Tag Archives: Nolan Arenado

J.T. Realmuto likely to receive record deal for catchers

Friday was the deadline for all MLB clubs to come to agreements with their arbitration-eligible players. In the event no deal could be reached, both sides were to submit 2020 salary figures on which an arbitrator would make a final ruling at hearings to be scheduled in February.

The Philadelphia Phillies were able to come to an agreement with four of the six players, all pitchers, who were eligible.

Agreeing to one-year deals with the club were projected starting pitchers Vince Velasquez ($3.6 million) and Zach Eflin ($2.625), and a pair of lefties in Jose Alvarez ($2.95) and Adam Morgan ($1.575) who will each pitch out of the bullpen.

A number of star players around the big-leagues agreed on contract figures with their clubs and will avoid the arbitration process. Those include Mookie Betts, who set a new one-year arbitration-eligible record by agreeing to a $27 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.

Betts’ deal with the Bosox beats the $26 million agreed to just one year ago by the Colorado Rockies and superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado. However, within weeks of that agreement, Colorado and Arenado tore it up and agreed to an eight-year, $260 million extention.

The Phillies failed to come to an agreement on a 2020 contract with two players, presumptive closer Hector Neris and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. Figures were exchanged with both, with Neris seeking $5.2 million and the club offering $4.25, while Realmuto sought $12.4 million with the Phillies offering an even $10 million salary.

As this news broke, the doom-and-gloom segment of the Phillies fan base took to the intrawebs to complain. That’s putting it mildly in many cases. Here are some representative samples of what was blasted across Twitter:

The Phillies won’t pay their Silver Slugger, Gold Glove winning BEST CATCHER IN BASEBALL $2.4M, but they’ll pay a man who’s lowest ERA the last 3 years was 4.85 $3.7M. I’m literally sick to my stomach right now.” (@zachary_east412)

Wow this is pathetic, a guy you want to sign long term, your going to go to arbitration over 2 million dollar difference but able to settle with Vince Velasquez???? This team is completely dis functional. Now I know why we haven’t heard from management, they can’t face the fans.” (@Oreillymike23)

In any business you lock up your best assets and ensure they’re taken care of. Wouldn’t blame JT for walking when he’s a UFA and escaping this sideshow of an organization.” (@romeobluesnoine)

My response to those folks would be simple. Calm down. Slow your roll. Take a chill pill. Don’t worry. Relax.

A year ago, the Phillies exchanged figures with pitcher Aaron Nola. Entering his age 26 season, Nola was coming off a Cy Young caliber campaign. Many in the fan base similarly wrung their hands and banged out many an exasperated comment on their keyboards.

And then on the day of their scheduled arbitration hearing, Nola and the Phillies announced a contract agreement taking their star hurler through 2022 with a club option for 2023. Crisis averted. Hand-wringing and keyboard-bashing for naught.

The same thing will happen now with Realmuto. The Phillies have already expressed publicly that they want to do a long-term deal with the player many regard as the top catcher in the sport. Realmuto has publicly expressed a desire to remain with the ball club for years to come. It will get done.

There are a few scenarios that could play out, with either the Arenado or Nola scenarios most likely. Either they go to an arbitration hearing, a one-year contract is awarded, and they continue to negotiate until reaching a new longer deal as with Arenado. Or they hash out a last-minute contract ala Nola.

The other scenario is that it doesn’t take that long. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has certainly been in communication with Realmuto’s representatives at BBI Sports Group. I would be willing to bet that a great deal of groundwork has already been laid on a long-term deal.

Scott Lauber at the Philadelphia Inquirer broke down the contract possibilities well in his piece today on the subject:

Realmuto is older than Joe Mauer and Buster Posey when they signed $184 million and $167 million extensions, respectively. And they were also former MVPs. But he compares favorably to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who signed a five-year, $75 million extension at age 29 before the 2012 season. Allowing for eight years of inflation, Realmuto seems likely to want something in the neighborhood of five years and $100 million.

A five-year contract would take Realmuto through his age 33 season. Molina was an All-Star caliber catcher through age 35. Posey stayed at that level into his age 31 season,  Mauer into his age 30 campaign, before both switched largely to first base (as well as DH in Mauer’s case.)

The Phillies previously received solid, starting-caliber contributions from Carlos Ruiz through his age 35 season, though the last really strong result for “Chooch” came at age 33 in 2012.

For the Phillies to make a bet on Realmuto, who keeps himself in excellent physical condition and who has appeared in at least 125 games in each of his five full big-league seasons, through age 33 in 2024 does not seem like a very risky proposition.

That 2024 roster has $49 million total salary committed at this point, owed to Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler. Look for Realmuto to become the third with a $20+ million deal that year in what would be the final guaranteed season of a long-term contract which he will reach with the club in the coming weeks.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

2019 Major League Baseball Awards

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Realmuto was honored with his second consecutive career Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award

 

Major League Baseball has entered its off-season period, but there is still plenty of action surrounding the game. As teams begin to evaluate their future needs and prepare to shop in the Hot Stove free agent market, the game steps back momentarily to honor the best performances from this past 2019 season.

This past week, MLB continued the process of handing out the hardware to the top players from this past season. Winners of both the Silver Slugger Awards and Gold Glove Awards were announced, honoring the top offensive and defensive performers at each position in both leagues.

2019 GOLD GLOVE AWARDS

Click to enlarge graphic

Winners are listed below with their position and team. Number of career Gold Gloves won are shown in parentheses.

National League: P – Zack Greinke ARZ (6), C – J.T. Realmuto PHI (2), 1B – Anthony Rizzo CHI (3), 2B – Kolten Wong STL (1), SS – Nick Ahmed ARZ (2), LF – David Peralta ARZ (1), CF – Lorenzo Cain MIL (1), RF – Cody Bellinger (1)

American League: P – Mike Leake SEA (1), C – Roberto Perez CLE (1), 1B – Matt Olson OAK (2), 2B – Yolmer Sanchez CWS (1), SS – Francisco Lindor CLE (2), 3B – Matt Chapman OAK (2), LF – Alex Gordon KC (7), CF – Kevin Kiermaier TB (3), RF – Mookie Betts BOS (4)

Arenado (below right) and Chapman (below left) were further honored when they were each named as winners of the National and American League Platinum Glove Awards. This is the second consecutive Rawlings Platinum Glove for each as the overall top defensive performer in their respective leagues.

Rawlings is not the only sponsor of awards for MLB defensive excellence. The winners were also announced for the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year at each position in Major League Baseball.

The Houston Astros were honored as the Wilson Defensive Team of the Year. Individual winners with their number of career Wilson awards in parentheses were:

P – Zack Greinke HOU (3), C – Roberto Perez CLE (1), 1B – Freddie Freeman ATL (2), 2B – Kolten Wong STL (1), SS – Andrelton Simmons LAA (6), 3B – Matt Chapman OAK (2), LF – David Peralta ARZ (1), CF – Lorenzo Cain MIL (4), RF – Aaron Judge NYY (1)

Perez was further honored as the overall Wilson Defensive Player of the Year.

2019 SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS

The Silver Slugger Awards as the top offensive performer went to:

National League: P – Zack Greinke ARZ (2), C – J.T. Realmuto PHI (2), 1B – Freddie Freeman ATL (1), 2B – Ozzie Albies ATL (1), SS – Trevor Story COL (2), 3B – Anthony Rendon WAS (2), OF – Cody Bellinger LAD (1), Christian Yelich MIL (2), Ronald Acuna Jr.ATL (1)

American League: DH – Nelson Cruz MIN (3), C – Mitch Garver MIN (1), 1B – Carlos Santana CLE (1), 2B – DJ LeMahieu NYY (1), SS – Xander Bogaerts BOS (3), 3B – Alex Bregman HOU (1), OF – Mike Trout LAA (7), George Springer HOU (2), Mookie Betts BOS (3)

The overall top hitter in each league is honored with the Hank Aaron Award. Each MLB team’s radio and television play-by-play broadcasters and color analysts vote for three players in each league, and fans are given the opportunity to vote via MLB’s official website. Fans’ votes account for 30% of the final points, while broadcasters’ and analysts’ votes account for the other 70%.

The winners of the 2019 Aaron Awards were Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels in the American League. It was the second career Aaron Award for each, the second consecutive for Yelich. Trout was previously honored back in 2014.

Prior to Game 4 of the World Series, the winners of MLB’s Relief Pitcher of the Year Award in each league were announced.

Taking the award as the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year was Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees, who was honored for the first time.

The Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year was awareded to Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers, who became just the second relief pitcher to be honored two years in a row.

 UPCOMING AWARDS NOMINEES

The winners of the rest of baseball’s official awards will be announced this coming week. Voting was conducted by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The following is the awards announcement schedule. You can watch as the honorees are named in a live broadcast on the MLB Network each day at 6:00 pm EST.

The nominees were selected based on regular season performance only.

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order with their position and current team, and I have highlighted my pick as the winner in red.

MONDAY: Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award

NL: Pete Alonso 1B NYM, Mike Soroka P ATL, Fernando Tatis JR SS SD

AL: Yordan Alvarez DH/OF HOU, Brandon Lowe 2B/OF TB, John Means P BAL

TUESDAY: Manager of the Year Award

NL: Craig Counsell MIL, Mike Shildt STL, Brian Snitker ATL

AL: Rocco Baldelli MIN, Aaron Boone NYY, Kevin Cash TB

WEDNESDAY: Cy Young Award

NL: Jacob deGrom NYM, Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD, Max Scherzer WAS

AL: Gerrit Cole HOU, Charlie Morton TB, Justin Verlander HOU

THURSDAY: Most Valuable Player Award

NL nominees: Cody Bellinger OF LAD, Anthony Rendon 3B WAS, Christian Yelich OF MIL

AL nominees: Alex Bregman SS HOU, Marcus Semien SS OAK, Mike Trout OF LAA

Other MLB award winners this season included starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg of the world champion Washington Nationals, who was named as the Most Valuable Player of the World Series.

Howie Kendrick of the Nationals took the NLCS Most Valuable Player honors, while second baseman Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros won the ALCS MVP honors.

Carlos Carrasco of the Cleveland Indians was honored with the Roberto Clemente Award in recognition for his many charitable efforts both stateside and in his native Venezuela. The pitcher was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year and “put in the difficult work to make a return to pitching amid his treatment — all while continuing to give his time, attention and financial assistance to young leukemia patients.”

Mike Trout received the Players Choice Award as the overall Major League Baseball Player of the Year and was also the AL Player of the Year. It was his second American League and first overall honor in voting by his fellow ball players.

Others receiving Players Choice Awards were Anthony Rendon as the NL Player of the Year, Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom as the AL & NL Pitchers of the Year, Hunter Pence and Josh Donaldson as the AL & NL Comeback Players of the Year, and Yordan Alvarez and Pete Alonso as the AL & NL Rookies of the Year.

On Sunday, November 17 at 8:00 pm EST, the MLB Network will take a final look back on 2019 as it presents the Plays of the Year for this past season. That highlights loaded program will re-air a number of times throughout the month of November.

I suppose that after finishing exactly at the .500 mark and in fourth place this season, the Phillies could not have expected much more in the way of award winners than the Gold Glove-Silver Slugger combo taken by Realmuto.

Hopefully the results in the standings and in the postseason, including award winners, are more substantial for the club in the 2020 campaign.

 

MORE RECENT PHILLIES AND MLB PIECES:

For Nationals it’s win now, or possibly lose two superstars

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The Nats already lost Harper, could Rendon be next star to go?

The Washington Nationals, who play host to the Phillies in a four-game series this week, have spent the better part of the last seven seasons dominating the National League East Division standings.

In 2012, the Nationals ended the Phillies five-year grip on the division by capturing the franchise’ first-ever NL East crown. Their direct predecessors, the Montreal Expos, were considered to have finished in first place back in 1994, but that was the strike-ended season that was never completed.
From 2012-18, the Nationals registered a winning season each year. They captured division titles four times in that span: 2012, 2014, and 2016-17. In each of the other three years, the Nats finished in second place.
The club was always in the hunt for a playoff berth until suddenly falling into a deep funk from June 10 through September 6. They struggled all summer at 32-46 during that stretch, falling from first place to finish 10 back of the Atlanta Braves in the east and nine games out of a Wildcard.
In the off-season, the Nationals lost the player who had arguably become the face of the franchise over those seven seasons. Bryce Harper left the team at age 26 to sign as a free agent with the rival Phillies.
The Nationals brain trust believed that it could cover for the loss of Harper. They had a pair of exciting young Dominican outfielders ready to make an impact on an everyday basis in now 20-year-old Juan Soto, who was the runner-up for the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year Award, and 22-year-old Victor Robles.
But when the season opened, things didn’t go as planned in our nation’s capital. Injuries and inconsistent play resulted in a horrendous first two months. The Nationals woke up on Friday, May 24 back home after getting swept in four games at Citi Field by the division-rival New York Mets. They were a disheartening 19-31, and were already 10 games off the pace in the NL East.
Since that time, the Nationals have begun to regain some of their lost mojo. They have fashioned a 14-7 record over the last three weeks, and though still 8.5 out in the division, the Nationals are now just six games behind the Phillies in the race for the final NL Wildcard spot. Of course, there are also five other teams ahead of them in chasing that spot.
If the Nationals cannot continue to win consistently and make a serious move up in the standings, that brain trust is going to have a couple of extremely difficult decisions to make a month from now as the August 1 MLB trade deadline approaches. Those decisions involved two key players, their third baseman and their top starting pitcher.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon has been, as Harper was before him, a career Nationals player. Like Harper, he was a first round draft pick, taken by Washington at sixth overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. That was right after the club had made Stephen Strasburg and Harper the top overall pick in the two previous drafts.
He turned 29-years-old at the start of this month, and is leading the team in virtually every offensive category. But also, like Harper last year, Rendon is about to become a free agent at the conclusion of this current season. Though both sides have said that they were willing to remain open to contract discussions as they season went along, there are no signs that the team is making any progress in getting him to agree to forego his first shot at free agency and re-up with a contract extension.
If you want to go ahead and agree that Nolan Arenado is the best third baseman in the NL today, then you had best understand that Rendon is clearly second in that ranking. If it weren’t for the Rockies outstanding third sacker, Rendon would certainly have a handful of Gold Glove Awards in his trophy case.
Arenado just signed a seven-year, $260 million deal with Colorado at age 28 years. Already making nearly $19 million for this 2019 season, Rendon is likely going to be looking for that same seven-year package for something at or above the $200 million total mark.
How Anthony Rendon ranks among NL 3rd basemen:

1st         On-Base Percentage (.415)
1st         Slugging Percentage (.660)
1st         OPS (1.075)
1st         WAR (3.1)
1st         wRC+ (169)
1st         wOBA (.435)
1st         OPS+ (70)
2nd       Batting Average (.321)

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While owner Ted Lerner and general manager Mike Rizzo contemplate how high they are willing to go on a Rendon deal, if he even wants to stay, that will not be the only contract consideration they will have on their minds as the trade deadline approaches.
Ace right-hander Max Scherzer, arguably the best right-handed starting pitcher in the game today and winner of three Cy Young Awards, can exercise his “10-and-5 rights” after this season. That would lock the Nationals into his contract, which call for him to be paid move than $42 million in each of the next two seasons as he turns ages 35 and 36 years of age.
Scherzer is having yet another great season this year. His 2.27 FIP mark is the best in baseball. His K/9 are actually up a tick, while his BB/9 are down. He has allowed just 87 hits over 99.1 innings across 15 starts with a phenomenal 136/20 K:BB.
So why would Washington even think of unloading Scherzer at the deadline this year? It would be the combination of those 10-and-5 rights, which would mean that he could veto any trade after this season, combined with his being owed $84 million for two more years as he continues to age.
If the Nationals are unable to climb back into the race in a serious way, they are at least going to have to entertain the idea of moving Scherzer and Rendon. Each player would bring back a substantial prospect package in trade with which Washington could continue to build a young foundation to battle in what looks like it will be a tough division during the 2020’s.
So, for the 2019 Washington Nationals, the time is now to keep winning, to keep digging their way out of that early hole. They have seven key games this week, four with the Phillies and three with the Braves. After that, the MLB schedule looks very weak for awhile.

If they can make up any further ground in these battles with the two clubs ahead of them in the NL East Division, and then do what they would be expected to do with the lesser opposition which the schedule presents over the following few weeks, Washington could end up forced to keep the band together for at least one more strong run this year.

Phillies welcome the Colorado Rockies for a weekend in South Philly

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Charlie Blackmon is developing into a Phillies-killer with Colorado

The Philadelphia Phillies (24-19) are coming off just their third series loss of the season after dropping the final three games of a four-game set to the visiting Milwaukee Brewers this week.

One of those series defeats came at the hands of the Colorado Rockies (20-22), who took three of four games from the Phillies out at Coors Field in Denver back in mid-April.
Now a month later, the Phillies will try to avoid losing four straight games for the first time in the 2019 campaign when they host the Rockies for three over this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.
Colorado, an NL Wildcard playoff team in each of the last two years, has a losing record over the first seven weeks. However, manager Bud Black has them playing much better of late. The Rockies have gone 17-10 since the first two weeks or so. They have lost just one series (5-1-3) over the last month.
The Rockies currently sit in fourth place in the National League West Division, 7.5 games off the pace set by the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are tied with the New York Mets, three games off the second NL Wildcard pace being set by another of their division rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Colorado ranks 5th in runs scored and second in extra-base hits (tops in triples) in the National League. As a team, the Rockies home-road splits reveal two entirely different portraits. At home, Colorado is slashing .284/.354/.504, while on the road their batters have produced just a .217/.271/.382 slash line. However, since Citizens Bank Park is such a positive offensive environment, those negative road numbers may prove less relevant.
The Rockies attack is led by the consensus top third baseman in the game in 28-year-old Nolan Arenado, who is slashing .314/.360/.598 with a team-high 11 homers and 35 RBIs. Veteran right fielder Charlie Blackmon is slashing .295/.359/.566 and leads the club with 25 extra-base hits.
Blackmon has become another in the group of modern day Phillies-killers across Major League Baseball. He enjoys a career .342/.421/.615 slash line with 10 homers and 22 extra-base hits over 184 career plate appearances against the Phillies. At Citizens Bank Park, Blackmon is slashing .314/.385/.671 with seven of those home runs. At least we won’t have to hear “The Outfield” or Coors fans singing “….TONIGHT!” during his at-bats here in Philly.
All-star shortstop Trevor Story leads the club in runs scored and stolen bases and is second in homers and RBIs. However, he injured his knee in a collision with outfielder Raimel Tapia at Fenway Park on Wednesday. “Just a knee bruise,” he said per Nick Groke with The Athletic. “It’s good news for sure.
The Rockies are rumored to be promotiong their top prospect, shortstop Brendan Rodgers, for this series against the Phillies as insurance. Ultimately, Rodgers may end up competing with Ryan McMahon for the starting second base job.
Meanwhile, the Phillies continue to lead the National League East Division standings. Their lead is now down to just 1.5 games, two in the loss column, over the Atlanta Braves. The Mets are three games back in that loss column and the Washington Nationals are sitting six games out.
The roller coaster offensive attack has been on full display from the Phillies once again over the last two weeks. After scoring at least five runs in seven of their previous nine games, the Phillies scored just six total runs in dropping the final three to the Brew Crew.
The Phillies are 1-3 over the first four games of what was a tough 23-game stretch. It’s a slow start that the club really needs to reverse this weekend, especially considering that the Rockies are the last team until June 7 they will face who currently hold a losing record.

FRIDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1.  Andrew McCutchen, left field
  2. Jean Segura, shortstop
  3. Bryce Harper, right field
  4. Rhys Hoskins, first base
  5. J.T. Realmuto, first base
  6. Cesar Hernandez, second base
  7. Odubel Herrera, center field
  8. Maikel Franco, third base
  9. Cole Irvin, pitcher

ROCKIES LINEUP

  1. Charlie Blackmon, right field
  2. Trevor Story, shortstop
  3. Nolan Arenado, third base
  4. Mark Reynolds, first base
  5. Raimel Tapia, left field
  6. Ian Desmond, center field
  7. Brendan Rodgers, second base
  8. Tony Wolters, catcher
  9. Jon Gray, pitcher

INJURY REPORT

Phillies: Super-utility player Scott Kingery, by far the club’s most valuable bench player, is on a rehab assignement with Double-A Reading and is likely to be activated for this series. Righty relievers David RobertsonVictor AranoTommy Hunter and Edubray Ramos all remain out and will not be back this weekend. Ditto for outfielder Roman Quinn and starting pitcher Vince Velasquez.
Rockies: Story is considered day-to-day with a bone bruise on his knee. Lefty reliever Jake McGee is on a minor league rehab assignment but unlikely to return this weekend.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Cole Irvin: 1-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 2.11 FIP
  • The 25-year-old lefty made his big-league debut last Sunday. He went seven innings, allowing just five hits and one earned run while striking out five and walking one against the Royals in Kansas City.
  • A California  native, Irvin was the Phillies fifth round pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Oregon. He was 2-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 36 hits allowed over 36 innings across six starts at Triple-A prior to his promotion. He struck out 23 and walked eight opposing batters.
  • Jon Gray: 3-3, 4.25 ERA, 46 hits allowed over 48.2 IP across eight starts with a 51/19 K:BB
  • Gray allowed just two hits, walked four, struck out five over six shutout frames in beating the Phillies at Coors Field on April 21. In his most recent outing, Gray allowed eight hits including a pair of homers and three earned runs in a no-decision vs the San Diego Padres at Coors Field last Sunday.
  • A 27-year-old righty who was the Rockies first round pick at third overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, Gray has pitched twice before at Citizens Bank Park. He lasted just 4.1 while surrendering seven runs, six earned, in a 10-6 Phillies win on August 12, 2016. Then on June 12 of last season, Gray went six innings, allowing four earned but on just three hits, striking out 10 batters in a 5-4 Phillies victory.
  • Gray throws a four-seam fastball with natural sinking action that is rated as an extreme groundball inducer. He also throws an extremely hard slider. He has a curve, changeup and sinker in his repertoire, all of which he uses much less frequently.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Friday night begins “Armed Forces Weekend” at Citizens Bank Park. From Friday through Sunday, players and club personnel will wear camouflage-designed caps, which feature a five-starred emblem to represent the five branches of the U.S. military, and will also wear camo-themed socks.
  • The Rockies won five of the seven games played between the two teams during each of the past two seasons. The Phillie lead the all-time series between them by a 109-88 margin.
  • Rhys Hoskins has the lone home run off Gray among current Phillies players, but it’s his only hit off the right-hander over seven career at-bats. Andrew McCutchen has enjoyed the most success with a .471 average over 17 at-bats.
  • Major League Baseball has announced that Day 1 of the 2019 MLB Draft will take place on Monday, June 3, at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in New Jersey beginning live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 7 p.m. EDT. Prior to the start of the Draft, MLB Network will air a preview show, simulcast on MLB.com, at 6 p.m. EDT. The Phillies have the 14th overall pick in that first round.

Phillies – Rockies series opener preview

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Nolan Arenado heating up as Phillies arrive in Denver

Along with their luggage, the Philadelphia Phillies (11-6) carried the best record in the National League with them on their Wednesday evening flight west to Denver. There, the early-season league leaders will take on the host Colorado Rockies (6-12) in a four-game set beginning on Thursday night.

The Rockies are expected to be serious contenders for the NL West Division crown this year. Last season, Colorado finished 91-72 and captured a National League Wildcard playoff berth after finishing just a game behind the division-winning Los Angeles Dodgers.
The primary reason for the Rockies early-season failure has been an unusually feeble offensive attack. One might point out that the club has played just five of its first 15 games at home in the rarified air of the Mile-High City. However, the Rockies lost all five of those home games, scoring just 21 total runs in the process.
Colorado enters the series having won three straight behind their pitching. The Rockies staff held West Division rivals San Francisco and San Diego to just four runs in the three wins. That stretch included a complete game one-hitter from German Marquez and Quality Start outings from both Antonio Senzatela and Jon Gray. Those are likely to be the three pitchers whom the Phillies will face from Friday-Sunday. Marquez is likely nice and content after recently signing a contract extension taking him through the 2023 season.
Colorado won’t have an easy road in trying to extend that winning streak and fully get their season on track. Over the next week they will be hosting a pair of NL East contenders, with the Phillies to be followed in by the Washington Nationals.
The Rockies are currently just 27th in all of Major League Baseball in runs scored. The bats have produced a cumulative .210/.268/.310 slash line. Those figures leave them 26th, 30th, and 26th in all of baseball in the AVG, OBP and SLG categories.
On the mound, Colorado has been a middle-of-the-pack club. The staff collective 4.22 ERA is 14th in baseball and sixth in the National League, while their Batting Average Against mark of .240 is 13th in the game but fifth-best in the NL. The Rockies pitchers have surrendered just 21 homers over 18 games, fourth-best in the NL, but you can probably expect that rate to rise as those arms pitch in more home games.
The Phillies improved lineup comes to town with the sixth-highest scoring offense in MLB to this point and an OPS ranking seventh in the game. The club is fifth in doubles, and with the wide-open spaces of the Coors Field outfield territory you can expect that placing to rise by the end of the weekend.
It will be the job of the Phillies pitchers to keep those cold Rockies bats in check this weekend. Phillies hurlers are just 14th in MLB with a collective .263 Batting Average Against to this point. Their 27 home runs allowed is the seventh-highest total in all of baseball.
These two clubs have met a total of 193 times in the regular season since Colorado joined the National League as an expansion team for the 1993 season. The Phillies have won 108 of those contests, and hold a 49-45 record all-time in Denver. However, Colorado has captured 10 of the last 14 between the teams over the last two years.

THURSDAY STARTING LINEUPS AND PREVIEW


PHILLIES LINEUP
  1. McCutchen LF
  2. Kingery, SS
  3. Harper, RF
  4. Hoskins, 1B
  5. Realmuto, C
  6. Quinn, CF
  7. Hernandez, 2B
  8. Franco, 3B
  9. Eflin, P

PHILLIES HOT & COLD


Super-utility man Scott Kingery has been on fire, slashing .571/.609/1.048 with six extra-base hits and six RBI over his last 23 plate appearances. Kingery has pinch-hit and played 2B, SS, 3B and LF during that time, seeing starts at 2B, SS, 3B.
Catcher J.T. Realmuto is .353/.389/.500 with eight RBI over his last nine games. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez has hit in four straight and has a .346/.469/.615 slash over his last seven games.
On the cold side of things, first baseman Rhys Hoskins went 0-8 in the final two games of the Mets series, both Phillies victories. He is slashing just .138/.286/.207 over his last seven games. Bryce Harper had one big game, the middle game, in that Mets series. But stretching back across his last 10 games, Harper is slashing just .162/.326/.270 with one homer and five RBI.
Since an Opening Day meltdown, reliever Hector Neris has allowed just two hits over six innings across seven appearances. He has a 10/2 K:BB ratio over that span with just a .317 OPS against figure while recording two Saves and two Holds. Lefty Adam Morgan has yet to be charged with an earned run over his first nine appearances, striking out seven, walking none, and surrendering just three hits over 7.2 innings.
ROCKIES LINEUP
  1. Blackmon, RF
  2. Dahl, CF
  3. Arenado, 3B
  4. Story, SS
  5. McMahon, 1B
  6. Tapia, LF
  7. Hampson, 2B
  8. Wolters, C
  9. Freeland, P

ROCKIES HOT & COLD

Nolan Arenado, who is the consensus top third baseman in all of baseball, has gotten off to a cold start. The last thing the Phillies need is for the four-time NL All-Star and Silver Slugger winner and six-time NL Gold Glover to really break out and get hot. That may already be happening, as he homered in each of the club’s last two games. Arenado is slashing just .264/.325/.444 overall with six extra-base hits. His splits have always been exaggerated at home, so was probably hoping for too much to see him remain cold.
Right fielder Charlie Blackmon is slashing just .219/.266/.301, while shortstop Trevor Story is just .257/.325/.443 thus far. Center fielder Ian Desmond is only .164/.203/.279 to this point. While all that may seem to bode well for the Phillies, fact is that all of those hitters are far better than their early 2019 numbers. Those numbers will go up at some point.
On the hot side, veteran closer Wade Davis has yet to allow a run this season over his first five outings. Righty Scott Oberg and lefty Harrison Bader have been strong out of the bullpen for manager Bud Black.
The Rockies have activated both left fielder David Dahl (core) and infielder Ryan McMahon(left elbow) after their medical clearances went well on Thursday. The 25-year old Dahl had been Colorado’s one really hot hitter before suffering his injury. The 24-year-old McMahon was seeing plenty of action split between first and second base.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Zach Eflin: 2-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 19 hits allowed over 16 innings across three starts with an 18/1 K:BB ratio.
  • Eflin began the season with back-to-back strong outings. But in his last start at Miami 25-year-old righty was shelled for six earned runs on 10 hits including three homers.
  • Kyle Freeland: 1-3, 5.40 ERA, 1.431 WHIP, 21 hits allowed over 21.2 innings across four starts with a 23/10 K:BB ratio. He left his last start against the San Francisco Giants with a blister on his left middle finger. He apparently has healed, but it could be something to watch.
  • Freeland finished seventh in the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year voting and then fourth in last year’s NL Cy Young Award voting. However, after a strong start on Opening Day the lefty has allowed 19 hits and walked nine over his last 14.2 innings in suffering three consecutive losses.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Phillies have placed Odubel Herrera on the IL with his strained hamstring. Roman Quinn has been called up and will see his first big-league action of the season, starting in center field in Herrera’s place on Thursday. Herrera believes that he will only need the minimum 10-day stay on the Injured List.
  • Kingery gets the start at shortstop, probably through at least Friday, as Jean Segura continues to be held out for cautionary reasons as he nurses what is believed to be just minor hamstring tightness.
  • The dynamic but injury-prone Quinn was slashing .370/.452/.593 with nine runs scored and a pair of steals over 35 plate appearances during his minor league rehab at Clearwater and Lehigh Valley. Expect to see him get most of the center field action while healthy.
  • In a lefty-on-lefty match, Harper has hit just .250 with no homers and one RBI off Freeland. Andrew McCutchen has by far the most Phillies looks at Freeland with 17 at-bats, but is hitting just .235 with no homers and one RBI.
  • Blackmon has tattooed Eflin to the tune of a .571 average with two homers. Arenado is just .250 with no homers and one RBI off Eflin.
  • Arenado homered on Wednesday night in San Diego. It was the 189th of his career, moving him past Troy Tulowitzki for sixth on the all-time Rockies home run list. Next up is Dante Bichette at fifth with 201 long balls.

THURSDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION