Tag Archives: Cody Bellinger

Five Phillies have been named the NL Most Valuable Player

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Klein was the National League MVP in 1932 and finished as runner-up in both 1931 and 1933

 

Major League Baseball will conclude the process of handing out hardware to the 2019 award winners on Thursday with the naming of the National and American League Most Valuable Players.

In a televised announcement on the MLB Network beginning at 6:00 pm EST, the official BBWAA award winners will be announced.

As has been the case all week, the IBWAA (internet writers/bloggers) named their winners during the afternoon.

 

This year’s three finalists for the BBWAA honors in the National League are outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger of the LA Dodgers, third baseman Anthony Rendon of the world champion Washington Nationals, and outfielder Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers, the latter of whom as last year’s winner.

Over in the American League the finalists are third baseman Alex Bregman of the pennant-winning Houston Astros, shortstop Marcus Semien of the Oakland A’s, and outfielder Mike Trout of the LA Angels. Trout is a two-time AL MVP and four-time runner-up for the honors.

My thought is that Bellinger will win the NL MVP honors. But my pick would be Rendon. The Nationals turned their season around after a miserable first seven weeks, put up the NL’s best record over the final four months, and won the first world championship in franchise history. Rendon’s productive bat and outstanding play at the hot corner were keys.

In the American League, there is little doubt that Trout is baseball’s best all-around player. But this is not the “Most Outstanding Player” award, it’s for the most valuable. The Halos finished 18 games below the .500 mark and in fourth place. Bregman is similarly outstanding, and his club won. But he was surrounded by easily the best and deepest lineup in the league.

Semien is nowhere near as well known in wider baseball circles. However, his value to the NL West runners-up in leading the small-market Athletics to the postseason for a second straight year is worthy of the award: 33 homers, 83 extra-base hits, 92 RBIs, 123 runs scored and outstanding defensive play at shortstop helped add up to 8.1 total WAR. He would be my choice.

The origins of a formal Most Valuable Player in baseball can be traced back to the 1911 season, and an early automobile manufacturer by the name of Hugh Chalmers.

Chalmers company presented a vehicle to the player with the highest batting average after the 1910 season. For 1911 he instituted the Chalmers Award, with a baseball writer’s committee formed to select what was described as the “most important and useful player to the club and to the league“.

The Chalmers Award was handed out following the next four seasons from 1911-14, and the winners are a who’s who of Hall of Famers: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Walter Johnson, and Eddie Collins. As World War I began and national attention diverted to the effort that summer, the award was discontinued after the 1914 season.

The American League decided to hand out an award beginning in 1922 to “the baseball player who is of the greatest all-around service to his club“. It was voted on by a baseball writer’s committee, and players were only allowed to win one time.

That award lasted for seven seasons. Hall of Famer George Sisler won the first, and Johnson took the honors in 1924. A pair of legendary New York Yankees stars, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, won the award for the 1923 and 1927 seasons. The first Philadelphia ball player, Mickey Cochrane of the Athletics, won the final award in 1928.

The National League followed suit in 1924 with an award that lasted through the 1929 season, but the NL allowed a player to win multiple times. This resulted in Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby winning in both 1925 and 1929.

For the 1931 season, the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWAA) began to hand out the honors that have lasted through today.  In the NL, the Phillies’ Chuck Klein won in 1932 and finished as runner-up in the voting in both 1931 and 1933.

Philadelphia Athletics ball players captured the first three AL awards, with pitcher Lefty Grove winning in 1931 and then slugger Jimmie Foxx taking it in 1932 and 1933. The A’s would get one more AL MVP winner before leaving town, with southpaw pitcher Bobby Shantz earning the honors in 1952.

Foxx would win again in 1938 for his performance that season with the Boston Red Sox. He is one of only four three-time winners in the American League, joining Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Alex Rodriguez. Trout will try to join that list tonight.

In the National League, Barry Bonds captured the award seven times. Next in line are a list of four three-time winners including Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, and Albert Pujols.

The other three-time winner in the NL is the greatest player in Philadelphia Phillies franchise history, Michael Jack Schmidt.

Mike Schmidt won the National League Most Valuable Player award for his performances in the 1980, 1981, and 1986 seasons. Ernie Banks in 1958-59, Joe Morgan in 1975-76, Dale Murphy in 1982-83, Bonds in 1992-93, and Pujols in 2008-09 are the other back-to-back NL winners. Yelich will try to join those ranks tonight. Bonds also had a stretch of four straight wins 2001-04.

A pitcher with the 1950 Phillies “Whiz Kids” National League championship club, Jim Konstanty was honored with the NL MVP that season, and remains the only reliever to ever win the Most Valuable Player honors. Konstanty received 18 of 24 first-place votes that year to win comfortably over Musial.

How did a relief pitcher capture the honors? Well, it would be hard to argue against Konstanty’s value to the NL pennant winners. He won 16 games and recorded 22 saves while tossing 152 innings and allowing just 108 hits across 74 games, all out of the bullpen.

With Klein, Konstanty, and the three Schmidt honors, that leaves two more Phillies National League Most Valuable Players. Those two were teammates who captured the honors in back-to-back seasons.

In 2006, first baseman Ryan Howard, who had won the NL Rookie of the Year award the prior season, won in a reasonably close vote over Pujols. Howard received 20 first-place votes while Pujols got the other 12, with Howard winning the overall vote by 388-347.

The following year, shortstop Jimmy Rollins predicted before the season began that the Phillies were “the team to beat” in the NL East Division. The club had fallen short despite contending over the prior half-dozen years, and had not won a division crown in 14 seasons.

JRoll backed up his prediction with an MVP performance. He became the first player in big-league history to record 20+ home runs (30), doubles (38), triples (20), and stolen bases (41) and scored 139 runs. Despite such an outstanding season, Rollins win was tight, edging out Matt Holliday of the Rockies by 353-336. Rollins received 16 first-place votes to 11 for Holliday.

A pair of current Phillies players have National League Most Valuable Player awards in their home trophy case. Andrew McCutchen won the award in 2013 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, finishing third in both 2012 and 2014. Bryce Harper was the unanimous winner in 2015 as a member of the Washington Nationals.

Who will be the next Philadelphia Phillies player to take home the NL Most Valuable Player Award? At just age 27, Harper would seem to be the most logical candidate. If he can do it, he would add his name to a list that includes just 11 players in winning the award multiple times during a career.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

 

 

Dodgers NL MVP candidate Cody Bellinger leads baseball’s top team into Philly

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Leading NL MVP candidate Cody Bellinger leads LA into Philly

The Philadelphia Phillies (48-45) welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers (62-33) to South Philly for a four game series this week at Citizens Bank Park.

For the visiting Dodgers, this will be a chance to continue to re-establish their dominance. After suffering through their first four-game losing streak since mid-April, the Dodgers exploded for 18 runs to capture their last two against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The Dodgers come to Philly with the third-highest runs per game average (5.25) in the National League. Also, their pitching staff has the lowest ERA and batting average against in the league.
Those numbers highlight the reasons that the Dodgers have romped to a 14.5 game lead in the NL West Division as they try to win a seventh consecutive division crown. In addition, the Dodgers have the best overall record in the National League, sitting four games clear of the Atlanta Braves in the loss column.
These two teams met at Dodger Stadium at the end of May while both were in first place. The Dodgers swept out the Phillies, outscoring them 18-6 to begin the Phillies slide in the standings. With this series at home, the Phillies will try to reverse both that previous outcome and their own season fortunes.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Cody Bellinger: RF (23) – .334/.431/.687, 31 HR, 52 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs, 72 runs, 8 steals. Leading NL MVP contender.
Max Muncy: 1B (28) – .264/.365/.528, 23 HR, 37 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs, 58 runs
Joc Pederson: LF (27) – .238/.333/.517, 20 HR, 30 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, 49 runs
Alex Verdugo: CF (23) – .307/.355/.498, 10 HR, 32 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs, 35 runs
Corey Seager: SS (25) – .266/.345/.448, 8 HR, 29 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs, 40 runs
David Freese (36)/Justin Turner (34): 3B – 19 HR, 48 extra-base hits, 61 RBIs, 80 runs

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

A.J. Pollock: The 31-year-old Pollock signed with the Dodgers as a free agent back in January. Los Angeles lured the center fielder away from the division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom Pollock had played since being selected at 17th overall in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, with a four-year, $55 million deal that also includes a $10 million player option for the 2023 season.
Pollock was a 2015 NL All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner who was seen as one of the most consistent players in the game. The Dodgers saw him as just that – a consistent presence to man the middle of their outfield for the next few seasons as they tried to push through from NL champions to world champions.
Things did not begin well. After he had slashed just .223/.287/.330 with six extra-base hits over his first 28 games (26 starts), it was announced that Pollock was injured, suffering from an elbow infection. Pollock had a metal plate in his elbow, inserted in a previous surgery. That plate would need to be removed, and Pollock would end up on the IL right through the MLB All-Star Game last week.
Activated for this past weekend, Pollock returned to deliver a half-dozen hits against the Boston Red Sox, capped by a three-hit night in Sunday’s nationally televised extra-inning victory. The Dodgers defense has been the one suspect area for the team in this big season for the club. With the return of Pollock, the outfield defense should begin to stabilize.
Just what the Phillies need to face this week, the best team in the National League actually putting more talent on the field and improving their overall play.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

MONDAY – Clayton Kershaw: 7-2, 3.09 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 1.051 WHIP, 88 hits over 99 IP across 15 starts with a 91/16 K:BB
TUESDAY – Walker Buehler: 8-1, 3.46 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 0.990 WHIP, 89 hits over 104 IP across 17 starts with a 113/14 K:BB
WEDNESDAY – Kenta Maeda: 7-6, 3.82 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 1.056 WHIP, 75 hits over 101.1 IP in 18 starts with a 101/32 K:BB
THURSDAY – Ross Stripling: 4-3 , 3.65 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 1.230 WHIP, 63 hits over 66.2 IP across 24 games (10 starts) with a 69/19 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

Dave Roberts is now in his fourth season at the helm of the Dodgers. He guided the team to an NL West crown in each of this first three seasons, and is well on his way to a fourth straight. The Dodgers have also won back-to-back National League pennants under Roberts guidance.
The only thing missing from Roberts managerial resume is a World Series championship. The Dodgers have not won one since Kirk Gibson‘s miracle home run and Orel Hershiser‘s dominating pitching led the 1988 team to a world title. They lost in seven games to the Houston Astros in 2017 (Gabe Kapler was the Dodgers farm director then) and to Boston Red Sox in five games last year.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

The first three nights of this series are going to be very similar. Temps in the low-90’s during the day, playing temps in the mid-upper 80’s. Moderate humidity, light winds, almost no chance of precipitation. Typically beautiful summer nights. For the series finale on Thursday afternoon there will be at least a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms as the leftover residue from Hurricane Barry flows into the area. Otherwise the conditions will be similar to the prior three days.

Dodger Stadium the scene as top two teams in the NL do battle

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Phillies are at Dodger Stadium for the weekend

The Philadelphia Phillies (33-24) continue to lead the National League East Division standings by three full games despite dropping Friday night’s opener to the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers (39-19) by a 6-3 score.

The two teams will meet once again on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, just four miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
For the Phillies it will be an attempt to get the series even, setting themselves up for an opportunity to win it on Sunday. The club has built their divisional lead on accomplishing just that – winning series. They have an 11-4-3 series record coming into this one
However, to accomplish that feat they will have to overcome the powerful Dodgers. Ranked as the top team in Major League Baseball at this stage of the season in our first MLB Power Rankings released this afternoon, the Dodgers have won the last two National League pennants and six consecutive NL West crowns. They currently lead their division by 8.5 games.
In that Friday night opener, the Dodgers spanked Phillies pitching with four home runs, one each from Max MuncyCorey SeagerJoc Pederson, and Enrique ‘Kiki’ Hernandez. It was part of a 12-hit attack. The Phillies were held to just five hits, and are going to have to somehow find more offense on Saturday night against a future Hall of Famer if they want a better result.


SATURDAY 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. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Jose Alvarez P

DODGERS LINEUP

  1. David Freese 1B
  2. Max Muncy 3B
  3. Chris Taylor LF
  4. Cody Bellinger RF
  5. Enrique Hernandez 2B
  6. Corey Seager SS
  7. Alex Verdugo CF
  8. Will Smith C
  9. Clayton Kershaw P

INJURY REPORT

PHILLIES: Zach Eflin joined an IL that seems to grow by at least one new Phillies arm with every passing week. The following relievers are there as well: David RobertsonTommy HunterPat NeshekEdubray RamosAdam Morgan, and Victor Arano. The latter may miss the rest of the season, while none of the others will be back for this road trip. Center fielder Roman Quinn also remains out, not likely to return for another week or so.
DODGERS: The Dodgers are missing three starting players from their everyday lineup: third baseman Justin Turner, catcher Austin Barnes, and center fielder A.J. Pollock. Turner is not actually on the IL, but instead is nursing hamstring tightness. At least at this point his availability is considered day-to-day. Lefty reliever Tony Cingrani also is on the IL with left shoulder soreness.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jose Alvarez: 0-1, 3.92 ERA, 1.452 WHIP, 24 hits allowed over 20.2 IP with a 15/6 K:BB
  • Well, MLB Network’s Brian Kenney will be happy with this one, at least. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is going with ‘The Opener’ strategy. He will deploy Alvarez for the 1st inning, then turn the game over to someone such as 25-year-old lefty Cole Irvin. Alvarez could get a second frame if he can get through the first quickly and unscathed. Irvin would go for as long as he can keep the team in the game before having to turn it over to the rest of the bullpen. Assuming it goes off like this, it would be the first start for Alvarez since making six during his rookie campaign back in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers.
  • Clayton Kershaw: 5-0, 3.46 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 47 hits allowed over 52 IP with a 49/9 K:BB ratio.
  • Perhaps the best all-around pitcher of the last decade, the 3x Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP has built himself a Hall of Fame career over a dozen big-league seasons.
  • After spending most of the season’s first three weeks on the Injured List, Kershaw has returned as his usual excellent self. Seven of his eight outings have been of the Quality Start variety, and he has pitched at least into the 6th inning in all of his starts this year.
  • Kershaw has gone 3-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 13 starts against the Phillies, averaging 9.99 K/9 and holding Phillies batters to a .216 average against him. The southpaw last faced the Phillies almost exactly one year ago, on May 31, 2018 at Dodger Stadium. He worked five innings, allowing one run while striking out five and issuing one walk.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Dodgers are 6-0-2 over their last eight series and will continue to try and extend that winning stretch with a victory in either or both of these final two games with the Phillies. They have now won 13 of their last 16 games, and their 23-7 record at Chavez Ravine is the best home record in baseball.
  • Los Angeles has taken 11 of their last 15 games against the Phillies, and also have won 11 of the last 15 played at Dodger Stadium between the two teams.
  • Prior to this Saturday night game, the Dodgers will hold their annual ‘Alumni Game’, with the first 40,000 fans receiving a special Steve Garvey bobblehead. This commemorates his induction into the Dodgers Legends of Baseball, sort of like the Phillies Wall of Fame. Garvey, Don Newcombe, and Fernando Valenzuela are being honored this year as the initial inductees to the group.
  • The Quality Start registered on Friday night by Kenta Maeda was the 16th by a Dodgers starter in their last 18 games.
  • Muncy’s home run last night was his 24th at home in his 100th career home game. That ties Mike Piazza for the second-most long balls by a Dodgers slugger over their first 100 home games, just one behind Cody Bellinger.

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Phillies and Dodgers clash this weekend as the NL’s top two ball clubs

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Dodger Stadium hosts top two teams in the NL this weekend

The Los Angeles Dodgers (38-19) are the two-time defending National League champions and have captured six consecutive NL West Division crowns. They are once again riding high atop the division as we enter the month of June.

This weekend at Dodger Stadium, these two teams will meet for the first of two times this season. They will meet again in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park just after the MLB All-Star Game in mid-July. The Phillies and Dodgers are the top two teams in the National League to this point in the season, but they have reached that status in very different manners.
The Phillies have been inconsistent in nearly every facet of the game statistically. They are out-performing those stats, fashioning their winning record and frustrating their fans by looking awful in one game and then like world-beaters in the other two games pf most every series.
Meanwhile out in LA-LA Land, the Dodgers have been truly dominating. Offensively, they lead the league in runs scored, OPS and walks, are third in home runs, and are second in stolen-base percentage.
On the mound, Dodgers pitchers have the lowest cumulative ERA in the NL. They lead the league in batting average against, Quality Starts, and OPS against while allowing the fewest walks in the league. The club is also among the more solid defensive units in the league.
The Phillies have gone 20-11 over the last month, and have won nine of their last 13 despite dropping the series finale to Saint Louis on Thursday. During what is arguably the toughest 23-game portion of their 2019 regular season schedule, the Phillies are now 10-7. That stretch comes to an end with this west coast trip to Los Angeles and San Diego over the next six days.
This will be a major test for the Phillies, a chance to measure themselves against the very best in the National League on the road. Even winning one of three games this weekend could be considered a victory. But the Phillies want more than that. They have taken and held first place by winning series, and that will be the goal once again.
There is a tremendous history between these two clubs. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies in the 1977 and 1978 National League Championship Series, the first of those including what has become known as “Black Friday” in Phillies lore, one of the toughest defeats in team history. The Phillies responded by dumping the Dodgers in the 2008 and 2009 NLCS.
And then there was the infamous 1988 battle at Veteran’s Stadium between Dodgers then-skipper Tommy LaSorda and the Phillie Phanatic:

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Cody Bellinger: The early-line favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, Bellinger has accumulated quite the highlight reel over the season’s first two months at the plate and in the field. He is slashing .377/.464/.754 with 20 homers, 52 RBIs, 50 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. Formerly the starting first baseman, Bellinger was flipped out to right field in early May. Perhaps some good news for the Phillies? Bellinger is hitting just .250 over his last 10 games. However, he has four homers, seven extra-base hits, and 10 RBIs in that time, so his bat has remained impactful.
Justin Turner: Now in his 11th big-league season, the 34-year-old with the fiery red hair who has finished among the top 15 in NL MVP voting for three straight years is enjoying another solid season. The third baseman has been hot over his last nine games, slashing .359/.405/.513 with nine runs scored.
Joc Pederson: A 27-year-old lefty bat and left fielder, Pederson is another of the hot Dodgers bats. He is slashing .483/.559/.862 over his last nine games with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs, and nine runs scored in that stretch. Having banged 11 of his 16 home runs at home, Pederson will be a major challenge to Phillies pitching this weekend.
Max Muncy: Another of the big Dodgers left-handed bats, the 28-year-old Muncy has mostly started at first base but will also be used at both second and third base at times. His 33 RBIs are second on the club, while his 11 homers and 21 extra-base hits are third. Like a number of the others described here, Muncy has been hot. Over the past two weeks he is slashing .296/.387/.574 with nine extra-base hits and 14 runs scored over his last 14 games.
Alex Verdugo: You guessed it, the 23-year-old Verdugo is yet another big left-handed stick in the Dodgers lineup. With the injury to A.J. Pollock, Verdugo has taken over as the starting center fielder, his first chance to get into the everyday lineup on a full-time basis now in his third season. He is slashing .322/.376/.521 on the season and his RBI per plate appearances mark is second in the starting lineup.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Hyun-Jin Ryu: the Phillies are not scheduled to see Ryu in this series, which is probably the one piece of good news when considering all of the Dodgers stars. The 32-year-old southpaw from South Korea is enjoying his best big-league season after missing half of 2018 with a lingering groin injury. Ryu is 8-1 with a 1.48 ERA and 284 ERA+, both of which lead all of Major League Baseball. His 0.808 WHIP leads the National League, and he has allowed just 54 hits over 73 innings across 11 starts with a 69/5 K:BB ratio.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

Kenta Maeda (31): Friday – RHP, 6-2, 3.67 ERA, 1.172 WHIP, 46 hits over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 56/20 K:BB
Clayton Kershaw (31): Saturday – LHP, 5-0, 3.46 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 47 hits over 52 IP across eight starts with a 49/9 K:BB
Rich Hill (39): Sunday – LHP, 1-1, 2.73 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 30 hits over 33 IP across six starts with a 37/6 K:BB

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECESD

Chris Taylor: 2B/SS/OF – .237/.305/.410, four homers, 19 RBIs, 14 extra-base hits over 155 plate appearances
David Freese: 1B/3B – .269/.412/.500, four homers, 14 RBIs, 10 extra-base hits over 97 plate appearances
Russell Martin: C – .246/.363/.369, four extra-base hits including two homers over 80 plate appearances. The 14-year veteran and rookie Will Smith will split time behind the plate in this series with starting catcher Austin Barnes on the IL.

THE SKIPPER

Dave Roberts is in his fourth season as the Dodgers manager. He guided the club to the NL West crown in his first three seasons, and to the National League pennant and a World Series berth in both of the last two years. He has a career 325-219 record as skipper with LA following on a 10-year career as a player with five different teams. Roberts played with the Dodgers from 2002-04.
He is famed for a stolen base in the 2004 ALCS while with the Red Sox that sparked Boston to a rally from down 3-0 in the series to the Yankees. Boston would rally to win that series in seven games, then would break the 86-year ‘Curse of the Bambino‘ to win their first World Series. Roberts’ steal is now legendary in Boston.

THE BALLPARK

Dodger Stadium is also known in some circles by the nickname “Chavez Ravine” after the 352-acre location in which it was constructed. Opened for the 1962 season, it became the Dodgers second home after the franchise moved west from Brooklyn following the 1957 campaign. The Dodgers played their first four years on the west coast at the Los Angeles Memorial Colisseum.
The beautiful ballpark is now the oldest in Major League Baseball west of the Mississippi River, and third-oldest in MLB behind only Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. It is also the largest baseball stadium in the world by seating capacity, capable of fitting 56,000 fans on an official basis. The record attendance is 57,099 for the 2009 season opener.
Dodger Stadium’s outfield fence is 400-feet to dead-center field, 330-feet down the lines in both right and left fields, and 375-feet to both right and left-center field.
Little known fact: the entire Palo Verde elementary school was simply buried beneath the parking lot northwest of third base when the ballpark and parking lots were constructed.

LOS ANGELES SERIES WEATHER REPORT

As usual with LA, there is a near-zero percent chance of any rain during this three-game series. The high temps are forecast to be right around 70 degrees, overnight lows in the upper-50’s. Temps will be in the 60’s for the bulk of all three games with light winds and moderate humidity. Bottom line: if you chose to make the trip to Los Angeles for any or all of these games, you will experience perfect baseball weather.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies series opposition preview: Los Angeles Dodgers”

Rhys Hoskins developing into legit NL MVP candidate with Phillies

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Rhys Hoskins is anchoring the Phillies lineup as cleanup hitter

 

The Philadelphia Phillies (24-16) have slowly opened up a lead in the National League East Division standings as mid-May arrives. As opposed to last season, when the club was in first place with a 2.5 game lead in late July, this time around feels much different.
One of the primary reasons that the 2019 version of the Phillies seems capable of sustaining their lead is a much more experienced and talented every day lineup. That is thanks to the additions of J.T. RealmutoJean SeguraAndrew McCutchen and, of course, Bryce Harper.
The starting pitching rotation has also gotten tremendous work over the season’s first seven weeks from Jerad Eickhoff and Zach Eflin. Add in mostly solid performances from veteran Jake Arrieta and the group has been able to weather a slow start from ace Aaron Nola and the loss to injury of Vince Velasquez.
The Phillies bullpen mix has been, well, mercurial might be the best word to describe their performance as a whole. Right-hander Hector Neris and lefty Adam Morgan have been strong most of the season. Based on his most recent performance, Seranthony Dominguez may be rounding into form. That would be a huge lift for manager Gabe Kapler late in ball games.
But of all the reasons that the Phillies are alone in first place and a legitimate playoff contender for the first time in eight years can be found at first base. Rhys Hoskins appears to be flourishing with his return to the more comfortable defensive position. In fact, his numbers say that the 26-year-old is entering his prime as a legitimate National League MVP candidate.
Hoskins is slashing .285/.411/.590 with 11 home runs, and 35 RBIs. His OPS mark of 1.002 is fifth in the league. He is tied for sixth in homers and third in RBIs.

Over the last 14 games as the Phillies opened up their lead, Hoskins has been even better with a .320/.433/.640 OPS. He has eight extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in that span, and the team has gone from two games over the .500 mark with a half-game lead to eight games over .500 and a four-game lead in the loss column.

 

Evan Macy at The Philly Voice pointed out another big reason why Hoskins is so valuable to the Phillies overall attack in a piece earlier this month when he wrote the following:
Hoskins sees the most pitches per plate appearance of anyone in all of baseball with 4.72 and has forced pitchers to throw the second most pitches in total of any batter…There are many reasons why the Phillies’ lineup has been ultimately one of the most successful in baseball (when healthy) and a big part of it stems from Hoskins anchoring thing…He really forces a pitcher to work — which trickles down into the opposing hurler making mistakes, or getting tired or frustrated.
Cody Bellinger got off to a white-hot start for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last year’s NL MVP, Christian Yelich, is off to another strong season with the Milwaukee Brewers. They are the clear leaders at the front of the conversation right now for National League Most Valuable Player.
But if Hoskins continues to rake as the Phillies cleanup hitter and the ball club remains on top of the division, he will remain one of the main candidates as that discussion really ramps up later in the summer.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Rhys Hoskins anchors Phillies lineup