Tag Archives: Sean Rodriguez

Would Phillies be better with Kingery-Franco than Hernandez-Kingery at 2nd and 3rd?

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Maikel Franco should be playing third base every day

Things have been going pretty badly for the Philadelphia Phillies over the last three weeks. And it now appears that one former starting position player, third baseman Maikel Franco, may be in the proccess of being given up on by the manager.

Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler had two lineup cards to fill out on Wednesday as his club was set to play a day-night doubleheader against the Washington Nationals. In the first, Kapler named Scott Kingery as the starting third baseman. In the lineup announced for the nightcap, newcomer Brad Miller is scheduled to man the hot corner.
When Kapler needed bats off the bench to pinch-hit in that opening 6-2 defeat at the hands of the host Nationals, he went to Miller and the repeatedly ineffective Andrew Knapp.
Franco certainly hasn’t helped his case with the bat this season. the 26-year-old hasn’t produced a multi-hit game since May 13, and has just two home runs since April 26. However, Franco is also the third-best defensive third baseman in the National League, eighth-best in baseball, so far this season according to Fangraphs.

Is keeping Franco out of the lineup the best move to give the  Phillies a chance to win baseball games these days?
In Kingery, the Phillies have a player who won a minor league Gold Glove Award for his play at second base just two years ago. Over the last 14 games covering his own last 67 plate appearances entering today, second baseman Cesar Hernandez was slashing at just the .115/.179/.213 mark.
Would the Phillies be better off with Kingery at second and Franco at third on an everyday basis, rather than Hernandez at second and Kingery and others juggling the hot corner? Would the defense become more consistent? Better overall? Would that help win some ball games?
Franco has always been a streaky hitter. From Opening Day through April 27 covering the entire first month of this season, Franco was slashing .271/.360/.542 with seven homers among a dozen extra-base hits with 22 RBIs. Everyone was bestowing “the best #8 hitter in baseball” title on him. If he were playing every day, Franco would likely have another streak similar to that one at some point.
The question as to what to do with center field is a legitimate one. Roman Quinn is back from his latest stay on the Injured List. He is clearly the best defensive center fielder available to the team right now. But how long would Quinn remain healthy if playing every day, given his consistent injury history?
For me, defense matters. And also, you play your best team available at the time. You worry about injuries when (if) they occur. I play Kingery at second base, Franco at third base, and Quinn in center field every day. Meanwhile, I do my best to find a more veteran center field option.
I fully understand that Hernandez has his “fan club” among a certain segment of the fan base. That is fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is mine.
The only opinions that matter belong to Kapler and Matt Klentak. We’re seeing their choices, and they simply aren’t working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Phillies suffer humiliating Father’s Day defeat at hands of the Braves

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Braves mascot stole Harper’s money, players stole Phillies hearts

The host Atlanta Braves (42-30) completely dismantled the Philadelphia Phillies (39-32) by a 15-1 score, treating the fans at SunTrust Park to a real Father’s Day celebration.

With the win, the Braves open up a 2.5 game lead on the Phillies in the National League East Division standings. Atlanta has now won 12 of their last 15 games, and they are 24-10 since manager Brian Snitker installed 2018 NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr. as his leadoff man.
The Phillies were never in this one. Manager Gabe Kapler decided to go with Vince Velasquez in an “Opener” role, and it completely backfired. Velasquez (2-4) surrendered three runs in the bottom of the 1st inning to put the club into a hole from which they were never able to climb out.
Velasquez was followed to the hill by Cole Irvin, and the lefty was even worse. Irvin would go 3.2 innings, allowing six earned runs and letting the Braves score in every inning in which he was on the mound.
Next up, Jerad Eickhoff, meaning that Kapler used three pitchers who were in his starting rotation at one point in this season. Eickhoff was even worse than Irvin, if you can believe that, surrendering five earned runs in just one inning on the bump.
The Phillies most effective “pitcher” in this game? Utility man Sean Rodriguez, who tossed a shutout frame in the bottom of the 8th inning that included a strikeout.

Rather than just tick off each of the runs and prolong the agony for you readers, let’s just take a look down the Braves lineup. Acuna had four hits including his 16th home run and scored four runs. Josh Donaldson produced three hits including his 12th homer. Freddie Freeman had two hits, a walk, two RBIs, and two runs scored. Ozzie Albies had three hits, two runs, and two RBIs. Nick Markakis and Austin Riley each had a pair of hits, combining to score two runs and drive in three.

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Here’s a look at Josh Donaldson’s third homer of the series, which pushed Braves lead out to 5-0 in bottom of 3rd inning.

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All-in-all, the Atlanta lineup went 19-40 on the afternoon. That makes for an incredible one-day batting average at the .475 mark. Again, against three pitchers who were in the Phillies starting rotation this season.
The lone Phillies run came in the top of the 5th inning with the club already down by a 7-0 score when an RBI single off the bat of Bryce Harper scored Andrew Knapp. Though Atlanta’s starting pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz (2-5) was wild, walking five and throwing one charged wild pitch (he threw another wild that didn’t hurt him), the Phillies simply couldn’t take advantage.
In his post-game presser, Kapler had little choice but to be matter-of-fact after this kind of defeat: “We’re gonna need to perform really well against teams like the Atlanta Braves. They’re a deep lineup. We’ve obviously played them well overall on the year, but today’s effort wasn’t good enough.
“We turn the page and move on to Washington very quickly. We don’t dwell on this one, we get right on to the next one.” ~ Gabe Kapler
The Phillies have no choice but to forget about this one. They played the red-hot Braves extremely tough over the first two games of the series, losing Friday night on a walkoff and then winning last night with their own 9th inning rally. They now move on to Washington for a four-game set with the Nationals beginning on Monday night in our nation’s capital.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

PHILLIES – Vince Velasquez: 2.1 IP, 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts. Threw 38 pitches, 26 for strikes.
BRAVES – Mike Foltynewicz: 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts. Threw 100 pitches, 62 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: RONALD ACUNA JR

Hard to top a four-hit, four-run game in which you bash a home run. Acuna has been the Braves catalyst for the last 6-7 weeks, and he was that once again today.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME


Scott Kingery returns, Nick Williams shipped out to Triple-A

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Nick Williams will get regular playing time at Triple-A

Prior to their Sunday series finale with the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park, the Philadelphia Phillies made an interesting roster move.

Scott Kingery, the club’s best bench player over the first few weeks of the season and their second baseman of the future, returns to the team this afternoon. Kingery has been out since straining his right hamstring back on April 19 against these same Rockies out at Coors Field.
“I am 100 percent,” Kingery said per Marc Narducci of Philly.com after last night’s rehab game in Reading. “I was looking to test (the hamstring) in every area of the game.”
Kingery hit just .143 over 15 plate appearances split between Low-A Lakewood and Double-A Reading. But more importantly he played the field at multiple positions and ran the bases with no issues.
In a corresponding move the club shipped outfielder Nick Williams out to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. This should prove to be a good move for both Williams as a player and the organization as a whole. Just 25-years-old, Williams needs to play everyday in order to be ready to help the Phillies as either a player should injuries strike or as trade bait.

So far this season, Williams has received just 61 plate appearances over the first two months. He is slashing just .180/.231/.262 with three extra-base hits. With veteran Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper manning the outfield corners on an everyday basis, Williams has made just 10 starts over the team’s first 45 games.
I think the important thing for him right now is to get a lot of reps,” Phillies assistant general manager Ned Rice said about Williams per Martin Frank at DelawareOnline.
He’s been in a tough spot all year, where we signed McCutchen, signed Harper. So a lot of the playing time we expected to give to him went away. We still have a lot of confidence in his talent. It’s just hard to get out of a slump when you’re getting one at-bat a night.
The Phillies have no pure outfielders now sitting on their bench at the big-league level. Kingery, Phil Gosselin, and Sean Rodriguez would be used in emergencies, as in-game substitutions and back-ups, or as spot starters.

Local product Phil Gosselin proving invaluable off Phillies bench

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Phil Gosselin grew up as a Phillies fan, now plays for the team

Though the Philadelphia Phillies hold a three-game lead (four in the loss column) in the National League East Division standings, there have been weak links in the squad keeping the club from extending their lead even wider.

One of those areas has been a less-than-imposing group of bench players who have collectively produced a mixed bag of results when called upon. Six players have received the bulk of the work in that reserve role, with a few of them seeing starting opportunities when injuries have struck.
The six players making up the Phillies bench for the majority of the season have been backup catcher Andrew Knapp, outfielders Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr (the latter recently DFA’d), and utility players Scott Kingery (currently injured), Sean Rodriguez, and Phil Gosselin.
Prior to suffering his injury the 25-year-old Kingery was on fire and pushing for increased playing time. However, he has been on the Injured List since April 20. The Phillies are hoping that he can begin a minor league rehab stint on Monday and return to the team in short order.
Also producing well has been the veteran Rodriguez, who was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley when starting shortstop Jean Segura was placed on the IL in late April.
Altherr was slashing just .180/.241/.280 prior to his release. Williams is slashing just .180/.241/.280 over 54 plate appearances across 32 games, just nine of those as a starter. Knapp is slashing .172/.333/.241 over 19 games, five of those as the starter behind the plate to give J.T. Realmuto a rest.
A feel-good story off the bench for the Phillies has been the 30-year-old veteran Gosselin, now in his seventh big-league season. The Phillies are Gosselin’s seventh team over the course of his career in Major League Baseball. He previously has seen action with the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, and Cincinnati Reds.
Part of what makes Gosselin’s story attractive to Phillies fans is that he is a local product. He was born Bryn Mawr, grew up in West Chester, and is a graduate of Malvern Prep High School for whom he played shortstop.
Gosselin went to the University of Virginia and enjoyed a highly successful collegiate career, setting the Cavaliers school record with 100 hits in the 2009 season. That helped earn him first-team All-ACC and third-team All-American honors. He was then selected by the Braves in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
He reached the big-leagues with Atlanta in 2013, and since then Gosselin has been used as either a bench player or a Triple-A reserve. His best season came during a 2015 campaign split between Atlanta and Arizona. He appeared in 44 games between the two stops and slashed .311/.373/.500 with career highs of three home runs and 15 RBIs that year.
The most action that he has seen came in the 2016 season with the Diamondbacks. That year, Gosselin received 240 plate appearances over 122 games, the vast majority as a pinch-hitter. He produced a career-high 15 extra-base hits as a valuable member of manager Chip Hale‘s bench group.
Gosselin signed with the Phillies back on December 21. At spring training in Florida he made the most of his opportunities, slashing .405/.444/714 with eight extra-base hits over 19 games and 42 at-bats.
Assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to begin the season, Gosselin kept hitting with a .419/.538/.516 slash line over his first 10 games. That performance and some Phillies injury issues led to a mid-April promotion, and his production with the big club has kept him here since that time.
It’s exciting,” Gosselin said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia following his promotion. “I think all of us in here, guys that don’t play every day, want to play every day. We all want to get the chance, no matter if it’s catcher, right field. I’ll put in some work with (infield coach) Bobby Dickerson, keep working at it, and look to make all the routine plays out there so the pitchers have confidence in me.
Gosselin is hitting .300 over 30 plate appearances in 15 games. He started five games at shortstop when Segura was hurt, and has also appeared twice in left field, including once as a starter when Andrew McCutchen was playing in center.
Perhaps most importantly, Gosselin has been the lone player to produce as a pinch-hitter this season. He is batting .500 (4-8) in that role with a pair of RBIs.
On April 24 at Citi Field his 8th inning pinch-single off Robert Gsellman gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead. He would later score during a four-run outburst that broke open a 1-0 game to a 6-0 win.
At Citizens Bank Park on May 1, Gosselin was sent up to pinch-hit by manager Gabe Kapler with the Phillies leading the Detroit Tigers by 6-3. With two outs and two men on and facing Tigers righty reliever Zac Reininger, Gosselin delivered a double to score Cesar Hernandez.
Gosselin has played every position on the infield as well as numerous innings in left field during his career in Major League Baseball. That versatility and the experience gained over 609 big-league plate appearances could prove invaluable to these 2019 Phillies.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phil Gosselin has proven he belongs by producing off the Phillies bench

Phillies will try to snap out of a recent funk on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park

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Phillies look to get on track vs Marlins on Friday night

The Phillies (13-12) are scheduled to host the division-rival Miami Marlins (8-17) on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. There is a high probability of rain in the forecast for around game time, so there could be at least a delay in the start of tonight’s game.

This is scheduled to be the second of a four-game long weekend series between the two teams. The Marlins took the opener last night on a two-run homer from second baseman Starlin Castro in the top of the 10th inning off Phillies reliever Hector Neris.
Marlins pitcher Caleb Smith tossed a gem for the second straight start against the Phillies. He previously one-hit them over six innings back on April 13. This time, Smith allowed a run on three hits while striking out eight and walking one in another six-inning outing.
The Phillies won two of three earlier this month against the Marlins, and will be looking to snap out of a funk that has seen them drop six of their last eight games. The Phils currently trail the New York Mets by a half-game in the National League East Division standings.

FRIDAY STARTING LINEUPS AND PREVIEW

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. J.T. Realmuto C
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. Nick Williams LF
  6. Maikel Franco 3B
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Sean Rodriguez SS
  9. Jerad Eickhoff P

PHILLIES HOT & COLD

Cesar Hernandez had a pair of hits on Thursday night to remain hot. The much-maligned second baseman is now slashing .344/.403/.508 going back over his last 15 games and 67 plate appearances with seven runs scored and six extra-base hits.
Sean Rodriguez smacked his first home run of the season last night. He was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday and became the fourth player to start a game at shortstop for the Phillies this season. Though starting shortstop Jean Segura is due back tomorrow it may not be Rodriguez whose spot is in jeopardy since he can play every position on the diamond except perhaps behind the plate.
Lefty reliever Adam Morgan retired the lone batter he faced in last night’s game and remains unscored upon this season. Morgan has allowed just four hits over 10.1 IP across 13 appearances with a fine 12/1 K:BB ratio.
Since the start of 2017, righty reliever Pat Neshek has a 1.96 ERA, the lowest mark among all major league pitchers with at least 75.0 innings pitched.
Per Statcast data, the average fastball velocity of 97.1 mph being recorded by reliever Seranthony Dominguez is 14th among the 490 pitchers to pitch this season. He now has eight straight scoreless appearances after allowing five runs in his first 2.1 IP this season.
Right fielder Bryce Harper went 0-3 with a walk on Thursday. He is now slashing just .196/.305/.333 over his last 13 games and 59 plate appearances. The slump was the subject of my piece published earlier today. On the good side he is batting .333 with a double, two home runs and 10 RBI with runners in scoring position in 2019.

MARLINS LINEUP

  1. Curtis Granderson LF
  2. Martin Prado 1B
  3. Brian Anderson RF
  4. Starlin Castro 2B
  5. Jorge Alfaro C
  6. Miguel Rojas SS
  7. Jon Berti 3B
  8. Lewis Brinson CF
  9. Jose Urena P

MARLINS HOT & COLD

The game-winning two-run homer in the 10th inning last night was the third of the year for Castro, who is now tied for the Marlins team lead with eight RBIs.
Despite producing a three-hit game, Neil Walker is out of manager Don Mattingly‘s starting lineup on Friday. Walker is hitting .500 with three doubles and three walks over his last four games.
Former Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro continues to lead Miami with four home runs on the season. With two hits last night, Alfaro now has multi-hit efforts in all three games that he has played against his former team this season. He is 6-12 (.500) with a run scored in those three contests.
Reliever Tayron Guerrero was dominating last night, earning the Win while firing multiple pitches over 100 mph in a lockdown 9th inning. Guerrero now sports a 0.82 ERA and 1.091 WHIP with 13 strikeouts over 11 innings in which he has allowed just five hits.
Veteran closer Sergio Romo recorded his third Save of the week, his fourth of the season. He has successfully closed out his last three appearances without surrendering a run or hit over three innings.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jerad Eickhoff: 0-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 10 hits allowed over 10 IP across two games (1 start) with a 14/4 K:BB ratio
  • Eickhoff is making just his second start of the season. He has six career starts vs the Marlins with a 2-3 record, 37 hits allowed over 36 innings, and a 35/8 K:BB.
  • Per MLBAM Statcast data, 10 of Eickhoff’s 14 strikeouts this season have come on the curveball. Since 2015 (the start of his career and Statcast Era), batters are hitting .163 in at-bats ending in his curveball, 11th-lowest among the 71 pitchers with at least 200 AB ending in a curve in that span.
  • Jose Urena: 1-3, 5.74 ERA, 1.688 WHIP, 39 hits allowed over 26.2 IP across five starts with a 21/6 K:BB ratio
  • Urena was outstanding in an April 14 start vs the Phillies down in Miami. He allowed just seven hits and one run over seven innings with seven strikeouts, but was let down by his offense in taking a 3-1 loss.
  • Urena has 15 career appearances against the Phillies, 11 of those as a starter, with a 3-4 record and a 55/16 K:BB over 63.2 innings.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Through 13 games at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have drawn a total of 488,292 fans, an average of 37,560 per game which ranks fourth in MLB behind the Dodgers, Cardinals and Yankees.
  • Since pitch data began being tracked in 1988, J.T. Realmuto’s 33 pitches seen last night rank in a tie for first among all Phillies with four plate appearances in a game. Ryan Howard saw 33 pitches in four PA on 7/19/07 at SD as did Mickey Morandini back on 9/24/96 vs MON. Since data began being tracked, Realmuto became just the 25th player in the majors to have seen 33 or more pitches in four trips to the plate.
  • Rhys Hoskins has 10 homers and 30 RBI against the Marlins over his career, the most damage he has done against any opponent. Hoskins leads the NL with 59 homers since making his MLB debut on 8/10/17. He is the only hitter in the majors with more than 55 HR and 140 walks since that debut. Since that debut he ranks in a tie for 2nd in MLB (tied for first in the NL) with 25 go-ahead home runs. In his last 45 games at Citizens Bank Park since 7/22/18 he is batting .275 with 14 doubles, 17 homers, 37 RBI, 29 walks and a 1.077 OPS.
  • Andrew McCutchen is one RBI and two walks shy of 800 in each category for his career. Maikel Franco is two doubles shy of 100 on his career.

FRIDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION