Tag Archives: Cesar Hernandez

Confession of a Phillies fan who left the Harper walkoff slam game early

Embed from Getty Images

I have a confession to make. I’m a lifelong Phillies fan. A partial season ticket holder. I write about the team frequently here at my website.

I was at Thusday night’s game in which the team rallied scoring seven times in the final two innings to come from five runs down and win on Bryce Harper‘s walkoff grand slam.

And I saw none of it. None of the runs. No part of the rally. Not live and in person anyway.

I gave up, and I left early.

To set the stage for you, this was perhaps the eighth game that I had been to this season. After an early season hot streak, things had deteriorated, for me and the ball club.

In each of the previous two games that I had been to, the Phillies had been blown out. Not only that, but they had not even shown up. Both times they were nearly shutout, had few hits, and the games were over by the middle innings.

Thursday night was much the same. The Phillies were down 5-0 when the top of the 8th inning rolled around. They had just four hits. Yu Darvish of the Cubs was dominating, striking out ten batters over seven innings.

So, as the 7th inning rolled around, I turned to my daughter with whom I was attending the game and told her that we would give it one more inning.

Really, I wasn’t hoping for much from the Phillies at that point. The club was down 5-0 on the scoreboard and showing no life. This night on the field appeared to be solely for the many Cubs fans in the stands, including one who was seated directly behind us and had been chirping all night long.

No, I was willing to stay through the 7th inning to see, of all things, the Phillie Phanatic. Hey, the big green furry guy puts on a nice show in that frame, dancing on the Phillies dugout roof. He didn’t disappoint, doing a nice number with a dance troupe from Temple University.

And so, as the action got underway in the top of the 8th, we left.

There was a good crowd at the ball park on a beautiful night. More than 37,000 showed up. Many left, both before us and as we were leaving. But there were still many who stayed. Those who stayed to the end would be the lucky ones. Well, at least those rooting for the home team.

We headed to the car, down towards I-95, and up onto the highway northbound. At somewhere between Bridge Street and Academy Road, the Phillies scored a run. I told my daughter, who was flipping through her phone in the passenger seat, that we scored a run. “Yay” she said, with sarcastic feigned enthusiasm.

I dropped her off at her house, and continued on to home. On the way, my wife asked me to make a stop at Wawa. As I drew nearer to our neighborhood, the Phillies had put two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning, still down 5-1.

I slipped through the dark and quiet streets of our neighborhood, my headlights streaming out and the street lamps helping light the way, and as I pulled into the Wawa parking lot a base hit by Brad Miller scored Cesar Hernandez to make it a 5-2 ball game.

Things were getting a little interesting. Roman Quinn, who has been hot for awhile now, was coming to the plate. He would be followed by Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper. Dare we dream?

As Cubs skipper Joe Maddon went to the mound to make a pitching change, I went into the Wawa.

Got myself a coffee, and the night manager, a nice guy who I’ve seen in there many times, saw my Phillies t-shirt and cap and said “I guess they lost, huh?

I told him that I had been down there, left when it was 5-0, but now they had a little rally going in the bottom of the 9th, down 5-2. He asked who was up, and I told him that it was Quinn. He kind of nodded with an “oh well” look on his face.

As I walked through the store to find an item for my wife, a notice came over my phone that Quinn had delivered an RBI single to make it a 5-3 game. I rushed back to Mr. Wawa Manager to let him know, and he said “guess I better find a place to listen.” I hope he did.

I got my items, paid, and left the store. Back in my car, I heard that Rhys Hoskins had somehow reached base – I just assumed a walk at that point – and that Bryce Harper was now up with the bases loaded.

Harper battled reliever Derek Holland during my four block drive home. I had just pulled in front of my house and was parking my car when…

You know the rest. Scott Franzke’s typically fantastic voice raised with the call “Swung on…hit high and deep…right field…and that…ball…is……goooooone!

Needless to say, finishing my parking job got a little bit tougher with that adrenalin jolt.

I got out of the car and hurried into my house. My wife, knowing that I was on my way and knowing her husband, had the game on, watched that ending, and had rewound it so that I could watch the end.

Watching it on TV was just as dramatic, even knowing how it ended. I rewound a little further so that I could enjoy the entire rally. When that TV coverage got to the home run, chills again thanks to John Kruk‘s now legendary “Oh my God!!” as soon as the ball left the bat.

So, I was there on Thursday night. I was at Citizens Bank Park for the game in which the Phillies rallied from down 5-0 in the 8th inning and 5-1 in the 9th to win on a walkoff grand slam by Bryce Harper.

I had a nice evening. My daughter and I ate and had a couple of beers before the game at Pass & Stow. We enjoyed each other’s company and chatted as we watched the game.

But we were not there at the end. We didn’t get to enjoy “the moment.”

You tell yourself a lot of things when you leave early, as I have done many times over the years. Gotta beat the crowd, the traffic being the main thing. I don’t believe that what happened last night has ever happened in a game that I left early before.

So, the question is – will I ever leave early again? Of course I will. Probably the very next game that I attend. And if the Phillies are losing, even losing big, I’ll hope and pray that I get to listen on the radio and/or watch on TV as they rally again.

 

Madison Bumgarner nearly perfect against lifeless Phillies in series opener

Embed from Getty Images

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.

 

 

See Phillies Nation’s other Tweets

 

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.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME

 

 

Phillies host Giants in series finale at Citizens Bank Park

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’EHpTnigqStV90GhifqkSaQ’,sig:’tMag5th-2XdbbYNz-tDMAagrXVzjkQAzaJ5LJ1A4aWk=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’146213187′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Fans flock to Citizens Bank Park for Phillies day baseball

The Philadelphia Phillies (56-51) host the San Francisco Giants (55-53) in the rubber match of a three-game series on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

For both the Phillies and Giants, this is yet another key match-up as both clubs continue to remain in contention for a National League Wildcard playoff berth.
The Phillies enter the game tied with the Washington Nationals in the loss column for the second of two postseason Wildcard spots, one game behind the Chicago Cubs and Saint Louis Cardinals. Those two are tied for the NL Central lead and the first Wildcard spot.
Unable to get any momentum going in either direction, the Phillies continue to tread water in the standings. They have not lost more than two straight since the middle of June. The Phillies have also won as many as three in a row just once in that same span.
In exactly one week from now, these same two teams will be opening a four-game long weekend series at Oracle Park in San Francisco. So, if familiarity breeds contempt, expect some hot match-ups over the next ten days as Gabe Kapler and Bruce Bochy try to separate their clubs from one another and the rest of the Wildcard pack during the dog days of August.

THURSDAY 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. Jake Arrieta P

GIANTS

  1. Brandon Belt 1B
  2. Mike Yastrzemski LF
  3. Pablo Sandoval 3B
  4. Stephen Vogt C
  5. Brandon Crawford SS
  6. Kevin Pillar CF
  7. Joe Panik 2B
  8. Austin Slater RF
  9. Dereck Rodriguez P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

Phillies – Jake Arrieta: 8-8, 4.51 ERA, 4.99 FIP, 1.456 WHIP, 133 hits over 123.2 IP with a 95/47 K: BB
Giants – Dereck Rodriguez (27/RH): 4-5, 4.99 ERA, 5.19 FIP, 1.386 WHIP, 62 hits over 61.1 IP with a 42/23 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Rodriguez has one previous career appearance against the Phillies. On June 3 of last season, he allowed just one run on five hits over six innings, striking out six and walking two in a 6-1 Giants victory.
  • Hernandez leads the Phillies and is 2nd among all NL second baseman in hits (113) this year. His 34 multi-hit games also leads the team.
  • Realmuto leads all MLB catchers with 24 attempted base stealers thrown out this season.
  • Franco is the only National League hitter this season with at least 15 HR and fewer than 50 strikeouts

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Hunter Pence, Ian Happ would be perfect fits for Phillies bench at trade deadline

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’BoRv7wMGTux80cS7V-6bCQ’,sig:’k1jU1pxz9cppku_mnm8hu1a_LuHHySzHOV4GU5lSmjo=’,w:’594px’,h:’393px’,items:’1140378948′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Hunter Pence has refreshed his career at home in Texas

The majority of chatter and rumor involving the Philadelphia Phillies as the 2019 trade deadline approaches has revolved around pitching, and for good reason. The Phillies are probably going to need to find a pair of new starting pitchers in order to remain in contention for a postseason spot this year, and that remains the case after the signing of lefty Drew Smyly.

However, there is no doubt that the club could also use better options coming off their bench. There are a pair of hitters rumored to be available who could help bolster those bench options for manager Gabe Kapler.
One of those is a name and face familiar to many Phillies fans, corner outfielder Hunter Pence. After completely reworking his swing and rededicating himself to a new training regimen, Pence stunned many across baseball by emerging as an AL All-Star this season at age 36.
Pence, who plays for the Texas Rangers, is now the subject of a new documentary “The Pence Method“, which will air for the first time tonight (Saturday) on FS1 at 9;00 PM.
Jeff Wilson for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram interviewed Pence recently, and quoted him on how it felt to know that teams were interested once they learned of the changes he was making.
There was a lot of doubt. I lost my job. I wasn’t playing every day, and it hits your confidence. I wasn’t necessarily doing great right away. It took a lot of failing to really learn the swing change. When you’re going through that process, and when I heard that at the winter meetings at lot of general managers were interested, it was tears of joy. I felt super grateful and honored. It was like a light at the end of the tunnel.
Pence, who has earned more than $120 million over a 12-year big-league career which included a stop in Philadelphia from July 2011 through July 2012, would eventually accept a $2 million dollar, one-year deal with the Rangers. He has far outperformed that contract.
Over 58 games and 228 plate appearances, Pence is slashing .291/.351/.587 with 15  home runs, 30 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs and 45 runs scored. He has an outstanding .938 OPS, and while used mostly as a DH (30 games), Pence has also played 16 games in left field and five in right.
Coming back to Philly, Pence would become a right-handed bat off the bench as a pinch-hitter while also providing occasional innings as a corner outfielder.
Texas was in the AL Wildcard race throughout the season’s first half. But having lost 11 of their last 15, the Rangers now find themselves 5.5 games in back of the second Wildcard spot and nine games out in the AL West Division. At some point soon they are going to have to do the right thing and sell on what has basically been a rental player in Pence.
Getting a big price in return will not be easy, despite his production. But any contender could use a player with the energy, dedication and skills of a Hunter Pence. The Phillies especially so, if a trade match can be found.
Perhaps the Rangers would take a flyer on someone like Nick Pivetta, just bumped to the bullpen by the Phillies in favor of newcomer Drew Smyly, for their rotation?

MINOR LEAGUE UTILITY PLAYER COULD ALSO HELP

Ian Happ appeared as a utility player in each of the last two seasons with the Cubs, but has been at Triple-A all of this year. (Ian D’Andrea)
The other interesting available name is that of Ian Happ, currently playing at Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs system. Happ is a 24-year-old (he turns 25 next month) who appeared with the Cubs as a utility player in each of the last two seasons, but has not been called up yet in 2019.
Across the outfield, Happ appeared in 117 games in center, 88 in left and 38 in right field. On the infield he played in 46 games at second base, 24 at third base and saw action at first base for a pair of games.
This year at Iowa, Happ has split his time between center field (76) and second base (19) while also appearing twice in left field. He has produced 16 homers, 34 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs and 63 runs scored while also stealing nine bags.
The Cubs might actually be a fit for someone like either Cesar Hernandez or Maikel Franco. A straight-up swap of Happ for Hernandez would allow the Phillies to put Scott Kingery at second base on an everyday basis, with Happ taking over the center field depth spot and spelling almost anyone at any other position as well.
This is a deal that could potentially expand to see the Phillies go after Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini as their own new backup behind the plate to replace Andrew Knapp, who has appeared over-matched for the most part. With the Cubs recent signing of Martin Maldonado and the anticipated return next week of two-time NL All-Star Willson Contreras, general manager Jed Hoyer may be inclined to swap both Happ and Caratini if the right pieces can be found in return.
Sure, let’s keep the focus on the starting rotation, where it belongs. But if Phillies general manager Matt Klentak doesn’t also have his eye on making improvements to the club’s bench, it could eventually sink the team down the stretch. Pence and Happ would upgrade the Phillies depth for the 2019 playoff push.

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?