  8. Vince Velasquez P
  9. Cesar Hernandez 2B
Kingery continues to get bounced between third base and center field, neither of which is his natural position, and neither of which he is anything more than passable, in Kapler’s lineup. Meanwhile, Franco is once again plopped on the bench. Miller becomes the fifth player to man the hot corner this season. Franco has the best fielding percentage (.986; two errors in 144 total chances) among all qualifying 3rd basemen in the big-leagues. The manager also is once again trying the old pitcher-hitting-eighth strategy, and is batting his 3-4 guys at leadoff and in the two-hole. None of this has worked to this point. But hey, let’s keep it going. The Analytics Department says it’s our best option. Or something.

MARLINS

  1. Miguel Rojas SS
  2. Curtis Granderson LF
  3. Garrett Cooper 1B
  4. Brian Anderson 3B
  5. Starlin Castro 2B
  6. Cesar Puello RF
  7. JT Riddle CF
  8. Wilkin Castillo C
  9. Elieser Hernandez P
Manager Don Mattingly has to cringe inside when he makes out this lineup card.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Vince Velasquez: 2-4, 4.71 ERA, 1.524 WHIP, 43 hits over 42 IP across 17 games (7 starts) with a 49/21 K:BB ratio. Velasquez is expected to be used as an actual starting pitcher today, not as simply an “opener”, which was the case in his last outing six days ago. His last true starting effort came all the way back on May 6. Velasquez posted a 2.08 ERA (5 ER, 21.2 IP) over his first four starts of the season, but has since posted a 10.80 ERA over his last three, lasting four innings or fewer in all of them. During his seven starts, Velasquez has received only seven runs of support while he was in the game (1.99 run support average), and never more than two runs. No starter in baseball with more than five starts has received as few runs in support this season.
This can be considered an audition for the right-hander, who had a 4.82 ERA and .342 batting average against over nine games coming out of the bullpen.
MARLINS – Elieser Hernandez: 0-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 14 hits allowed over 13.2 IP over 3 games (2 starts) with a 13/2 K:BB ratio. Hernandez is a 24-year-old right-hander from Venezuela. He debuted in 2018 with 32 appearances, including a half-dozen starts. He began this season at Triple-A, and entered the Marlins rotation on June 11. This will be his third start since that time.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Catching today for the Marlins is the 35-year-old Castillo, who was last in the big leagues during the last season in which the Phillies won the National League pennant. He appeared in 22 games combined with the Cincinnati Reds over 2008-09. After that, Castillo bounced through five organizations over the last decade. He is finally emerging here out of the Miami minors system only because of an injury to Jorge Alfaro.
  • Realmuto threw out his 19th runner attempting to steal last night, and is credited with 23 total caught stealings on the season (he is co-credited for 4 instances when a pitcher caught a runner stealing). He is also the first Phillies catcher with 23 caught stealings before July since Carlos Ruiz back in 2012, and the first in MLB since 2016. Per Statcast, Realmuto’s pop time is 1.88 seconds, which is the quickest in baseball and would be the quickest ever since Statcast began measuring in 2015.
  • Kingery’s .650 slugging percentage ranks sixth among all major league players with at least 140 plate appearances this season. Over his last 10 games, Kingery is hitting .405 with 10 of his 15 hits going for extra bases. Among all major league players, his 14 extra-base hits in June are tied for third-most.
  • As part of last night’s sellout crowd, the Phillies have announced that Brian Morris became the 150 millionth fan ever to attend a Phillies game. Morris was presented with an autographed Phillies jersey with the number “150” on it by Charlie Manuel. He will also receive two 2020 partial season tickets, limited edition Chase Utley memorabilia, an autographed Rhys Hoskins ball and more. The Phillies reached their one-millionth fan in 1889, 50 million in 1977, and 100 million in 2000.
  • The Marlins got on the scoreboard first on Friday night. The Phillies are now just 14-28 when the opposition scores first. They are 25-8 when putting a run on the board first themselves.
  • Think the bullpen is glad to have southpaw Adam Morgan back in the mix? He has not allowed a home run to the last 118 lefty hitters faced dating back to last June, and only one homer to the last 193 lefty bats faced since August 2017.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION