Tag Archives: Jorge Alfaro

J.T. Realmuto becomes lone Phillies player named to 2019 NL All-Star squad

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Bryce Harper jokes with J.T. Realmuto at 2018 MLB All-Star Game

When general manager Matt Klentak made a big trade back on February 7 of this year to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins, he knew that the Philadelphia Phillies were gaining one of the most respected catchers in the game.

Klentak paid a big price to acquire the now 28-year-old from Oklahoma. Sent to Miami were the organization’s top pitching prospect, one of the most prized in the game, in right-hander Sixto Sanchez. Also going to the Marlins were catcher Jorge Alfaro and another minor league pitcher.
Realmuto was a big part of the Phillies early-season rise to the top of the NL East Division. Though his offensive production tailed off during what was a difficult month of June for the entire team, his defensive game never wavered.
The Phillies catcher remains one of the top backstops in all of Major League Baseball. This afternoon, that was recognized once again with his selection as a reserve on the National League All-Star team.
This marks a second consecutive NL All-Star nod for Realmuto. Last year as a member of the Marlins he was one of four backstops named to the NL squad. This year, at least as the initial reserves are announced, there will be three.

The starting catcher voted to the squad for a second straight year was Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. Joining Realmuto as a back-up behind the plate will be Yasmani Grandal of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Realmuto entered last year’s game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. as a defensive replacement for Contreras in the top of the 6th inning. He would make two plate appearances, walking twice and scoring a run during an 8-6 win for the American League.
The Phillies lone All-Star representative a year ago was pitcher Aaron Nola, who would go on to finish third in the NL Cy Young Award voting during a stellar 2018 campaign. Nola threw a scoreless 5th inning, allowing one hit and striking out two batters.
The most likely Phillies to also be considered were probably utility player Scott Kingery and reliever Hector Neris. Leading the Phillies in RBIs, Bryce Harper was an NL All-Star in each of the last four years and in six of his first seven season. Rhys Hoskins was a participant in last year’s Home Run Derby and is the Phillies current leader in home runs. None made the NL squad, at least in the initial announcement. It is possible that injuries and other considerations could still open an opportunity.
Realmuto is arbitration-eligible for one more season. He will become a free agent after the 2020 season if the Phillies do not sign him to a contract extension prior to that time. The 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place this year at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 9.

Phillies head to South Florida seeking revenge on the Miami Marlins

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Phillies visit Marlins Park seeking revenge

The Philadephia Phillies (43-38) are down in South Florida for a weekend meeting with the host Miami Marlins (30-49) at Marlins Park.

Coming off an uplifting four-game sweep of the New York Mets, the Phillies will be looking to extend their winning streak and avenge last weekend’s home sweep at the hands of the Fish.
A week ago at Citizens Bank Park, the Marlins took all three games by holding the Phillies to just eight runs scored. By the end of that series, the Phillies had dropped seven games in a row and their season was spiraling out of control.
While the Mets series allowed the Phillies to regain their positive mojo, they cannot afford to give any of that momentum back. Just as they were last weekend, the Marlins are the owners of the worst record in the National League. They came home from Philadelphia and were promptly swept by the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins offense has generated just 3.52 runs-per-game, the worst run production in the NL and second-lowest scoring average in all of Major League Baseball. Their 60 home runs are the least in all of baseball and their .646 OPS is the lowest in the game.
That lack of power has not translated in their meetings with the Phillies. The Miami hitters have blasted 11 of their 60 home runs this season over 10 previous games between the two teams, resulting in a 5-5 split.
While they generally suffer to score, at least when playing the other 28 teams in baseball, the Marlins pitching staff has been strong. The cumulative batting average against mark of .242 is tied for the 6th best in the game. The Miami pitchers have surrendered just 94 home runs, tied for the fourth-most stingy staff in baseball.
The challenge for the Phillies this weekend will be the same as last. Find a way to score against Marlins pitching. The Phillies have scored 45 runs in the 10 meetings. That is a mediocre 4.5 runs-per-game, and it is exaggerated by two games in which the Phillies hitters produced 21 runs. That means in the other eight games, the Phillies have averaged just 4.375 runs.
Also, Phillies pitching is going to have to start holding the Marlins hitters in the park themselves, the same way those other 28 pitching staffs have been doing.

MIAMI MARLINS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Brian Anderson: The 26-year-old third baseman leads the Fish with 10 homers, 26 extra-base hits, and 34 RBIs
Garrett Cooper: 28-year-old right fielder slashing .311/.379/.490 has 7 homers, 12 extra-base hits, and 23 RBIs in just 169 plate appearances
Miguel Rojas: 30-year-old shortstop hitting .286 with a .350 OBP leads the club with 19 doubles and a half-dozen steals
Neil Walker: 33-year-old first baseman hitting .280 with a .362 OBP has 14 XBH over 177 plate appearances. Just activated this past week after spending a month on the IL
Harold Ramirez: 25-year-old rookie playing mostly LF is slashing .313/.348/.407 with 21 runs and 18 RBIs over just 158 plate appearances after being promoted on May 11
Starlin Castro: 29-year-old second baseman is second on the club with 32 RBIs and always seems to do something against the Phillies

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Jorge Alfaro: the 26-year-old catcher was traded to the Fish from the Phillies along with top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and another prospect arm in exchange for J.T. Realmuto back in early February. He came to the Phillies as part of a big package received in the Cole Hamels deal with Texas at the 2015 MLB trade deadline.
Alfaro’s status for this series is currently up in the air. He is currently on the IL under the seven-day concussion protocol. In a game last Thursday against the Saint Louis Cardinals, Alfaro was hit in the mask by a back-swing of former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. He later took a foul ball off the mask as well. He is eligible to be activated as early as the series opener on Friday, and will be a day-to-day decision at this point.
Prior to his IL stint, Alfaro was one of the Marlins top run producers. Their regular starting catcher, his nine homers are second and his 24 RBIs are third among all Miami hitters.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Elieser Hernandez: 0-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 18 hits over 18.2 IP across four games (three starts) with a 19/4 K:BB ratio. The 24-year-old right-hander in his second big-league season went five innings last weekend, allowing three earned on four hits including a pair of homers. He struck out six and walked two and left with the Phillies up 3-1. The Marlins rallied to win 5-3 after he was out.
SATURDAY – Jordan Yamamoto: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, seven hits over 19 IP across three starts with a 19/8 K:BB ratio. The 23-year-old righty rookie from Hawaii came to the Marlins from the Milwaukee Brewers in January 2018 as part of a four-prospect package for Christian Yelich. This will be his third big-league start. He allowed just two hits and two earned in a five-inning start last weekend at Citizens Bank Park, earning the victory in a 6-4 Marlins win. Yamamoto has won each of his three starts to this point.
SUNDAY – Trevor Richards: 3-8, 3.94 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 76 hits over 89 IP across 16 starts with an 80/38 K:BB ratio. The 26-year-old righty is in his second big-league season after signing as an undrafted free agent back in July 2016. The Phillies got to him for five earned on six hits including a pair of homers over four innings in a 12-9 victory back on April 27 in Miami.

THE SKIPPER

Don Mattingly: As a ballplayer, Mattingly was a New York Yankees legend who played his entire 14-year big-league career in the Bronx. The 1985 AL MVP and runner-up for the award the following year, he was one of the top players of the second half of the 1980’s. Mattingly made six consecutive AL All-Star teams as a first baseman from 1984-89, and won nine AL Gold Glove Awards at the position. He also won three straight Silver Sluggers 1985-87.
Mattingly served as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager for five years 2011-15, guiding the Dodgers to three straight NL West crowns in his final three seasons. Over parts of four seasons now in Miami he has fashioned a 249-314 record and been at the helm as the franchise has undergone a major personnel teardown and rebuild process.

THE BALLPARK

Marlins Park has been renovated for the 2019 season. Perhaps the most noticeable difference for fans in Philly watching this series on television will be the removal of the massive and colorful home run sculpture that adorned center field since the ballpark opened for the 2012 season.
The dimensions are 344 down the left field line and 335 to right field. A big ballpark, the right- and left-center power alleys are 392 and 386 feet away respectively. It will be a 407 foot shot to dead-center field.
Located on the site of the old Orange Bowl, Marlins Park sits in the Little Havana section of the city, just two miles west of the downtown Miami area. At a 37,442 normal seating capacity, it is the third-smallest ballpark in Major League Baseball. It is also one of six MLB parks with a retractable roof, so weather is unlikely to play any role this weekend.

Phillies hope to turn it around against last-place Miami Marlins

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Derek Jeter is trying to turn around the Marlins fortunes

The Miami Marlins (27-46) carry the worst record in the National League, third-worst in all of baseball, and the second-lowest scoring offense in Major League Baseball in to Citizens Bank Park this weekend.

On the face, the Fish would appear to be the perfect opponents for the staggering Philadelphia Phillies (39-35), who are trying to snap a four-game losing streak as the series opens.
But while the Marlins attack has indeed been anemic, ranking at or near the bottom of nearly every offensive category you could imagine, their pitching has been just the opposite.
Miami pitching has been among the best in the National League all season. Marlins pitchers have allowed the third-lowest batting average against in the league this season. They are tied for the third-fewest home runs allowed.
None of that seems welcoming to the Phillies, whose hitters have struggled to consistently produce runs for weeks now. While Citizens Bank Park is normally considered a hitter’s haven, that may not prove the case this weekend.
One thing is certain, the Phillies desperately need to get back to winning series. They could really use a series sweep. To accomplish that, those bats are going to have to wake up and begin producing runs. This weekend would be a great time to do so in front of home crowds that are beginning to grow restless.


MIAMI MARLINS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Garrett Cooper: 28-year-old who splits time between first base and right field is slashing .313/.385/.496 with six homers, 11 extra-base hits, and 21 RBIs over just 148 plate appearances.
Miguel Rojas: 30-year-old, six-year veteran shortstop is hitting .275 with 15 doubles and leads the team with five steals.
Harold Ramirez: a 24-year-old rookie who has played all across the outfield and is hitting .316 with 10 extra-base hits over the first 139 plate appearances of his big-league career.
Brian Anderson: tied with Alfaro for the club lead with nine homers, his 32 RBIs and 23 extra-base hits both lead the team.
Starlin Castro: 29-year-old second baseman is second on the club with 30 RBIs.
Jorge Alfaro: the former Phillies catcher is tied for the team lead with nine homers, and his 27 RBIs are third. However, he has just been placed on the IL under the seven-day concussion protocol and will miss the series.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER(S)

Bullpen righties: one of the primary reasons that the Marlins pitching stats are so strong has been the work of four key right-handers coming out of the bullpen. Sergio Romo, a 36-year-old veteran, has filled the closer role. He has 13 saves and has allowed 24 hits over 27.1 innings.
Romo has combined with a trio of 27-28 year-old relievers in Nick AndersonTayron Guerrero, and Austin Brice to produce the following cumulative numbers: 98 hits (14 homers) allowed over 115.2 IP with a 130/59 K:BB ratio. While those numbers may not be completely shutdown quality, they are strong enough to present a challenge to the Phillies hitters at the end of each game.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Sandy Alcantara: 23-year-old, third-year big-league right-hander is 3-6, 3.73 ERA, 1.390 WHIP, 76 hits allowed over 82 IP across 14 starts with a 58/38 K:BB
SATURDAY – Elieser Hernandez: 24-year-old, second-year big-league right-hander is 0-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 14 hits allowed over 13.2 IP across three games (two starts) with a 13/2 K:BB.
SUNDAY – Jordan Yamamoto: 23-year-old rookie right-hander from Hawaii is 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.643 WHIP, five hits over 14 IP across two starts with a 12/4 K:BB.

THE SKIPPER

Don Mattingly is a New York Yankees legend who played his entire 14-year big-league career in the Bronx. As a ballplayer he was one of the top players of the second half of the 1980’s. He was the 1985 AL MVP and runner-up for the award the following year. Mattingly made six consecutive AL All-Star teams as a first baseman from 1984-89, and won nine AL Gold Glove Awards at the position. He also won three straight Silver Sluggers 1985-87.
Mattingly is noted for having the longest tenured career as a Yankees player without ever appearing in a World Series. The club reached the Fall Classic in the year prior to his arrival (1981), and then also in 1996, the season after he retired.
After several seasons as a special instructor at Yankees spring training, Mattingly was hired as the Yankees hitting coach for the 2004 campaign and served in that role for three years. Included in that run was his first 2004 season, during which the club produced a franchise-record 242 home runs.
In 2007, Mattingly became the Yankees bench coach and was a finalist for their managerial position after that season to succeed Joe Torre. The job went instead to his former teammate, Joe Girardi.
Mattingly left the Yankees to become the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2008 season. He finally received his first managerial opportunity when he succeeded Torre as the Dodgers skipper in 2011. Mattingly’s squads in LA went a combined 446-363 over five seasons, winning the NL West in his last three years from 2013-15. When the team was eliminated in the playoffs for a third straight year, he and the club agreed to mutually part ways.
Mattingly wasn’t unemployed for long. The Marlins scooped him up quickly, and he has put together a 246-311 cumulative record in now his fourth season at the helm in Miami. He has not registered a winning campaign yet with the Fish, who suffered through the death of star pitcher Jose Fernandez at the end of his first season and then saw ownership and management trade off a number of star players including Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Hallelujah! After a horrendous weather week (among other things) in Washington, the Phillies return home to great weather for baseball. All three games this weekend will be rain-free with virtually no chance of precipitation.
On Friday night, temps will be in the low-mid-60’s. However, brisk windy conditions will make it feel cooler. It’s a jacket night, maybe even a heavier jacket night, especially after sundown at Citizens Bank Park.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons will be mostly sunny with high’s in the low-80’s, moderate humidity, and light winds. Nearly perfect baseball conditions.

Forecast from The Weather Channel

National League East Report 4/22-28

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The Washington Nationals have struggled somewhat thus far

This past week began with the Philadelphia Phillies (16-12) at three games above the .500 mark in first place in the National League East Division standings. They held a one game lead over both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, with the Washington Nationals just 1.5 behind but also just a game out in the loss column.

The week began in disheartening fashion for the Phillies. They dropped their first two games on Monday and Tuesday by a combined 14-1 to the Mets. However, the Fightin’ Phils lived up to that nickname, roaring back to take four of the last five games.
That stretch lifted them four games over the .500 mark and raised their lead in the division to 1.5 over the Mets, though it remains just a game in the loss column. Atlanta has fallen 2.5 and Washington is now 3 games behind the Phillies, both 2 games out in that all-important loss column.
The Phillies will meet the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday of the current week in what is already their second inter-league series of the season. With a win on Tuesday night, the Phillies would equal their best record in the early weeks of the 2019 season by going to five games above that .500 mark. They were at 7-2 back on April 8.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION STANDINGS

EAST DIVISION

    <th aria-label="Win-Loss %" class=" poptip hide_non_quals center" data-filter="1" data-name="Win-Loss %" data-stat="win_loss_perc" data-tip="Win-Loss Percentage
    W / (W + L)
    For players, leaders need one decision for every ten team games.
    For managers, minimum to qualify for leading is 320 games.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>W-L%

    <th aria-label="Games Back" class=" poptip sort_default_asc center" data-stat="games_back" data-tip="Games Back of Division/League Leader
    Computed as games over .500 of leader (W-L) minus games over .500 of team divided by two.
    Typically computed at the end of play for a particular day.
    Blank for 1st game of DH.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>GB

    East Division
    Team W L
    Philadelphia Phillies 17 13 .567
    Atlanta Braves 15 15 .500 2.0
    New York Mets 15 15 .500 2.0
    Washington Nationals 12 17 .414 4.5
    Miami Marlins 9 21 .300 8.0

    ATLANTA BRAVES (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Braves began the week by dropping two of three tight games at Great American Ballpark to the host Cincinnati Reds. Then they came back home to Atlanta and surrendered 24 runs in losing two of three to the visiting Colorado Rockies. They salvaged something by scoring three times in the bottom of the 8th to rally to an 8-7 victory on Sunday.
    Offensively the Braves continue to be led by veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman and budding young superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Freeman has a .324/.448/.539 slash line. His five homers and 18 RBIs are both tied for second on the club. Acuna, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, is slashing .289/.410/.526 and leads the club with six homers. He also has 18 RBIs on the year.
    Third baseman Josh Donaldson has begun to heat up, slashing .327/.453/.712 over the last 15 games. He also has five homers and leads the Braves with 13 extra-base hits. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis is slashing .333/.407/.490 with 11 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has a dozen extra-base hits and his 22 RBIs lead the team.
    The Braves two-headed catching combo has produced well for the club. Righty-hitting Tyler Flowers is slashing .367/.426/.592 with three homers in 54 plate appearances. The lefty-hitting Brian McCann is hitting .270 with a .364 OBP and has driven in eight runs over 44 plate appearances.
    For all the good that the offense has produced, the pitching has been letting the Braves down thus far. A bright spot has been 25-year-old lefty Max Fried. The southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.085 WHIP, allowing 27 hits over 31.1 innings while striking out 26 and walking seven.
    Righty reliever Luke Jackson has been strong out of the bullpen for manager Brian Snitker. The 27-year-old has allowed 11 hits over 14 innings across 13 appearances with a 15/6 K:BB ratio.
    Key injuries: That bullpen has lost four key members to the Injured List. Lefties Johnny Venters and Jesse Biddle and right-handers Darren O’Day and Arodys Vizcaino. The latter is done for the season following should surgery.
    Upcoming: Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres come to Atlanta for a four-game series beginning Monday night. The Braves will then hit the road for a 10-game road trip, one of two of that length that they will see this season. It begins next weekend with a visit to Miami for three games, then continues out west to visit the Dodgers and Diamondbacks next week.

    MIAMI MARLINS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Marlins are the least consequential and yet in some ways the most pivotal team in the division. They are going to finish in last place, barring some sort of major miracle that would need to include any of the other four teams suffering a series of major lengthy injuries.
    However, the Fish have already done some damage, taking two of three from the Nationals last weekend. They have losing records against the Phillies (2-5), Mets (0-3) and Braves (1-2) to this point. If the Marlins can find a way to win frequently against any of those teams it would be a major crippling blow.
    This past week, Miami started solidly enough, capturing two of the first three games. They split a quick two-game trip to Cleveland and won the opener against the Phillies. But then the Phils roared back to sweep the final three of their four-game series this weekend.
    The Marlins have gotten a strong start to the year from catcher Jorge Alfaro, who is slashing .297/.342/.500 and leading the club with five home runs. Veteran left fielder Curtis Granderson leads the team with 11 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
    And that’s about it for the Miami offense, which has pretty much been putrid on every day of the week other than Saturdays. For some odd reason the Marlins become competitive on that day. They were 4-0 over the first four Saturdays of the season including division wins over the Braves, Phillies and Nationals. The Phils finally put an end to that streak this weekend, but only after watching the Marlins roar back from a 10-1 deficit to make it a 10-9 game at one point.
    The Miami staff has received a strong season thus far from lefty starter Caleb Smith, who is 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.828 WHIP over his first five starts. He has allowed just 17 hits over 29 innings with a 37/7 K:BB ratio, and has tossed a pair of gems against the Phillies.
    The Marlins bullpen has received mostly strong work from a trio of right-handers in Tayron Guerrero, Nick Anderson and Tyler Kinley. Those three have combined to allow just 27 hits over 38.1 innings with a 57/21 K:BB ratio. Veteran closer Sergio Romo has four saves and was perfect in his last three opportunities.
    Key injuries: Veteran infielder Neil Walker pinch-hit in the final two games against the Phillies this past weekend. He has been battling hamstring tightness but remains available. The Marlins have otherwise been one of the healthiest teams in baseball over the first five weeks of the season.
    Upcoming: The Marlins are home in Marlins Park this week, hosting the Cleveland Indians for a pair on Tuesday and Wednesday after visiting Cleveland last week. Then they welcome in the division-rival Atlanta Braves for a three-game set next weekend.

    NEW YORK METS (3 – 3)

    Summary: The Mets pulled away from the Milwaukee Brewers late on Sunday to salvage the final game of their weekend series and get back above the .500 mark, staying within a game of the Phillies in the standings.
    New York opened the week by taking two of the three from the Phils but then dropped two of three to the Brew Crew. They are in the midst of a 10-game home stand that continues with four this week against the Cincinnati Reds.
    The Mets offense continues to be led by the National League’s leading Rookie of the Year candidate, first baseman Pete Alonso. The 24-year-old is slashing .306/.398/684 and leads the club with nine homers, 24 RBIs, 19 extra-base hits, and 20 runs scored.
    Right fielder Michael Conforto is second on the team with six home runs and 13 extra-base hits. Catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Amed Rosario are each second on the club with 16 RBIs. Left fielder Jeff McNeil is hitting .355 with a .434 OBP and nine extra-base hits.
    On the mound, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have been the surprise leaders of the rotation. The performances of the Noah Syndergaard and Jake deGrom ace duo have been puzzling. Those two have combined to surrender 66 hits over 60 innings including 10 home runs, and they have walked 10 batters apiece.
    Closer Edwin Diaz remains perhaps the best in the game. He has eight saves over a dozen appearances with a 20/2 K:BB ratio over 10.2 innings. Right-hander Seth Lugo has also been solid, but the rest of the Mets bullpen has been a mess.
    Key injuries: Second baseman Robinson Cano was hit on the hand by a pitch from newly signed Milwaukee pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Sunday and had to leave the game early. Initial x-rays reportedly came back negative but he will undergo an MRI today before the club decides how to proceed.
    Infielder Jed Lowrie remains out with a knee injury and hopes to return over the next week or two. Lefty reliever Justin Wilson had soreness in his pitching elbow and an MRI came back clean. He could return later this week. There remains no timetable on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who could return later this season but could also miss the year entirely.
    Upcoming: After hosing the Cincinnati Reds for four games at Citi Field to open the week, the Mets go on the road for a two-city trip that starts with three games next weekend in Milwaukee against the Brewers and then continues out in San Diego to start next week.

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Nationals dropped two of three to the Rockies at Coors Field to open the week, then returned home and again lost two of three games, this time to the visiting San Diego Padres.
    A big factor this past week for the Nationals was the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon to an injury that lingered. He was hit on the elbow by a pitch last weekend, sat out a few games, and then tried to return on Friday. After playing that night, the elbow flared up again.
    Bottom line, the club’s top hitter missed most of the action this past week. Rendon has slashed .356/.442/.740 over his first 86 plate appearances. His six homers are tied for the club lead, his 18 RBIs are second, and he leads the Nats with 16 extra-base hits and 21 runs scored.
    The two young outfielders who the club has hoped would step up and ease the transition away from Bryce Harper have been a mixed bag to this point. 20-year-old left fielder Juan Soto, last year’s runner-up to Acuna in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, is hitting .255 with a .376 OBP and is tied for the club lead with six homers while leading the Nats with 22 RBIs.
    22-year-old center fielder Victor Robles is hitting just .265 with four homers and 11 RBIs, though he does have a dozen extra-base hits. He is second on the club in that category and with his 19 runs scored behind only Rendon.
    Howie Kendrick has filled in well as a back-up at both third and second bases. The 35-year-old, 14-year veteran is slashing .333/.421/.667 with four homers, seven extra-base hits and 13 RBIs over 57 plate appearances. The Nationals have called up one of their top prospects, shortstop Carter Kieboom, to try and bridge the gap with the injuries to Turner and Rendon.
    On the mound, the club’s big free agent signings have been a split decision. Lefty Patrick Corbin has been the club’s most consistently strong starting pitcher. He is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 0.918 WHIP, allowing 24 hits over 32.2 innings with a 39/6 K:BB across his first five starts.
    However, Anibal Sanchez (0-3) has allowed 32 hits and walked 16 over his first five starts and 27 innings with the club. His rotation spot could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t straighten out and get better results quickly. Manager Dave Martinez has a number of options waiting for a shot, including Erick Fedde and Joe Ross.
    Veterans workhorses Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg have been dominant at times, but both have also struggled on a couple of occasions as well. Combining with Corbin, they give the Nationals a top three in the rotation that, assuming health, should keep them in the race all year.
    In the bullpen, closer Sean Doolittle has been strong. That’s about it. The rest of the pen group has largely been a mess. Fedde was called up from the minors to help out there, but he could end up in the rotation at some point.
    Key injuries: Getting Rendon straightened out quickly would be a huge plus for a lineup that is already missing star shortstop Trea Turner. However, Rendon may yet require an IL stint. Turner is out still after breaking a finger on a bunt attempt against the Phillies a few weeks ago. He is expected to be out anywhere from four to six more weeks.
    Veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was just placed on the Injured List, presenting the lineup with another setback. He is suffering from plantar fasciatis. Relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Koda Glover are also on the IL with no return ETA.
    Upcoming: The Nats open a four-game home set with the Saint Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on Monday night. They will then embark on a 10-game road trip beginning with a visit to Citizens Bank Park for next weekend. That tough trip will continue next week with visits to the Brewers and Dodgers.

    Late blast from Rhys Hoskins gives Phillies a shootout win over Marlins

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    Rhys Hoskins two-run 8th inning homer clinched Saturday’s win

    The Philadelphia Phillies (15 – 12) and Miami Marlins (8 – 19) engaged in a wild one down in South Philly on Saturday night. In the end, the Phillies would come out on top at Citizens Bank Park by a 12-9 score, but not before sweating out the end of what looked early-on as if it would be a blowout for the home team.

    The Phillies put up crooked numbers in both the 2nd and 5th innings to blow out to a 10-1 lead over the first half of the contest. Nick Williams blasted his first home run of the season, a solo shot with one out in the second to get the scoring started.
    Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco followed Williams with singles, and starting pitcher Jake Arrieta bunted them over into scoring position with two outs. A passed ball by Jorge Alfaro allowed Hernandez to score to make it a 2-0 game.
    Andrew McCutchen then drew a walk from Marlins starter Trevor Richards. That was followed by a scary moment as shortstop Jean Segura, just activated today after a stint on the Injured List, was plunked on the head. He walked off under his own power and was replaced by Sean RodriguezBryce Harper then ripped a two-run double to right, scoring both Franco and McCutchen to give the Phillies an early 4-0 lead.
    The Marlins got one back in the top of the 3rd inning when Starlin Castro grounded into a 6-5 force out with the bases loaded that scored Curtis Granderson. The Phillies got that one back when McCutchen drilled his fifth home run of the season out to left field.

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    Cutch comes in clutch 🔥

    He hits his 5th homer of the season to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead.

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    Holding a 5-1 lead, the Phillies appeared to break out to an insurmountable lead when they scored five times in the home 5th inning. The big blow was a two-run single by Franco. That was followed by a run-scoring infield single from Arrieta and a two-run double by Rodriguez to push the Phillies lead out to 10-1.
    Arrieta was struggling some, but keeping the Marlins off the scoreboard – until the top of the 6th inning. The Fish put up a four-spot in that frame, driving the Phillies starter from the game and cutting the lead down to 10-5. The big blow was a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Granderson that got away from McCutchen in center field.
    With both starting pitchers out of the game the final few innings would be in the hands of the two bullpens. The Marlins would get to the Phillies pen in the top of the 7th to cut into the lead some more.
    Enyel De Los Santos, who was called up earlier this week after a successful start to the season in the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation, was victimized by a two-run homer from Alfaro to make it 10-7. Alfaro now has mulitple hits in all five games that he has played this season against his former team.
    In the top of the 8th, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler turned to Seranthony Dominguez. The Marlins just kept coming. Rosell Herrera and Neil Walker each singled, one of which could easily have been an error on Hernandez. Granderson then grounded out 1-3 on a ball that Hoskins nearly made an error on, but recovered in time to nip the speedy Granderson with a pitch to Dominguez covering.
    With runners at second and third, a Rojas ground out scored one run and an RBI single by Brian Anderson another, and suddenly the Marlins had trimmed the once comfortable 10-1 Phillies cushion down to a 10-9 nail-biter.
    In the bottom of the 8th inning with the game now a nervous tightrope walk, Rhys Hoskins decided to play hero. With Rodriguez aboard on a leadoff walk, Hoskins blasted a no-doubt two-run home run out to left field, pushing the Phillies lead out to 12-9.
    For the 9th inning, Kapler turned to Hector Neris to try and close it out. Neris allowed a one-out single and a two-out walk, bringing Chad Wallach to the plate as the tying run for the Fish. Neris buckled down and struck Wallach out swinging on a nasty splitter and the Phillies had a 12-9 victory.

    SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

    • Jake Arrieta: 5 IP, 9 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 99 pitches (71 strikes)
    • Trevor Richards: 4 IP, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 76 pitches (49 strikes)

    PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: RHYS HOSKINS


    The Phillies first baseman went 2-4 and his eighth inning, two-run homer off Drew Steckenrider, his eighth of the season, gave the club some breathing room when it needed it most.

    NEXT GAME

    • Sunday April 28 at 1:05 pm vs. the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park
    • This will be the Phillie Phanatic birthday celebration: hooded towels to kids 14 and under
    • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
    • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)