Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

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

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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.

 

MLB 2019 Power Ranking: August 15

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The Philadelphia Phillies find themselves once again at 14th overall in the 2019 MLB Power Rankings as we reach the heart of the dog days of August.

Five clubs will make the playoffs from the National League. Each division champion will be joined by a pair of Wildcard teams.
In this August 15 version of the Power Rankings, while the Phillies remain right where they were back on August 1 among all teams in Major League Baseball, they have slipped a notch in the National League.
On August 1, the Phillies were the sixth-highest ranked team and were involved in a three-way tie for the two NL Wildcard spots. Now they have slipped a notch, to seventh in the NL. The standings reflect that slippage, as the club is now two games in back of the second Wildcard.
The Phillies have four games left head-to-head with the Nationals, who now control the top NL Wildcard spot, three games ahead of the Phils. Those will take place in Washington at the end of September.
The Cubs are the team in the second Wildcard spot. The Phillies have captured the first two games of a head-to-head series between the two teams, and are 4-2 against Chicago this season.  On Thursday night, the Phillies try to sweep the series and move within a game of the Cubs.
My own personal feelings never have anything to do with the MLB Power Rankings. Instead, the rank is all about actual team performance: results in the standings and statistical breakdowns.
I take what I have found to be key statistical categories and rank each of the 30 teams in Major League baseball on their ability to win ball games and perform on offense, the pitching mound, and in the field. There is never any subjectivity or opinion involved.

The MLB Power Rankings will be updated here at my website on roughly the 1st and 15th of the month for the remainder of the regular season using the following methodology.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

Introduced and then upgraded during the course of last season, my formula for compiling the rankings is always being researched to see if it can be improved upon.
That formula carried two categories over from the 2018 season: winning percentage and OPS against. The first is simple, reflecting each team’s ability to actually win ball games. The second reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control the game and limit damage.
As of my first ranking for the 2019 season, runs-per-game replaced last year’s “runs scored” in order to get the offensive component. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games.
Also this summer, the defensive component was changed. The defensive metric beginning with the July 15 rankings was switched to “Defensive runs saved” as measured at Fangraphs, replacing the previous “fielding percentage” to gauge a team’s defensive effectiveness.
I then assign each of those four component category team rankings a 1-30 numerical value, and simply add those values up to determine an overall final ratings score. Where there is a tie, it is broken by win-loss percentage since, in the end, winning is what it’s all about.

2019 AUGUST 1 –  MLB RANKINGS

The Los Angeles Dodgers are again technically at the top of the Power Rankings. It marks a second straight period at the top for the Dodgers, and their third top-ranked position of the six rankings that I’ve done this season.
However, the new top team from the American League was actually tied with the Dodgers in points. That would be the Houston Astros, who held the top position themselves during two of the three periods in which the Dodgers didn’t control the top spot.
Houston was only slotted in at #2 due to the tie-breaker that I use, which is their overall win-loss record. The Astros did pass the Minnesota Twins, who are the only other team besides  the Dodgers or Houston to hold the top position, as the top AL ball club.
The Cleveland Indians continue to move up, now a top five team. The Arizona Diamondbacks, who sit 3.5 games out in the Wildcard race in the actual standings, remain the biggest enigma, with the formula spitting them out as the second-best team in the National League and eighth overall.
On the rise further back are the New York Mets, who have moved into the top twenty for the first time all season.
In parentheses are each team’s position in the June 1, June 15 , July 1, July 15 and August 1 rankings, shown in that order from left to right.
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (1-3-2-2-1)
  2. Houston Astros (3-1-1-5-3)
  3. Minnesota Twins (2-2-3-1-2)
  4. Oakland Athletics (8-12-5-3-4)
  5. Cleveland Indians (18-18-15-10-6)
  6. Tampa Bay Rays (4-4-4-4-5)
  7. New York Yankees (5-8-9-6-10)
  8. Arizona Diamondbacks (9-5-6-9-7)
  9. Atlanta Braves (12-9-7-12-12)
  10. Chicago Cubs (10-13-11-7-9)
  11. Boston Red Sox (6-6-10-8-8)
  12. Saint Louis Cardinals (14-15-14-14-15)
  13. Washington Nationals (24-19-13-13-13)
  14. Philadelphia Phillies (15-14-18-16-14)
  15. Los Angeles Angels (19-17-19-11-11)
  16. Milwaukee Brewers (7-10-16-19-16)
  17. Cincinnati Reds (13-16-17-18-17)
  18. San Diego Padres (17-20-20-17-20)
  19. New York Mets (22-23-24-25-24)
  20. San Francisco Giants (29-27-25-21-18)
  21. Texas Rangers (16-11-8-15-19)
  22. Kansas City Royals (21-21-22-22-22)
  23. Colorado Rockies (11-7-12-20-21)
  24. Miami Marlins (23-26-21-23-23)
  25. Toronto Blue Jays (28-28-26-28-27)
  26. Chicago White Sox (25-24-28-27-28)
  27. Seattle Mariners (26-22-27-26-26)
  28. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-25-23-24-25)
  29. Baltimore Orioles (30-30-30-30-29)
  30. Detroit Tigers (27-29-29-29-30)

SPOTLIGHT TEAM: ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Previous spotlight teams: Minnesota (6/01), Atlanta (6/15), Texas (7/01), Oakland (7/15), Tampa Bay (8/01)
 
The Arizona Diamondbacks woke up on Thursday morning at 61-60, just barely above the .500 mark. They are a distant second in the NL West Division, 19 games behind the Dodgers in the loss column. They also sit a game ahead of the division-rival Giants.
Manager Torey Lovullo is in his third season at the helm in the Arizona desert. During his first season back in 2017, Lovullo guided the Dbacks to a playoff berth and was named the NL Manager of the Year. Last season, Arizona led the division into September but collapsed in much the same way as did the Phillies.
 
This year, the Dbacks have bounced back and forth between second place and third in the division since the start of July. They have also again mirrored the Phillies in a way, in that they have not been able to go on either a long winning streak to solidy a playoff berth or a deep losing skid to fall out of the race.
 
Arizona ranks as the top team in baseball defensively – by a wide margin – and that is a major reason for their high finish in the Power Rankings. They also rank 8th in runs-per-game, and their 11th ranked pitching staff is also solid. 
 
Despite a strong defense, productive offense, and that solid pitching the Dbacks just cannot seem to win consistently. With a bunch of really good ballplayers, they seem to be lacking that one big star, the “straw that stirs the drink” type player.
 
Here in the middle of August, eight teams are within 4.5 games of one another in the battle for the two NL Wildcard playoff berths. My bet is that by the time these MLB Power Rankings are next updated on September 1, at least a couple of those will have fallen out of the race. My bet is that Arizona will not be one of those.

Cubs walkoff the Phillies with rally in bottom of the 9th

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Kris Bryant led the Cubs past the Phillies on Tuesday night at Wrigley

The host Chicago Cubs (28-18) rallied to a 3-2 walkoff victory over the Philadelphia Phillies (28-20) by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the 9th inning on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field on Chicago’s North Side.

The Cubs got on the board first thanks to the aggressiveness of Kris Bryant. The Cubs third baseman singled with one out in the bottom of the 1st inning and moved to second when Anthony Rizzo followed by drawing a walk.
Both runners were moving as Willson Contreras grounded to short, keeping them out of the doubleplay. The move paid off doubly as Bryant never stopped running while Jean Segura threw to first. Bryant slid in to home plate just ahead of the throw from Rhys Hoskins to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs nearly put another on the board in the home 4th inning. With two outs, Kyle Schwarber drew a walk. Bryant followed with a double down the left field line as Schwarber raced home and crossed the plate.
However, a challenge from Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler went the Phillies way thanks to a “stadium ground rules boundary” ruling that changed the play to a ground rule double. Schwarber was put back at third base, and Eflin then retired Rizzo on a fly out to center to escape trouble.

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After making the final out in right field in the sixth inning, Bryce Harper trolls Cubs fans and LAUNCHED the ball out of Wrigley Field and on to the rooftop. 😂

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Maddon pinch-hit for Quintana in the bottom of the 6th inning. He had stymied the Phillies to that point, but also had reached 100 pitches for just the third time this season. It would prove to be just the opening that the visitors needed.

With Carl Edwards on to pitch in the top of the 7th inning, Cesar Hernandez led off with a looping single to left field. After Scott Kingery hit into a force out, Maikel Franco one-hopped a double off the ivy in left field. Kingery rolled around to third and the Phillies had runners at second and third with one out.
Kapler sent the slumping Odubel Herrera up to hit for Eflin. Herrera ripped a ball back to Edwards, who made a fantastic stab to grab the ball and retire Herrera at 1st base with the runners holding. Maddon then went to a pitching change again, and again it burned him.

Andrew McCutchen‘s clutch two-out, two-run single in the top of the 7th inning gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)
Andrew McCutchen stepped in against the new Cubs hurler, righty Brandon Kintzler. The Phillies veteran right fielder jumped on a 2-2 sinker, ripping it up the box for a two-run single that finally put the Phillies on the board with a 2-1 lead.
It was Kapler’s turn to go to his bullpen, and he called on 22-year-old Edgar Garcia for the bottom of the 7th. After surrendering a leadoff base hit to Bryant the young righty retired the next two batters.
Kapler then brought in Jose Alvarez to face the lefty bat of Jason Heyward. Alvarez sawed off Heyward’s bat, getting him to ground to shortstop for the final out. Alvarez then came back out for the bottom of the 8th inning and worked around a couple of baserunners to keep the 2-1 lead intact.
In the top of the 9th inning, Kingery drilled a one-hopper off the ivy in left off Cubs reliever Xavier Cedeno for a one-out double. Maddon then made another bullpen move, bringing in Kyle Ryan. The lefty got Franco to ground out to third base for the second out, then struck out pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin to end the threat.
Kapler brought out Juan Nicasio to try to close it out in the bottom of the 9th with a one-run lead. He promptly broke the baseball cardinal rule, walking Bryant as the leadoff man. Rizzo then followed by ripping a double into the right field corner and the Cubs had the tying run just 90 feet away, the winning run in scoring position at second base, nobody out.
Contreras then lifted a short fly into left field. Harper grabbed it and set to throw home, too shallow for the tagging Bryant to score. Kapler then ordered Heyward walked to load the bases. Almora  dribbled a ball in front of the plate. Nicasio grabbed it, but delivered a weak flip home as Bryant slid in with the tying run.
The next move in the chess match was Maddon’s, and he had a good one available to him. He sent the electric Javier Baez, normally the starting shortstop but out of the lineup the last two nights with a minor injury, up as a pinch-hitter. Baez wasted no time, ripping the walkoff base hit to right field as Rizzo trotted home with the winning run.
On Wednesday night for the first time in his career, Cole Hamels will take the mound to go against the Phillies team with which he won the 2008 World Series.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

  • Zach Eflin, Phillies: 6 IP, 6 hits, 1 earned run, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts. 104 pitches, 62 for strikes.
  • Jose Quintana, Cubs: 6 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts. 100 pitches, 59 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: KRIS BRYANT

The Cubs third baseman went 3-4 with a walk and a pair of runs scored. His hustle led to the Cubs first run of the game back in the bottom of the 1st inning. And that walk started off the rally in the bottom of the 9th inning that won it for the home team.
NEXT GAME

Big four-game series between Phillies and Cubs continues at Wrigley Field

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Wrigley Field is the site of a four-game series between Phillies and Cubs

The Philadelphia Phillies (28-19) woke up this morning in the Windy City with the club sitting at nine games over the .500 mark for the first time since last September 2.

On Tuesday night at Wrigley Field the Phillies will try to clinch at least a tie from this four-game series with the host Chicago Cubs (27-18) as the two first-place teams continue their battle. In last night’s wild series opener, the Phillies captured a 5-4 victory in 10 innings.
The Phillies have now won four straight close affairs to fashion their first four-game winning streak since capturing the first four of the 2019 season. During this stretch, the Phillies have won three times by a single run and won by two runs in the other game.
From July 31 through August 5 of last season the Phillies won five in a row. That pushed the club to 15 games over the .500 mark for the first time since the 2011 season. It was also the last time that the team won five straight games. They won six in a row twice during last season. On Tuesday night they will try to get five straight for the first time in the 2019 season.

TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

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


CUBS LINEUP

  1. Kyle Schwarber LF
  2. Kris Bryant 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo 1B
  4. Wilson Contreras C
  5. Jason Heyward RF
  6. Albert Almora CF
  7. Daniel Descalso 2B
  8. Addison Russell SS
  9. Jose Quintana P

INJURY REPORT

Phillies: Starting pitcher Vince Velasquez hopes to throw a bullpen this week after suffering a strained elbow and being placed on the IL back on May 11. Relievers David RobertsonTommy HunterEdubray Ramos and Victor Arano remain on the Injured List. None is close to a return at this point. Outfielder Roman Quinn has ramped up running as he continues recovering after suffering a groin strain. He will not return for this series.
Cubs: Electric shortstop Javier Baez will miss a second straight game in this series with a heel injury suffered in Sunday’s game. He could see action as a pinch-hitter and is considered day-to-day at this point. Reliever Pedro Strop is on the IL with a hamstring injury and will miss this series. Also out from the Cubs pen mix are Brandon Morrow and Kendall Graveman, both with elbow injuries. Graveman underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2018.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Zach Eflin: 5-4, 2.89 ERA, 1.089 WHIP, 52 hits allowed over 56 innings across nine starts with a 45/9 K:BB ratio.
  • Following three straight Quality Starts, Eflin was whacked around by Milwaukee last Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. He surrendered four earned runs on seven hits over five innings in that afternoon affair.
  • Eflin is 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA over three appearances against the Cubs, against whom he has not allowed a home run over 19.2 innings. The righty has made two career starts at Wrigley, one in each of the past two seasons, and lasted at least seven innings in both.
  • Jose Quintana: 4-3, 3.68 ERA, 1.266 WHIP, 50 hits allowed over 51.1 innings across nine outings, eight starts with a 50/15 K:BB ratio.
  • The 30-year old lefty from Colombia lasted just five innings in his most recent start on Thursday in Cincinnati. He surrendered three earned runs on six hits in suffering his second straight loss.
  • Quintana has faced the Phillies just four times over his eight-year big-league career. He tossed a pair of no-decisions against them last season, allowing just six hits over 11.2 innings, striking out 17 while walking just three batters.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Monday night’s extra-inning victory was the first win for the Phillies this season when trailing after eight innings. They had been 0-14 prior to last night’s rally.
  • Jean Segura‘s game-tying base hit in the top of the 9th on Monday night extended his hitting streak out to 11 games.
  • Bryce Harper worked a walk on Monday night and has now reached base safely in all 19 career games that he has played at Wrigley Field.
  • Hector Neris has converted 10 straight Saves since last May 21, the second-longest streak of his career. In those last 10 save opportunities, Neris has pitched 11.1 innings, allowing just three hits and a walk with 15 strikeouts. He has a miniscule 0.98 ERA since allowing a pair of runs on Opening Day.
  • Juan Nicasio earned his first Save with the Phillies on Monday night. The veteran right-hander has not allowed an earned run in his last 11.1 innings over 10 appearances.
  • In a 14-game stretch at the start of May, 27-year-old third baseman Kris Bryant slashed .377/.500/.906 with eight homers and 17 RBIs. But after going 0-5 in Monday’s series opener he is now just 1-12 over his last three games. Hopefully the Phillies are catching him just as he cools down.
  • Joe Maddon is now in his fifth season as the Cubs manager. He was at the helm of the Tampa Bay Rays during their 2008 World Series loss to the Phillies. Maddon now has a 1,195-1,008 record as a big-league skipper. The wins total is 43rd all-time in MLB, with only Bruce BochyTerry Francona and Clint Hurdle ahead of him among active managers.
  • The Phillies have announced that their recent “Phantastic Auction” raised a record $205,000 to benefit Phillies Charities, Inc.

TUESDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Jake Arrieta returning to form will be a major key for 2019 Phillies success

Arrieta had January knee surgery and looks ready
It was just over a year ago, on March 12, 2018, that free agent starting pitcher Jake Arrieta finally found a team for his services. Somewhat surprisingly, that team was the Philadelphia Phillies.
His choice was a bit of a surprise in that the Phillies were still trying to find a path back to long-term contending status. The team had not been a winner since 2011. At age 32, Arrieta was coming off a three-year stretch in which he had won both a Cy Young Award and World Series with the Chicago Cubs.
But with no other suitors willing to meet his price on a multi-year deal, Arrieta accepted the Phillies offer of a guaranteed $75 million over three seasons with two additional club option years.
The Phillies hoped that eight-year veteran could provide leadership to an otherwise young rotation as well as deliver consistently strong outings to help push the team closer to contention.
The leadership has come. The consistent strong outings came as well, but only for the first two months of the 2018 season. On May 29 of last season, Arrieta went seven shutout innings at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as the Phillies downed the hosts by a 6-1 score.
He allowed just six hits, walked two and struck out five in raising his record to 5-2 on the year to that point. Over those first two months the right-hander allowed just a .230 batting average against. He yielded 48 hits over 58.1 innings with a 40/19 K:BB ratio and had given up just two home runs over his first 10 starts in a Phillies uniform.
But trouble suddenly developed in June. He suffered losses in four of his five outings and produced a frightening 6.66 ERA while surrendering seven long balls. Arrieta bounced back in July, when he pitched to a 2.80 ERA and .238 BAA across six starts. He went 4-0 in that stretch and allowed just two balls to leave the yard.
His August began with a gem in the Arizona desert. Arrieta went eight shutout innings against the host Diamondbacks, allowing just three hits and two walks. Unfortunately, young closer Seranthony Dominguez came on and blew a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 9th of a game that the Phillies would ultimately lose in 14 innings.
Arrieta was rocked in San Diego six days later but recovered with a strong outing at home against the Mets on August 18. However, the offense let him down in that one for a 3-1 defeat. That was the first of eight losses in ten games that would drop the Phillies from a neck-and-neck battle with the Atlanta Braves at the top of the NL East standings to 4.5 games out.
By the end of the season it would grow to a 10-game deficit, and the pitching of Arrieta was partially to blame. Over his final seven starts beginning on August 24 he went just 1-3 with a 6.82 ERA, allowing 40 hits including nine homers over 34.1 innings.

We would later learn that Arrieta had suffered an injury to his left knee, possibly in June of last year or earlier when his results first began to deteriorate. He pitched through discomfort the rest of the way and was still trying to work through it when, during a workout this off-season, something popped. It turns out that he had a torn meniscus.
I was able to pitch pretty effectively and it didn’t bother me too much in between starts,” Arrieta said per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com after undergoing surgery in January of this year. “Then in the offseason training, just doing some routine stuff, moving around a little bit, I came up out of the seated position and there were a couple pops. It didn’t feel right.
Jake’s a tough individual, so he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to let on that something’s bugging him, because there’s a lot of pride there,” manager Gabe Kapler said per Zolecki. “My understanding was that it was an injury that he sustained during one of his workouts. … Obviously, Jake knows his body very well and he was feeling it last season.
Now as they prepare to open the most anticipated season for the team and its fans in eight years, Arrieta has a key role to play in the rotation once again. With the knee fixed it is hoped that he can put together a complete season closer to his Cubs years.
Arrieta wrapped up his and the Phillies spring training preparations with a strong Grapefruit League outing on Monday afternoon. Over six strong innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in Clearwater he struck out eight and walked no one while allowing two earned runs on six hits.
Of course I think we’re a playoff team,” Arrieta said following that outing per Tom Housenick for The Intelligencer. “Look at our team last year. We were borderline. We had our chances, but some youth, some inexperience, maybe some hangover from some tough series carried over to the next (series) instead of the cliché of turning the page quick. … This group is much better suited to take on that task and deal with adversity, process it and move forward in a positive way…
With the additions of Bryce HarperJ.T. RealmutoJean Segura and Andrew McCutchen, the Phillies lineup is anything but “borderline” now. If what we saw on Monday is any indication of what we’re going to get most of this coming season from Arrieta on the mound, that will help to ensure that there is no collapse over the final month this time around.
He takes the mound for the first time next Sunday night in front of a packed house against the defending NL East champion Atlanta Braves in a nationally televised game. It will be the first of hopefully some 35-40 starts for Arrieta in the coming season…and postseason.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies need the real Jake Arrieta to help lead 2019 rotation