Tag Archives: Jake Arrieta

Bryan Price brings tremendous experience as new Phillies pitching coach

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Price has been a pitching coach and manager in MLB for two decades

 

Just days after officially hiring Joe Girardi as their new manager, the Phillies have filled one of the key open positions on his coaching staff.

Bryan Price, who most recently served as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 2014 into the 2018 season, has been hired as the Phillies new pitching coach.

Price brings tremendous experience to the job. He previously served as pitching coach with the Seattle Mariners (2000-06), Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-09), and the Reds (2010-13) in addition to his managerial term in Cincinnati.

Girardi and Price have a recent link. Back in the summer, the Phillies new skipper was named as the manager of Team USA for the upcoming international Premier 12 tournament. Price was scheduled to be his pitching coach.

However, on taking the Phillies job, Girardi was replaced as Team USA manager by Scott Brosius. It remains unclear whether Price will remain with Team USA through the Premier 12 tourney, which kicks off the qualifying process for the 2020 Summer Olympics and runs from November 2-17, 2019.

The Mariners pitching staff led the American League in ERA in the 2001 season, earning Price the USA Today Baseball Weekly Pitching Coach of the Year Award. In 2007, his Dbacks staff finished fourth in ERA in the National League and helped the club reach the NLCS. For that performance, Price was named as the Major League Baseball Coach of the Year by Baseball America.

With the Reds, Price guided a pitching staff that twice finished among the top five in National League ERA. However, his managerial stint did not prove as successful. Cincinnati went just 279-387 in parts of five seasons, and he was ultimately fired after a 3-15 start in 2018.

Price was involved in a highly publicized and controversial incident in April of 2015 when he went on an expletive-laden rant against the Cincinnati media after a reporter published what Price felt was information regarding an injury to catcher Devin Mesoraco which put the Reds at a competitive disadvantage.

The 57-year-old Price is a native of San Francisco. He was the eighth round choice of the California Angels in the 1984 MLB Draft as a pitcher out of the University of California-Berkeley, the 190th player selected overall.

Price reached the Double-A level in the Angels organization before being released following the 2016 season. After taking a year off in 2017, Price signed with the Seattle Mariners and eventually reached Triple-A. Over a five-year minor league career he accumulated a 31-19 record with a 3.74 ERA across 90 games, 75 of those as starting assignments.

Price has other prior Phillies connections besides his brief period with Girardi in preparation for their Team USA assignment. Phillies Wall of Famer Pat Gillick hired Price as the pitching coach in Seattle when Gillick was the general manager of the Mariners.

Phillies 2008 World Series hero Jamie Moyer was a pitcher on those Mariners’ staffs under Price.

If I was looking for a pitching coach, he’d be at the top of my list.~ Jamie Moyer

“He’s a student of the game and he cares about his pitchers,” Moyer said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think first and foremost that’s what jumps out about him — how much he cares about his pitchers. He was a first-time pitching coach when he came aboard and we had a lot of veterans on that team. He quickly earned their trust with great communication and with a lot of give and take. His style was basically, ‘What do you do well and what can we do with it to make you better?’

On Monday, prior to the announcement of Price’s hiring, Girardi had commented on the pitching coach position. “Just as important is a real ability to relate to the pitchers, sometimes the struggles they’re going through, and that there’s a deep relationship there,” Girardi said per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The pitching coach has a tough job because there’s so many pitchers that they deal with. But he has to know each one of them really well, and they have to trust him, and that’s really important.

Based on his long history of success as a pitching coach and Moyer’s comments, it appears that Price fits that need for a strong communicator well. He looks like a perfect fit for the new Phillies coaching staff, which now seeks a similar strong addition for the hitting coach position.

Per Matt Gelb at The Athletic, Price turned down at least two offers to coach elsewhere before taking the job with the Phillies. One concern that he had was the ability to infuse the game’s new shift towards analytics with his more natural old-school style approach.

What I don’t know, I can learn,” Price said per Gelb. “But one thing I won’t forget is the fundamentals of pitching — of competitiveness and preparation and the detailed work that is really the lifeblood of being a competitive major-league pitcher. There are just essentials to it that aren’t going to be defined by a spreadsheet or technology that tells you if you’re doing it right or wrong. A reasonable mind says they both have a place. To think that one thrives without the other, it doesn’t. I can tell you, in pitching, there’s no uniformity.

Now, who exactly will be the pitchers under his tutelage during the 2020 season? The Phillies staff finished 17th in ERA, 20th in OPS against, and  22nd in batting average against among the 30 teams in Major League Baseball this past season.

Given health, the starting rotation in 2020 is almost certain to include Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. Based on the majority of his performances combined with his age and upside potential, Zach Eflin would also seem a lock. Top pitching prospect Spencer Howard is likely to make a strong push for a rotation spot as well, possibly as early as spring training.

More questionable are the fates of Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta. Each is talented, but neither has been able to establish themselves as a reliable starting pitcher for the Phillies. They both could end up as trade candidates this off-season, or end up in the bullpen if better options are found.

I don’t speak for the Phillies in any way, shape or form. I’m new to the organization,” said Price per Gelb. “We had a good talk about philosophy. We will use our analytics and technology department in a very strong and positive way. But I think the pitching coach’s job is to help extract as much talent and build as much confidence in the group as possible through relationship building. It’s through building trust. It’s through sharing experience and knowledge. We give these guys a goal of becoming something special, instead of something that’s specialized.”

Most observers believe that the Phillies are going to need to add two new, veteran arms to that rotation in free agency in order to compete against talented Washington and Atlanta teams in the NL East. At least one of those new starting pitchers needs to be ace-caliber, someone such as Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.

That will be the primary job of general manager Matt Klentak this off-season, providing pitching talent of a caliber that can help the Phillies to become winners and return to the postseason for the first time nine years.

 

More on the Philadelphia Phillies and Major League Baseball:

Phillies host Giants in series finale at Citizens Bank Park

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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

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Two struggling teams meet in Friday night opener between Phils and Pirates

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Phils and Bucs both struggling as they open series on Friday night

The Pennsylvania in-state rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates has lost much of its luster since the Bucs were moved to the NL Central Division for the 1994 season.

Prior to that time it was one of baseball’s best and most intense. The Pirates joined the National League out in the western part of Pennsylvania for the 1887 season, four years after the Phillies own birth in the southeast corner of the Commonwealth.
In 1969, Major League Baseball split both the National and American Leagues into two divisions each for the first time. The Phillies and Pirates were placed into the NL East Division, and the rivalry really began to heat up when the Phillies emerged as a contender in the mid-1970’s.
During the 70’s, the Pirates captured the NL East crown six times with the Phillies winning the division in three of the other four years. Led by the legendary Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh won the 1971 World Series. Then in 1979 their “We Are Family” squad led by Willie Stargell won the 1979 World Series. The Phillies would take their first Fall Classic a year later.
This year, the Pirates (45-50) and Phillies (50-47) are both on the outside looking in at the National League Wildcard playoff race. The Phillies are just a half-game out, while the Bucs 4.5 back with a half-dozen clubs ahead of them.
Meeting for three games on what promises to be a steaming hot weather weekend in Pittsburgh, both teams are desperate to put as many games into the win column as possible.

FRIDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

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

PIRATES

  1. Adam Frazier 2B
  2. Bryan Reynolds RF
  3. Starling Marte CF
  4. Josh Bell 1B
  5. Colin Moran 3B
  6. Corey Dickerson LF
  7. Kevin Newman SS
  8. Elias Diaz C
  9. Jordan Lyles P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES: Jake Arrieta (33/RH) – 8-7, 4.54 ERA, 122 hits over 113 IP across 19 starts with an 87/42 K:BB
PIRATESJordan Lyles (28/RH) – 5-6, 5.16 ERA, 74 hits over 75 IP across 15 starts with an 80/31 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Tomorrow the Pirates will celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the 1979 World Series team. In addition to the Pirates and Phillies wearing throwback uniforms on Saturday, members of the 1979 team will be honored during an on-field ceremony.
  • In their last nine games played at PNC Park, the Pirates are hitting .345 (114-for-330) with 26 doubles, 14 home runs and 73 runs scored (8.1 per game average). Dating back to 5/23, the Bucs are batting .317 with 156 runs scored in their last 23 home games
  • Frazier has gone 20-for-33 (.606) with eight doubles, a home run and seven RBI in his last eight games at PNC Park. He went 18-for-30 (.600) with seven doubles and a home run during Pittsburgh’s last homestand from July 1-7 that led him to taking home National League Player-of-the-Week honors for the first time in his career.
  • Marte has homered four times since the All-Star break, which is tied with nine other players for the most in the Majors
  • Reynolds has gone 7-for-16 (.438) over his last four gamea and leads all Major League rookies in batting average (.340) and on-base percentage (.413)
  • Since the start of play on May 1, Newman ranks third among National League players with a .333 batting average, trailing only Arizona’s Ketel Marte (.344) and Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon (.339). Newman enters tonight’s action with a five-game hitting streak (9-for-21, .429) and is hitting .441 (15-for-345) over his last eight contests.
  • Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez enters today with a scoreless streak of 19.0 innings. It is the longest active scoreless
    streak in all of Major League Baseball and the longest scoreless streak by a Pirates pitcher this season.
  • The Pirates franchise has won five World Series (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971 1979) and four more National League pennants (1901-03, 1927). They have captured seven division championships, and been an NL Wildcard team three times.

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Phillies take a flyer on lefty starting pitcher Drew Smyly

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Drew Smyly still has not returned to form after TJ surgery

The Philadelphia Phillies have reached a contract agreement with 30-year-old free agent starting pitcher Drew Smyly, according to numerous reliable sources.

Smyly is expected to step into the club’s starting rotation quickly. That could mean as soon as this weekend in Pittsburgh, though it is unknown exactly how ready he will be to go deep into an outing at this point.
The left-hander pitched in 13 games this season, nine of those as a starter, for the Texas Rangers. He was 1-5 with an 8.42 ERA, 8.05 FIP, and 1.909 WHIP. Smyly allowed 64 hits over 51.1 innings with a 52/34 K:BB ratio.
Those are some ugly numbers. Any casual fan who simply looks at such a “back of the baseball card” line and wonders why this signing is anything to get excited about would be absolutely correct in their reaction. Smyly has a lot to prove, and is certainly not to be considered “the answer” to the Phillies present rotation troubles.
However, what the team has to be hoping is that they will ultimately get more professional, big-league caliber performances from Smyly at the back-end of their rotation than have been delivered by Nick PivettaVince Velasquez and Zach Eflin. Also, with Jake Arrieta battling bone spurs in his pitching elbow, there is no telling how long the veteran will hold up.
Smyly has tasted success in Major League Baseball. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, he was the second round choice of the Detroit Tigers at 68th overall in the 2010 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas.
Smyly broke into the big-leagues with Detroit, appearing as both a starter and reliever in the 2012-14 seasons. He also made 10 appearances out of the bullpen with the Tigers in the 2012-13 postseason, including a pair of appearances in the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Smyly was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in a big three-team swap at the 2014 MLB trade deadline. The Tigers landed David Price from Tampa Bay in that deal in what would prove a failed attempt by Detroit to reach a fourth straight ALCS.
With the Rays, Smyly immediately stepped into the starting rotation and was outstanding. He went 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA, allowing just 25 hits over 47.2 innings across seven starts with a 44/11 K:BB ratio, establishing himself at age 25 as key piece of the Rays future.
Unfortunately, left shoulder problems derailed his 2015 season, limiting him to just a dozen starts. Following an outstanding effort at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox on May 5, Smyly was shut down for what was expected to be the remainder of the season. But he was able to return in mid-August to make another nine mostly effective starts.
I just got a lot of shoulder care, rehab, strengthening program,” Smyly said prior to the 2016 season per Bill Chastain for MLB.com. “… I just stuck to that. Tried to get my core strong and focused on making my shoulder as healthy as it can be and just try to come into spring healthy and ready to go.
It was apparent that he had lost something during that 2016 campaign. He made 30 starts, striking out 167 batters and allowing 174 hits over 175.1 innings for the Rays. However, he was hit hard over his last five starts to the tune of a .294 batting average against with a 5.33 ERA during that season-ending stretch.
Smyly would not pitch again in Major League Baseball until this year. In January 2017, Smyly was dealt by the Rays to the Seattle Mariners. He would never pitch in big-league game for Seattle.
After looking good while pitching with the first-ever U.S. team to win the World Baseball Classic early that spring, he was shut down with elbow discomfort. He would ultimately require Tommy John surgery and miss the entirety of the 2017 season.
A free agent at age 29, rather than his hoped-for big career payday, Smyly had to settle for a two-year, $10 million deal from the Chicago Cubs, who took a flyer on his recovery. The lefty would be able to make just one start in the Cubbies minor league system in the 2018 season, and was dealt to Texas last November.
After his less than stellar performances for them, the Rangers gave Smyly his release just over three weeks ago. He had a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, but decided to opt out of that deal. The Phillies believe there are signs pointing to the possibility that there is still something to squeeze out of him.
Per Joe Giglio with NJ.com: “Smyly is generating swings and misses at a high rate. During his stint in Texas, Smyly struck out 52 batters in 51.1 innings. During two Triple-A starts with the Brewers, Smyly racked up 18 strikeouts in 12 innings.

Arrieta will make the start in tonight’s (Friday) series opener at PNC Park against the host Pittsburgh Pirates. Eflin is scheduled to go on Saturday and Velasquez on Sunday.

Jake Arrieta has bone spurs on his elbow, could be lost to surgery

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On Saturday night in Queens, Jake Arrieta was downright horrendous in his starting assignment at Citi Field against the New York Mets.
The Phillies 33-year-old right-hander was torched by the Mets batters for 11 hits which produced six runs, five of those earned, and he was almost constantly in trouble.
In the bottom of the 1st inning, a base running gaffe by Robinson Cano helped Arrieta escape having allowed just one run despite surrendering two hits and hitting a batter. In the bottom of the 2nd, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out. Again, Arrieta wriggled out of it, allowing just one run.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Todd Frazier led off with a single and came home on a double by the next batter, Dominic Smith. Arrieta again escaped with just one run allowed, thanks largely to Smith being thrown out trying to stretch that double into a triple.
In the 5th inning, the Mets finally kicked in the door, driving Arrieta from the game amidst controversy. With one out, he hit Frazier with a pitch, prompting Frazier to bark at Arrieta all the way down to first base.
When home plate umpire Tripp Gibson immediately warned both benches, Mets skipper Mickey Callaway came out to argue. Frazier then turned his barking to Gibson and was ejected. The Mets third baseman had to be restrained from going after Arrieta, and was fuming as he made his way to the dugout and locker room.
Smith then doubled again, moving pinch-runner Adeiny Hechavarria around to third base. Arrieta then hit another batsman, Amed Rosario. Despite the earlier warning, the Phillies pitcher was not ejected, but Callaway was when he argued that fact.
It might have been better for the Phillies had Arrieta been ejected, because the very next batter, catcher Tomas Nido, ripped a bases-clearing double to put the Mets on top by a 6-4 margin. That would prove the game-winner, as the hosts would go on to an eventual 6-5 victory.
Following the game, Arrieta made this controversial comment: “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.

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Arrieta postgame: “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.”

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Then in a report this morning by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic with contribution from Matt Gelb it was revealed that Arrieta has been battling an injury.
Arrieta has a bone spur in his right elbow, according to a source, and it likely will require surgery to remove it — surgery that those involved had hoped could wait until the end of the season. That delay is no longer certain.
Reporters repeatedly tried to question Arrieta following the game on the possibility of injury. He gave nothing but vague or evasive answers.
I labored physically,” Arrieta said per Rosenthal and Gelb. “I wasn’t able to put the ball where I wanted to. It’s been that way for a few weeks. Just physically not in a great spot.

Things have not gone as hoped for the Phillies when they signed former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta at spring training in 2018.
Arrieta has made 17 starts in this, his second season with the Phillies after signing a big free agent contract during 2018 spring training. He leads the Phillies staff with 108 innings pitched and 8 wins. But he also has a 4.67 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and .282 batting average against, surrendering 18 home runs.
Over his last seven starts, Arrieta has allowed 53 hits including nine home runs over 38 innings pitched. Amazingly, the Phillies have gone 4-3 in those outings, including last night’s defeat.
If Arrieta is lost now, or if that happens in the next week or so, the Phillies already emaciated starting rotation is going to be on life support. Aaron Nola has regained his form of a year ago and is pitching like an ace once again. But otherwise, none of the Phillies starting pitchers has been reliable.
Zach Eflin has allowed 26 hits over 14 innings across his last three starts with a 9.64 ERA and .400 batting average against in that span. Nick Pivetta has a 5.84 ERA and 1.476 WHIP over his 11 starts. Vince Velasquez has already been bounced from the rotation once, and has a 4.63 ERA and 1.402 WHIP over 20 games, 10 each in relief and as a starter.
The other options tried during the season have been equaling unimpressive. Jerad Eickhoff, currently on the IL, had a 5.71 ERA and 1.303 WHIP over a dozen outings, including 10 starts. Cole Irvin was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and the southpaw produced a 7.82 ERA and 1.579 WHIP over his three shots in the rotation. Enyel De Los Santos was called up and in his lone start against Miami, the righty allowed four earned on seven hits over just four innings.
Injuries to the relief corps has decimated the Phillies bullpen as well, making the pitching staff nearly a complete disaster at this point. The Phillies pitching staff collectively ranks 12th of the 15 teams in the National League in ERA (4.66), and both their .266 batting average against and 802 OPS against are 14th of the 15 NL clubs.
The pressure is now on general manager Matt Klentak to find a deal or two to strengthen the rotation unless he is willing to throw in the towel on a run at a 2019 postseason run. It seems highly unlikely that such a thing would be acceptable to owner John Middleton. But with two spots to fill and a number of other teams in Major League Baseball going after the same available arms, the job may simply be too big for Klentak to successfully complete.

In the longer run, Arrieta has a player option at $20 million for the 2020 season. It seems hard to believe that he would not exercise that option for a season during which he would be 34 years of age, coming off a down, injury-marred campaign. That means the Phillies would be locked into his presence in their rotation for next season, at least to open the year.