Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Drew Smyly strong again on mound in series opener vs Giants

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Phillies get second straight strong outing from Drew Smyly

The Philadelphia Phillies left tons of base runners in scoring position, 10 left on base total, on a steaming hot Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, but still came away with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

With the win, the Phillies (56-50) moved three games up on the Giants (54-53) in the overall National League Wildcard race standings. Based on the results of other games involving that race, the Phillies will end the night tied for one of the two available Wildcard postseason berths.
The two teams battled through the first three innings scoreless, with the Phillies leaving a runner out at second base in each frame. But it would be the home side getting on the board first, finally pushing two runs across in the bottom of the 4th inning.
J.T. Realmuto and Cesar Hernandez started that inning with singles, with Realmuto rolling around to third base on the Hernandez base hit. Maikel Franco then hit into a 4-3 ground out, but Realmuto raced home with the game’s first run. Adam Haseley then ripped a double to right, with Hernandez racing around to make it a 2-0 game.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Phillies powered up with the longball to double their lead. After Bryce Harper drew a one-out walk, Rhys Hoskins crushed his 23rd home run of the season out to center field, pushing the Phillies out on top by a 4-0 margin.
The real story on this night for the home side was the pitching of newcomer Drew Smyly. The southpaw was brilliant, allowing just four hits and a walk over seven shutout frames, striking out five Giants batters.
In the 8th, manager Gabe Kapler went to Nick Pivetta out of the bullpen. Pivetta promptly surrendered a pair of solo home runs, to Brandon Belt with one out and Stephen Vogt with two outs, cutting the Phillies lead in half.
Hector Neris then came on for the 9th inning, and the closer set the Giants down in order to clinch the victory. The Phillies and Giants will try to go at it again on Wednesday evening in South Philly with showers and thunderstorms looming in the weather forecast.


Phillies – Drew Smyly: 7 IP, 4 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts. 103 pitches, 71 for strikes.
Giants – Tyler Beede: 5 IP, 10 hits (1 HR), 4 earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. 86 pitches, 58 for strikes.


For the second straight start since being signed as a free agent, the southpaw gave the Phillies a strong outing. He used key strikeouts, a pair of big double play balls, and a nice caught stealing to keep the Giants off the scoreboard.
Over 13 innings with the Phillies, Smyly has now allowed just one run on eight hits, walked three, and struck out 13 opposing batters. Who knows how it will go over the longer haul, even just down the stretch this season. But right now, Smyly is giving the beleaguered Phillies starting rotation an incredible shot in the arm at just the right time.


Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies all smiles as Drew Smyly provides another stellar outing”

Giants stomp into South Philly as surprise Wildcard contenders

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Bruce Bochy is in his final season as Giants skipper

The Philadelphia Phillies (55-50) and San Francisco Giants (54-52) are each squarely in the hunt for a National League Wildcard playoff berth with just nine weeks remaining in the 2019 MLB regular season.

However, the two teams came to that race in very different ways. The Phillies bolted out to a hot start over the season’s first two months, leading the NL East Division into late May before stumbling.
The Giants, on the other hand, stumbled out of the gate. As late as June 29, San Francisco found themselves a dozen games below the .500 mark. With the second-worst record in the National League, they sat 8.5 back of a Wildcard berth, 19.5 out and in last place in the NL West.
But the Giants suddenly and unexpectedly turned their season around, and turned the playoff race on its head. They have won 19 of their last 24, moved to second place in their division, and are just 2.5 back in the Wildcard hunt, 1.5 back of the Phillies.
The franchise has won three World Series titles in this decade: 2010, 2012 and 2014. They also reached the playoffs in 2016, the last postseason appearance for the team. With an aging ball club that has finished a collective 60 games below .500 over the last two seaons, this winning burst has shocked most in the game. Can it continue? Can this team possibly sustain their recent hot streak?
On Wednesday, the MLB trade deadline arrives. It was expected that the Giants were going to be a seller. That was the general consensus as recently as three weeks ago. Now, could Farhan Zaidi instead become a buyer, hoping to inject just enough talent to push the Giants back to the postseason for another run?
The Giants offense has averaged just 4.37 runs per game this season, 25th of the 30 teams in baseball. Their 109 home runs are next-to-last in the NL, as is their .698 OPS. Their combined .237 batting average is the lowest mark in the league, and their 28 steals are tied for last. In other words, this is a team that even Phillies pitching without Aaron Nola getting a start should be able to contain.
On the mound, Giants pitching is middle-of-the-road with a .251 batting average against, and ranks 13th in strikeouts and 14th in OPS against. In other words, they should not be a major challenge for the Phillies inconsistent offense.
These two teams have played one another tough over the last three seasons, with the Phillies holding an 11-9 edge in those head-to-head meetings. They will meet again by the bay at Oracle Park in San Francisco in a four-game series during the second week of August.
This is a veteran Giants team that has suddenly remembered what it was like to win 7-8-9 years ago. Many of the position players were around with those title teams. That makes them tough while they are hot. But frankly, this is a team that the Phillies ought to be able to handle. This needs to be a series win, preferably a sweep for the home team.



Alex Dickerson (29/LF): .391/.454/.782, 6 HR, 19 XBH, 23 RBIs, 21 runs (traded to SFG from SD in mid-June)
Kevin Pillar (30/CF): .245/.275/.408, 12 HR, 38 XBH, 54 RBIs, 50 runs
Pablo Sandoval (32/3B): .266/.310/.510, 13 HR, 33 XBH, 38 RBIs, 39 runs
Brandon Belt (31/1B): .233/.350/.390, 11 HR, 30 XBH, 36 RBIs, 50 runs
Mike Yastrzemski (28/RF): .275/.322/.505, 9 HR, 22 XBH, 31 RBIs, 33 runs (grandson of Boston Red Sox legendary Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski is a rookie promoted 5/25)
Buster Posey (32/C): .264/.329/.396, 5 HR, 25 XBH, 29 RBIs, 32 runs
Joe Panik (28/2B): .232/.306/.313, 3 HR, 20 XBH, 27 RBIs, 33 runs
Brandon Crawford (32/SS): .234/.307/.376, 9 HR, 29 XBH, 44 RBIs, 40 runs


Madison Bumgarner: Just as the Giants don’t have to worry about facing Aaron Nola, the Phillies will not face MadBum in these three games. Both aces went on Sunday for their respective teams. Bumgarner is 6-7 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.153 WHIP and 3.67 FIP thus far in 2019. He has made 23 starts, allowing 132 hits across 139.2 innings with a 140/29 K:BB ratio.
What makes Bumgarner relevant as this series progresses is the MLB trade deadline, which arrives on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 PM EDT. For months now, Bumgarner has been one of the names subject to the most speculation. He will turn 30 years old on Thursday, the day after the deadline passes, and is due to become a free agent after this season.
Do the Giants really believe they can contend this season? Personally, I don’t. But if they do, perhaps Bumgarner stays. If Zaidi is as smart as I think he is, then a trade of the Giants longtime ace would be a major story right in the middle of this series.
In case you need a reminder of his résumé, Bumgarner was a National League All-Star and finished among the top ten in NL Cy Young Award voting each year from 2013-16. In 2014, the lefty was MVP of both the NLCS and World Series, helping earn his third World Series ring with the Giants. He was also named the AP Male Athlete of the Year for 2014.
Topping it all off, and important for a National League pitcher at this point, he can hit. Bumgarner took home a Silver Slugger in both 2014 and 2015. While teams acquiring him would certainly not be getting MadBum in his prime, they would indeed be getting a pitcher who can still pitch near the top of a rotation, one with tremendous, winning experience.


TUESDAY – Tyler Beede (26/RH): 3-4, 4.85 ERA, 5.24 FIP, 1.477 WHIP, 66 hits over 65 IP across 13 games (11 starts) with a 62/30 K:BB
WEDNESDAY – Jeff Samardzija (34/RH): 7-8, 3.95 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 1.178 WHIP, 105 hits over 116.1 IP across 21 starts with a 102/32 K:BB
THURSDAY – Shaun Anderson (24/RH): 3-3, 5.06 ERA, 4.68 FIP, 1.487 WHIP, 85 hits over 74.2 IP across 14 starts with a 53/26 K:BB (as of the series opening his is listed as a TBD by the Giants, but it has been Anderson’s turn in the rotation)


Bruce Bochy: Now 64 years of age, Bochy was actually born in Landes de Bussac, France while his father was serving in the U.S. Army. His family ultimately moved to Florida, and he became the first round draft choice at 23rd overall in the 1975 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.
Bochy reached the big-leagues with Houston in 1978, beginning what would become a nine-season career as a player in Major League Baseball. A catcher, he was famously plowed into by Pete Rose, who was scoring what would prove to be the winning run in the top of the 10th inning as the Phillies rallied to tie up the 1980 NLCS at two games apiece. He was the backup catcher with the San Diego Padres team that won a National League pennant in 1984.
After his retirements as a player, Bochy was hired to manage in the San Diego minor league system. In 1993 he was moved up to the big club, taking over as the third base coach. Then for the 1995 season, Bochy was finally hired as manager of the Padres. Over 12 years as skipper in southern California, Bochy amassed a 951-975 record, guiding the Friars to four division crowns and a 1998 NL pennant.
Let go following the 2006 season, Bochy immediately caught on as manager with the division-rival Giants, and has been the skipper in San Francisco ever since. Over 13 years by the bay, Bochy has a 1,029-1,021 record and has led the Giants to three World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. His 2016 team went to the postseason as a Wildcard team.
Overall, Bochy is now in his 25th consecutive season as a manager in Major League Baseball. He has a combined record of 1,980-1,996 between his work with the Padres and Giants organizations. He is just 28 wins behind Leo Durocher for 10th place on the all-time MLB managerial wins list, 60 behind Walter Alston for 9th place on that list. That top ten spot is his goal, as Bochy has battled health issues and has already announced that this will be his final season as manager.


TUESDAY: It will be a hot time in the old town tonight. Real-feel for the 7:05 pm first pitch is expected in the mid-90’s with moderate winds and no chance of precipitation.
WEDNESDAY: It is going to storm during the day on Wednesday. Question is, how might it affect the game, if at all? Right now the call is for real-feel temps in the mid-80’s at the scheduled 7:05 pm first pitch. There is a 45% chance of showers and tstorms, decreasing throughout the night with light winds.
THURSDAY: For this first game of August, the 1:05 pm first pitch should see a real-feel in the mid-80’s with light winds. There is a slight chance of a lingering shower or tstorm, but nothing that should be a major factor.
South Philly forecast from The Weather Channel

Bryce Harper appears to be taking final offers as free agency process nears an end

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Harper met with the Phillies, Dodgers and Giants in recent days

For months, the Philadelphia Phillies were among the leading contenders to land one of the two big free agents available during this Hot Stove season.

With infielder Manny Machado coming off the market last week, the focus of the team was squarely on the other prize. Now it appears that the battle for outfielder Bryce Harper may be finally drawing to a close.
The Phillies may have put their final best offer on the table this past weekend when principal owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas and met on Saturday with Harper, his wife Kayla, and agent Scott Boras. Middleton then returned to Florida and has said that he will make no further public comments until the process is complete.
On Sunday it was the Los Angeles Dodgers turn to meet with the Harper group in Sin City. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was part of that Dodgers contingent and had this to say per Bob Nightengale of USA Today: “It was good, just trying to get to know each other. I think in the spirit of us, the Dodgers, vetting a certain process makes sense and for those guys to do their due diligence as well.
Then on Tuesday the San Francisco Giants took their shot, with CEO Larry Baer and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi known to have taken part in meetings with the Harper team. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that their sources indicate “the Giants and Harper’s team have discussed a 10-year contract.
If the most recent reports are to be believed, this would mean that both the Phillies and Giants have made long-term offers in excess of $300 million total dollars. It is believed that the Dodgers are hoping to lure Harper to SoCal with a more lucrative annual average value deal for a shorter term, perhaps three-to-five years for $35-40 million AAV.
There has also been increased speculation that a Harper deal for the long-term would have to include a player opt-out after three years. That would be smart from his perspective for a number of reasons.
First, it would allow him to re-enter free agency while still in his prime at age 29. Second, it would come a year after the free agency of Mike Trout, which will certainly elevate financial and other terms for all players. Third, it would come just as a new Basic Agreement was due between the players and Major League Baseball.

Everything is speculative at this point. Numerous sources are coming out with proclamations and predictions on a daily basis, stating that their individual sources have some new inside information to offer. Frequently these sources have differed wildly or outright contradicted others.
One thing feels certain. With spring training underway, game action already taking place in both the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, and the calendar about to turn to March, this process is drawing to a close. These meetings for the Phillies, Dodgers, and Giants were very likely a chance to put up their last, best offers.
I am predicting that we have an end to this saga before the weekend. Let’s see what happens, Phillies Nation.

Andrew McCutchen begins a career second act with the Phillies

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The 2013 NL MVP brings veteran talent to the Phillies

For the first time in three years the Philadelphia Phillies have a former big-league Most Valuable Player on their roster as Grapefruit League games get underway down in Clearwater, Florida.

It was three years ago that Ryan Howard, who had been the National League MVP a decade earlier, took part in his final spring training with the Phillies.
On December 12, the Phillies signed 33-year-old 10-year big-league veteran Andrew McCutchen to a three-year contract as a free agent. McCutchen was the 2013 NL Most Valuable Player while playing his ball across the state with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The first-round choice of the Bucs at 11th overall in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school in his native Fort Meade, Florida, McCutchen’s power-speed combination helped him grow into one of baseball’s top prospects over the next four years.
In June of 2009, “Cutch” made his debut in Major League Baseball. He would bang 47 extra-base hits and steal 22 bases in just 108 games that year to finish fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
During the 2010 season he rapped out 56 extra-base hits, scored 94 runs and stole 33 bases. Then in 2011, McCutchen became a National League All-Star for the first time.
The 2012 Pirates suffered through the 20th consecutive losing season. But things were starting to look up as the club won 79 games for the first time in 15 years. McCutchen was leading the way. He led the league with 194 hits and banged a career-high 31 home runs with 96 RBI, 107 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases.
For his outstanding season, McCutchen finished third in the NL MVP voting. He also won a Gold Glove Award for his play in center field and took home the first of what would be four consecutive Silver Slugger honors.
It was his performance during the 2013 season that would earn McCutchen his Most Valuable Player honors. He slashed .317/.404/.508 with 64 extra-base hits, 97 runs scored and 27 stolen bases. He also led the Pirates to a 94-win season and an NL playoff berth.
That was the first of three consecutive postseason appearances for the Pirates. McCutchen had two hits and two walks as the Bucs swamped the Cincinnati Reds by a 6-2 score in the 2013 NL Wildcard Game. Pittsburgh then took a 2-1 lead in the NLDS before the Saint Louis Cardinals rallied past them to take the series in five games.

The Pirates would return to the NL Wildcard Game in each of the next two seasons after finishing in second place in the NL Central Division both times. But they were shutout at PNC Park both times, by the visiting San Francisco Giants 8-0 in 2014 and the Chicago Cubs 4-0 in 2015.
McCutchen put up big seasons both years, finishing among the top five in NL MVP both times. He put up solid seasons in both 2016 and 2017, but the Pirates slipped from contending status.
In January 2018 the Pirates traded McCutchen, who was due to become a free agent after that coming season, to San Francisco for a pair of prospects. On August 31 of last season, the Giants flipped him to the New York Yankees, again for a pair of prospects.
McCutchen, who maintains his home in Pittsburgh, will always hold his first organization close to his heart. He was quoted on that relationship by Bob Brookover of Philly.com:
I got drafted by them at 18 and when you come up through an organization that’s all you know. You develop relationships with the fans and you experience highs and lows. I was able to experience all of that. I didn’t experience the championship, but I experienced a playoff atmosphere and there were a lot of things to appreciate. There are a lot of memories and things I hold dear to me. It was a great place and I would always have that as the first half of my career.

Starting for the Yankees at first in right field and then in left field, McCutchen had a quiet postseason with the Bronx Bombers. He produced just two hits while scoring twice and knocking in a run over 19 plate appearances as the Yankees were knocked out in the ALDS by the arch-rival Boston Red Sox.
After the season, McCutchen became a free agent for the first time, leading to his signing with the Phillies. His contract guarantees him $47 million over the next three seasons and contains a $15 million team option for the 2022 campaign when he would be 35-years-old.

McCutchen is slated to start in left field with the Phillies, allowing Rhys Hoskins to move back to his more comfortable and natural position at first base. He joins a returning outfield mix that includes Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr. It’s a group that could be joined soon by another former NL MVP, Bryce Harper.
Per the Associated Press, McCutchen recognizes the incumbent talent, and would welcome the addition of another star:
We’ve got a lot of guys who are competing for positions, and that’s a good thing to have in camp. Everybody is out there working hard. Working to win the job, or even if they don’t, they know they could be the next man up. The competition is good for the outfield as a whole….We will be able to help each other out, and I can share my knowledge and my experience.
That experience should prove invaluable. More than 1,500 big-league games, another 13 in the postseason, and five MLB All-Star Game appearances. No longer an MVP-caliber player, he retains enough skill and athleticism at age 32 to upgrade the Phillies lineup.
That is what McCutchen hopes to do with the Phillies – add his skills to the other team upgrades, helping to push the club back to contending status and ultimately to the postseason.

Bryce Harper has made his decision, per Washington sports talk host

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A Washington radio host is reporting Harper has made a decision

Everyone in Phillies Nation has been waiting with growing impatience for a final decision from free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

If the alleged “real good source” to 106.7 The Fan sports talk broadcaster Chris Russell is to be believed, the process for Harper may be now winding to a close.
Russell stated on the air on Thursday that the superstar outfielder’s decision would “come in the next 24 hours” and added that he did not believe that Harper would be returning to the Nationals.
Then today, Russell joined local Philly FM sports talk Philly 94 WIP’s Midday Show and stated the following:

“… I’m led to believe by the people that I’ve talked to that are close to the situation—and I have, again, a real good source that has helped me through this process, let’s just leave it at that, that Bryce was in a mood to celebrate yesterday.”

Now, the source said, ‘I believe it’s done.’ I don’t have concrete, 100 percent proof for you guys. I wish I did, otherwise I would have it and I would be running around with it. But I don’t have that, so I want to caution everybody in Philadelphia. But that’s what I was lead to believe, that this thing is now decided.”
Russell went on to elaborate that if no formal contract has yet been extended, then there may simply have been an agreement reached. That would mean that specific contract details need to be worked out before any actual announcement might come.

Ben Krimmel at the 106.7 The Fan further quoted Russell: “I was, again, led to believe that there was some stuff going on yesterday in Las Vegas that indicated to me and my source that Bryce Harper was done with this decision. But it could still take a couple of days to get everything ironed out.
Information from Russell’s supposed source might be given a bit more credence than some of the other information coming out regarding the Harper situation. It was this source that revealed the San Francisco Giants recent interest in the free agent slugger.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak stated yesterday that he believes the club has enjoyed a strong off-season and responded to the many fans who have been vocal in expressing that, despite all of the team’s moves to date, the failure to land either Harper or Machado would prove fatal to the club’s chances of truly competing in the 2019 season.
Klentak was quoted by Matt Breen at Philly.com: “The notion that we hear is that if we fail to sign a big free agent, then it’s a failure of an offseason. I don’t agree with that. I’m not trying to throw cold water on the idea that we may still sign a free agent. We are going to continue to explore that market because there are several really good free agents out there.
Jake Arrieta didn’t sign with the Phillies last spring until March 12. (Ian D’Andrea/Flickr)
Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, who did not sign with the Phillies last spring until March 12, was quoted on the situation by Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
I was in that same boat…They want to be in camp with their teammates. That was the hardest part for me, not being in Clearwater with these guys for the first three weeks — not getting to develop those relationships, get to know the catchers, the coaching staff. That’s tough…It’s tough on them and their families to not have a team to be with. Even though those guys are going to get taken care of financially, it’s still tough on them not being in a clubhouse and getting to cultivate those relationships that are so important for everyone on the team.
Besides the obviously headline-grabbing nature of a “this thing is now decided” comment, Russell had another interesting opinion to share towards the end of today’s WIP interview when he stated the following regarding Harper: “I don’t think he likes the extreme intensity and rabid, rabid, critical nature of a Philadelphia, or a New York, of a Boston, and that, I think, is important.

One thing that Russell never said at any time is that he believes that Harper, if indeed a decision has been made, will be choosing the Phillies. In fact, based on that last comment, Russell would have to believe that San Francisco is a more likely destination.
You can listen to the entire interview conducted by WIP Midday Show hosts Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie with Russell at the embedded link above within the body of this story. If Russell’s “source” proves to have good information, we should see an end to the Harper free agency saga any day now. But even if so, will it prove to be a happy ending for Phillies fans?