Tag Archives: Wilson Ramos

Saturday night’s alright for fighting between NL East rivals

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Phillies try to overcome Thor in Saturday night fight in Queens

The Philadelphia Phillies (46-42) exploded for five runs in the top of the 9th inning to pull away from the host New York Mets (39-49) for a 7-2 victory on Friday night.

With the win, the Phillies once again find themselves in control of an NL Wildcard playoff slot.
The victory was a sixth straight for the Phillies over their division rivals. By winning just two of the remaining eight games between the two teams this season, the Phillies will capture the season series between them for the first time since 2011.
It is possible that those two wins could come with the final two games in this weekend series at Citi Field. The first of those comes with Saturday night’s contest pitting veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta against the Mets golden-maned ‘Thor’, right-hander Noah Syndergaard.
The host Mets have dropped nine of their last 11 contests and have not enjoyed a winning record since sitting at 16-15 all the way back on May 2. Despite their fourth place standing, the Mets generally are a tough opponent. They have lost 22 games by just one or two runs, and have been the victims of a half-dozen walkoff defeats.

SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

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

METS

  1. Jeff McNeil RF
  2. Pete Alonso 1B
  3. Robinson Cano 2B
  4. Michael Conforto RF
  5. Todd Frazier 3B
  6. Dominic Smith LF
  7. Amed Rosario SS
  8. Tomas Nido C
  9. Noah Syndergaard P
Mets skipper Mickey Callaway continues to insist on hitting 36-year-old Cano in the pivotal 3-spot of his batting order as if it were a decade ago. Cano is slashing a mere .244/.292/.368 with just four homers, 21 extra-base hits, and 18 RBIs this year. However, the veteran is hitting over 100 points higher at home than on the road, batting .329 in 76 at-bats at Citi Field and .195 in 154 at-bats on the road.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Jake Arrieta (33/RH): 8-6, 4.43 ERA, 1.418 WHIP, 5.14 FIP, 107 hits (18 homers) over 103.2 IP across 17 starts with an 81/40 K:BB ratio. He is 4-4 over 18 career starts vs the Mets with a 2.85 ERA and 1.113 WHIP. In five starts at Citi Field, Arrieta has just a .226 batting average against while facing 131 Mets batters. This year, Arrieta has already made three starts vs the Mets: 2-1, 22 hits over 20 IP with a 12/5 K:BB ratio. Won at Citi Field back on April 22.
METS – Noah Syndergaard (26/RH): 5-4, 4.56 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 3.73 FIP, 98 hits (12 homers) over 100.2 IP across 16 starts with a 98/27 K:BB ratio. ‘Thor’ is 5-3 over 11 career starts vs the Phillies with a 3.71 ERA and 1.368 WHIP. Over 55 home starts during his career, Syndergaard has a nice 2.93 ERA, more than a half-run better than his 3.53 career ERA over 48 road starts. He started on April 16 against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, allowing nine hits and five earned over just 5 inning in a game the Mets would win 7-6 in 11 innings.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Todd Frazier has two career homers off Arrieta. Rhys Hoskins has two off Syndergaard.
  • Phillies have five hitters with a Statcast AEV (average exit velocity) over the 90mph mark: Harper (93.5), Realmuto (91.1), Franco (90.8), Kingery (90.3) and Hoskins (90.1); Mets have Alonso (91.3), Rosario (90.5) and McNeil (90.0)
  • After homering vs the Phillies for the first time in Friday night’s opener, Alonso has set the Mets’ rookie home run record (29) and owns the NL rookie record for most pre-All-Star home runs.
  • Going into the Friday night opener, the Mets two primary catchers, Nido and Wilson Ramos, had thrown out just 10 of 82 attempted stolen base attempts, or roughly 12%. By contract, Phillies all-star Realmuto is a true weapon behind the plate. The Phillies went 3-3 in steals on Friday, while the Mets were 0-2 in their attempts.
While we certainly are no fan of the New York Mets, I think we can all get behind a cause such as fighting hunger. Check the team Twitter feed here for a way you can donate.

We’re sharing the field with @Citibank & @nokidhungry to help with kids in NYC. Stop by the Share Summer activation at @CitiField before the game today or text CITI to 877-877 to make a donation that will make sure more kids get the food they need.

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Slumping Phillies visit struggling Mets prior to MLB All-Star break

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Phillies visit Citi Field just prior to the 2019 All-Star break

It was just 10 days ago that the Philadelphia Phillies (45-42) season was on life support. Seven straight defeats and losses in nine of their previous 10 games had dropped the club to just a game over the .500 mark.

Turned out the temporary cure at that time was arriving at Citizens Bank Park in the form of the New York Mets, a club perhaps struggling even more than the Phillies.
Now here we are, a week and a half later, and the Phillies season appears to once again have relapsed. Since that visit to South Philly by the Mets, the Phillies have dropped two of three games to both the last-place Miami Marlins and first-place Atlanta Braves.
The Phillies are not only looking up at the Braves in the NL East standings, they are also now trailing behind the Washington Nationals by a game in the loss column. This marks the first time all season that the Phillies have fallen below second place in the division. In fact, they have now also slipped out of even an NL Wildcard playoff slot.
Could the Mets once again prove to be just what the Phillies need to feel a bit rejuvenated heading into next week’s four-day MLB All-Star Game break? As this weekend before that Mid-Summer Classic break begins, the Phillies will visit Flushing, Queens for three games at Citi Field.
The Mets slipped to fourth place in the division back on June 19 and have been stuck there ever since. They are coming off a split in their two-game Subway Series match-up with the New York Yankees and had the day off on Independence Day. Losers of eight of their last 10, the Mets have not won three games in a row since mid-May.

NEW YORK METS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Michael Conforto: 26-year-old right fielder slashing .247/.361/.477 with 16 homers, 32 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 47 runs.
Jeff McNeil: 27-year-old left fielder slashing .349/.411/.516 with 7 homers, 31 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 38 runs.
Amed Rosario: 23-year-old shortstop with 9 homers, 42 RBIs, 36 runs.
Todd Frazier: 33-year-old third baseman with 11 homers, 34 RBIs, 27 runs over just 236 plate appearances.
Wilson Ramos: 31-year-old catcher slashing .275/.348/.414 with 9 homers and 41 RBIs played with Phillies in late 2018.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Pete Alonso: 24-year-old rookie first baseman slashing .278/.372/.623 with 28 homers, 50 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs, 55 runs. The Tampa, Florida native was the Mets second round choice at 64th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Florida.
Phillies pitchers have proven to be among the few who have been able to keep Alonso under control. The 6’3″, 240 pounder has slashed just .229/.357/.286 with no home runs and two doubles in the 10 games (9 starts) in which he has played between the two teams this season.
In a recent poll of five MLB scouts, three chose Alonso as having a better long-term career outlook than Yankees young slugging phenom Aaron Judge. “Right now, I’d take Alonso,” one scout told Matthew Cerone of SNY. “Like most of the league’s power hitters, they both use the popular ferris wheel swing, inside out style, but Alonso tends to square up better and often faster.
The Phillies offense has to face three tough pitchers this weekend. Continuing to find a way to keep Alonso under control will prove a major challenge, but one that will be vital to picking up more wins against the struggling Mets.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Jacob deGrom (31/RH): 4-7, 3.32 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 92 hits over 103 IP across 17 starts with a 128/22 K:BB. After winning the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, deGrom struggled a bit in the early going. But over his last eight starts, deGrom has allowed as many as three earned runs just once, and has a 2.65 ERA and .235 batting average against. This will be his first start of the year against the Phillies.
SATURDAY – Noah Syndergaard (26/RH): 5-4, 4.56 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 98 hits over 100.2 IP across 16 starts with a 98/27 K:BB. After spending two weeks on the IL in late June, “Thor” returned to the Mets rotation last week. Just seven of his 16 outings have resulted in Quality Start efforts. The Phillies got to him for five earned runs on nine hits back on April 15 at Citizens Bank Park.
SUNDAY – Zack Wheeler (29/RH): 6-5, 4.42 ERA, 1.246 WHIP, 110 hits over 114 IP across 18 starts with a 123/32 K:BB. Wheeler, set to become a free agent after this season, has been the subject of trade speculation for over a year now. If the Mets don’t spurt back into the race in the next couple of weeks, he is likely to be dealt. He is making the price go up of late, as over his last three starts the righty has allowed just 12 hits and four earned runs over 19.1 IP with a 20/4 K:BB. Wheeler has already made three starts against the Phillies on April 17 and 23, and June 27. The Mets lost the first and last, but on April 23 he tossed a gem, striking out 11 over seven shutout frames.

THE SKIPPER

Mickey Callaway: There was intense speculation that Callaway could be canned after the Phillies swept his club at the start of last week. But the second-year skipper has survived to this point.
The 44-year-old native of Memphis, Tennessee has a 116-133 record at the helm of the Mets. He was recently involved in a high-profile altercation with a member of the New York media and has come under much negative scrutiny in the press over the last two weeks.
Just a week ago, Callaway even seemed to throw in the towel on his team’s 2019 chances. His club sat 6.5 out of a Wildcard berth with seven teams standing between them and the second NL Wildcard slot at the time. “We’re in a tough spot. It’s gonna take a miracle,” The Mets manager told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. ‘I’ve seen miracles before … We’re down in the win-loss column. That’s the bottom line.

THE BALLPARK

Citi Field is located in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park area of New York City in the borough of Queens. It was built adjacent to the former Shea Stadium, which had been home to the Mets since 1964, and opened to replace that old ballpark for the 2009 season.
There is a normal seating capacity of 41,922 and can fit up to 45,000 when taking standing room into account. The dimensions are 335 and 330 down the left and right field lines. Left-center is a close 358 feet, it is then 385 to deep-left center and 408 to straightaway center field. The deep-right center field fence is 398 feet away, and right-center is at 375 feet.
As homage to a tradition from Shea Stadium, the Home Run Apple, a giant apple which has a Mets logo on the front that lights up, rises from its housing in the center field batter’s eye whenever a Mets player hits a home run.
There is a Mets Hall of Fame & Museum located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at the front entrance to the ball park on the first base side. The museum includes plaques honoring inductees to the team’s Hall of Fame, replicas of the two World Series trophies won by the organziation, and other memorabilia.
An extreme pitcher’s park in it’s first few years, changes to the fences for the 2012 season were made to allow the park to play much more fairly. However, Citi Field still ranks just 22nd in all of Major League Baseball in the ESPN Park Factor rankings for runs scored.

Mets are a mess under manager Mickey Callaway as they open series with Phillies

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Mets skipper Mickey Callaway is under serious fire in New York

The Philadelphia Phillies (39-38) and New York Mets (37-41) both entered the 2019 season with high hopes. Each team was considered by most evaluators to be a genuine contender for a division crown and a postseason berth. Neither has seen their season play out as they would have hoped to this point.

The Phillies situation is well known by now to the frustrated and nearly mutinous fan base. The Phillies were 33-22 and riding high in first place in the division on May 29. They have gone just 6-16 since that time, and just three and a half weeks later are on a seven-game losing streak and have fallen out of even an NL Wildcard spot.

For the Mets, injuries and inconsistencies, their usual two bugaboos, have ganged up to derail what was their own promising start to the 2019 season. On April 24, nearly a month into the season, they were in first place following a 9-0 white-washing of the Phillies. But they went 13-15 in May, and are now 9-12 in June to this point.
The Mets have now lost star pitcher Noah Syndergaard to the IL for at least a couple of weeks. With Jacob deGrom not scheduled to pitch in this series, the Phillies hitters should feel fortunate to be missing their two best starters. However, as inconsistent as they have been performing of late, anyone appears capable of shutting down the Phillies bats.
Following this series, the Phillies will head out on the road for nine games within the division, three each in Miami, Atlanta, and New York. To say they are desperate at this point would be an understatement. The Phillies really need to win this series with the Mets in order to head out on the road feeling better about themselves and their chances of turning things around.

Our division rivals from New York are in town for four games at Citizens Bank Park.

Here’s the Ballpark Buzz: https://atmlb.com/2ZMDoqe 

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NEW YORK METS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Pete Alonso: 24-year-old rookie first baseman is slashing .276/.366/.642 with 27 homers, 46 extra-base hits and 61 RBIs
Jeff McNeil: 27-year old Phillies killer is settling in as the starting LF and is slashing .342/.407/.494 with 25 extra-base hits
Michael Conforto: 26-year-old right fielder slashing .256/.374/.496 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs
Amed Rosario: 23-year-old shortstop has 26 extra-base hits and leads the club with nine steals
Wilson Ramos: 31-year-old catcher slashing .271/.347/.413 is second on the club with 40 RBIs, third with 34 runs scored
Dominic Smith: 24-year-old is slashing .320/.421/.515 in just 114 plate appearances backing up first base and left field
J.D. Davis: 26-year-old utility player hitting .272 with eight homers, 17 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in just 202 plate apps

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Robinson Cano: The 36-year-old former superstar has not been anything like what the Mets hoped when they swung a big off-season trade with the Seattle Mariners, taking on Cano’s massive contract that still owes him $96 million more over the next four years.
An 8x American League All-Star who has two Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers in his trophy case mostly from his play with the Yankees in the prior decade, Cano won a World Series with the Bronx Bombers, helping defeat the Phillies back in the 2009 Fall Classic.
Cano is slashing just .228/.276/371 in 210 plate appearances. He has produced just four homers and 20 extra-base hits, scoring 18 runs and driving in 16, for the $24 million that the Mets are paying him this year. He seems to wake up against the Phillies, however. Cano has gone 7-15 (.467) in six games between the two NL East rivals this year.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

MONDAY – Steven Matz: 5-5, 4.28 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 75 hits over 73.2 IP across 14 starts with a 74/26 K:BB
TUESDAY – Walker Lockett: 25-year-old RH making just his second start this season, fourth of his career. Was traded twice this past off-season, from San Diego to Cleveland, and then the Tribe to the Mets in January.
WEDNESDAY – Jason Vargas: 3-3, 3.75 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 54 hits over 60 IP across 13 appearances (12 starts) with a 47/26 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

To say that Mickey Callaway is under fire might be an understatement. Callaway is now in his second season at the helm with the Mets and has a cumulative 114-126 record to date.
In his playing days, Callaway was a right-handed pitcher who appeared in parts of five big-league seasons, making 20 starts and 20 relief appearances spread across three organizations between 199-2004.
Callaway recently had what can only be described as a full meltdown during an incident involving a New York reporter. Per Brian Fonseca of NJ.com, Callaway allegedly cursed out the reporter, Tim Healey of Newsday, and had him removed from the locker room following his postgame press conference on Sunday after Healey questioned his use of the bullpen:
“Callaway, wearing a black shirt, emerged from his office and walked past a reporter, who told him “see you tomorrow, Mickey.”
Callaway, still on edge from the loss, turned around and yell “Don’t be a smarta–, motherf—–.”
He later returned and engaged the reporter about the comment, which was not made maliciously, and Callaway raised his voice while he hurled expletives, telling a team public relations official to remove the reporter.
“Get the f—– out of here,” Callaway said. “We don’t need that s— here.”

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Monday will be a partly cloudy, warm and humid evening with temps mid-80’s and light winds and only a low chance or rain. Tuesday and Wednesday are more of the same, except a bit more sun and a little less humid. All-in-all it will be good typical summer-time baseball weather. Report from The Weather Channel forecast.

J.T. Realmuto and Scott Kingery homer, drive in five runs as Phillies rout Mets

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J.T. Realmuto enjoyed a big night in blowout of Mets

The Philadelphia Phillies (10 – 6) needed to make an early-season statement in a bad way. They wasted no time doing just that, erupting for 10 runs in the 1st inning and trouncing the division-rival New York Mets (10 – 7) by a score of 14-3 on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

New York fans had rolled down I-95, encouraged by their club’s exta-innings victory in the opening game of this series. They hoped to chant “Let’s Go, Mets!” and frustrate Phillies fans once again. Instead they were left to sit on their hands before leaving early.
Jerad Eickhoff, who missed most of last season while battling injuries, came out of the bullpen to provide four shutout innings and steal the thunder provided by the big bats.
Let’s go over the highlights of that huge first inning for the Phillies. Andrew McCutchen started it off, reaching on an error by Mets shortstop Amed RosarioJean Segura then slashed a double to left field to put two runners in scoring position. Bryce Harper was then drilled on the hand to load the bases. Harper shook off the hand and stayed in the game, appearing fine as the night moved along.
J.T. Realmuto then ripped a two-run double to put the Phillies on top by 2-0. Scott Kingery, getting the start at third base, followed by blasting a three-run homer to left. Kingery’s first long ball of the year pushed the Phillies out to a 5-0 lead.
After Cesar Hernandez walked, Aaron Altherr rolled a ball to Rosario, who let it roll through his legs for his second error of the inning. With two runners on base, Maikel Franco sent a blast out to deep center field for his sixth home run of the season and the Phillies led by 8-0.
That was enough of starting pitcher Steven Matz for Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who sent to his bullpen for Drew Gagnon. The 28-year-old righty was just called up today from Triple-A Syracuse. Gagnon struck out Pivetta for the first out, but then McCutchen doubled. Segura then grounded out with McCutchen moving up to third.
Bryce Harper walked to put runners at the corners. Realmuto then sent one to left, where an error by Jeff McNeil sealed that this would not be the visitor’s night. That big miscue by the man who was the hero of last night’s contest for the Mets allowed two runs to score making it a 10-0 Phillies lead.
The Mets got on the board with single runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings against Nick Pivetta, both on solo home runs. The first came off the bat of former Phillies catcher Wilson Ramos, his first of the year. The second came from Michael Conforto, his fourth of the season and second in two nights.
Pivetta escaped some trouble in both the 1st and 4th innings and had to be thankful for the offensive support on a night when the Phillies right-hander once again did not look strong. That offensive support continued in the home 4th when Realmuto crushed his second home run of the season into the center field stands. It was the catcher’s third hit of the night and gave him five RBI.
The Mets loaded the bases again off Pivetta in the top of the 5th inning. Once again, Pivetta escaped major damage, allowing just a sacrifice fly to Ramos to cut the Phillies lead down to 11-3. That 5th inning was also the final frame for the Phillies starter, who had reached the 100-pitch mark.
When manager Gabe Kapler made the call to the bullpen for the top of the 6th inning it was to bring in Eickhoff. It would be the first appearance of the season for the 28-year-old, and it was possibly going to serve as an audition for a possible change to the starting rotation.
In the home 6th, the offense continued to produce. Harper lined a single to right field to start it off. Realmuto then chopped one to third that J.D. Davis tried to short-hop but couldn’t come up with, and his error put two men on base. They weren’t on base for long as Kingery doubled them both home to up the Phillies lead to 13-3. Kingery then scored himself when Hernandez also doubled.
When Kapler let Eickhoff bat for himself to lead off the home 7th it was pretty clear that he was auditioning for a larger role. It would prove a magnificent outing as the righty went four shutout innings, allowing three hits while walking no one and striking out six. He would end the game in dominant fashion, striking out the side in a 1-2-3 final frame.
The 14 runs scored was a season high for the Phillies, while their 13 hits was one shy of that season-high figure. With the win in front of a sellout crowd of 43,933 the Phillies moved past the Mets and back into first place in the National League East Division.

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If we had six seconds or less to show you how tonight’s game has gone for the Mets.

We’d show you this.

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SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Neither starting pitcher was very good tonight. The difference was that Matz was an unmitigated disaster while Pivetta was simply not very good.
Matz did not record an out and was gone after just 31 pitches in the 1st inning. Before leaving he surrendered four hits including a pair of home runs while walking a batter. It all resulted in eight Phillies runs, six of them earned.
Pivetta allowed three earned on seven hits including two homers. He struck out two and walked three, throwing just 59 strikes among his 100 pitches.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: JERAD EICKHOFF

On a night when the offense put up 14 runs, it was a relief pitcher who stole the show for the Phillies. Eickhoff’s performance served to keep the Mets from making any kind of move in this game. He also provided hope that, after missing most of last season, he may be ready to step in and provide a needed quality arm to help settle down what has been a somewhat shaky Phillies starting rotation.
Realmuto had three hits including a homer, three runs scored, and five RBI. Kingery had three hits including a homer and also drove in five runs while scoring twice. If we gave out 2nd and 3rd stars, they would be the recipients. But we don’t do that, so forget that I said anything.

NEXT GAME

  • Wednesday April 17 at 1:05 pm vs. New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia (also MLB Network outside of the Philly viewing area)
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

2018 was a year of ups and downs for the Philadelphia Phillies

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Aaron Nola broke out to become the Phillies 2018 top story

It’s New Year’s Eve, and as the sand runs out in the hourglass of the year 2018, this would be a good time to take a look back on the year as it played out for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies entered the calendar year of 2018 with the echoes of their successes in the previous decade, successes which had spilled over to the first years of the present decade, growing fainter and fainter.
After finishing in last place in the National League East Division standings in three of the previous four seasons, the Phillies began putting a roster together they hoped would begin reversing that trend early in January.
On January 3, the Phillies invited 10 non-roster players and newly signed free agents to spring training. Among those players were Pedro Florimon, who would appear in 50 games during the regular season, and Mitch Walding, who would appear in the first 13 games of his big-league career.
Before the month of January was out, eight more non-roster players or new free agent additions would also receive invitations to join the Phillies in Clearwater. Among those were Scott Kingery, who would end up as the Phillies starting shortstop for much of the coming season.
Once spring training got underway, changes to the roster continued to shed the players who had contributed as regulars during the recent losing history when Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp were each designated for assignment during March.
The Phillies made a big, late free agent addition on March 12 when the club came to agreement on three-year contract with Jake Arrieta. The 32-year-old right-hander had won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and would bring a much-needed veteran presence to the team’s rotation.

2018 SEASON OPENS WITH HOPE

As the season opened, the club had little hope. Most fans would have considered a .500 finish during a season in which young players made strides towards the future as a positive step forward. But the club played well early, bolting out to a 14-7 mark over the first three weeks.
A hot stretch in early May pushed the Phillies record up to 29-20 and into first place in the division on May 26. However, the club began to slump at that point, losing seven of eight games to open the month of June. They continued to fight, and at the MLB All-Star Game break the Phillies were 53-42 and back in first place by a half-game.
That All-Star break was a fun one for Phillies fans, with starting pitcher Aaron Nola rewarded for a phenomenal first half by being named to the National League squad for the first time.
Nola would prove the best individual story of the season, going 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA and 0.975 WHIP. He allowed just 149 hits over 212.1 innings with 224 strikeouts. For that performance, Nola would finish third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.
Outfielder Rhys Hoskins was named as one of the sluggers to perform in the annual Home Run Derby. Hoskins was an underdog and matched up against Milwaukee Brewers powerful first baseman Jesus Aguilar in the opening round. The Phillies young star found his groove and upset Aguilar by 17-12.
Hoskins turned it up a notch in a second-round matchup with Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, blasting 20 homers. But Muncy powered up himself, rallying for a 21-20 victory.
The Phillies came out of the break playing uneven baseball, going 6-6 over the last two weeks of July. However, a five-game winning streak as the calendar turned to August left them a season-best 15 games over the .500 mark. Their 63-48 record had the Phillies 1.5 games up in the standings and had fans talking about a possible unexpected return to the postseason.
There were warning signs, if you were willing to look beyond the wins and focus on overall performance. Poor team defense. Players being used out of position. A lineup that was failing to produce on a consistent basis. Somehow the Phillies were winning despite poor statistics.
Many felt that the winning couldn’t possibly be sustained without an infusion of impact talent at the trade deadline. The Phillies were linked to a number of big names, the biggest being Baltimore Orioles superstar Manny Machado. It was rumored that Machado wanted to play shortstop, a position of need for the Phillies.
Such talent would not arrive, as Phillies management seemed to continually settle for second-tier additions such as shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, first baseman Justin Bour, reliever Aaron Loup, and catcher Wilson Ramos. The latter was actually injured at the time of his acquisition. None of the additions would help.
The pitching that had kept the club on top began to fray at the edges. The Phillies began to slump as those poor statistics began to show up in the results.
From August 8 through the end of the regular season the Phillies would collapse to the tune of a 16-32 record. They made one more attempt to bring in an aging difference maker, but Jose Bautista became just one more poor addition to the mix. They would tumble down the standings to a third-place finish and a sixth consecutive losing season.

STUPID OFF-SEASON

The off-season began with hope. The Phillies had as much money to spend as any team, more than most. Their owner, John Middleton, even said that he was willing to be “a little bit stupid” in spending that money on free agents.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak pulled off a trade with the Seattle Mariners in early December, ridding the club of the contract and lineup albatross of Carlos Santana and bringing back a legitimate big-league shortstop in Jean Segura. Longtime top prospect J.P. Crawford was also sent to Seattle in that deal.
On December 12, the first of that “stupid money” began to be spent in free agency when former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen was signed to a three-year, $50 million contract.
However, the big targets that Phillies fans had been looking forward to for months, Machado and outfielder Bryce Harper, have not yet been lured to Philadelphia as the calendar prepares to turn to 2019. Of course, they haven’t signed elsewhere yet either, so hope remains that one or the other could choose to play their future home games at Citizens Bank Park.
That’s basically where we stand at present. It was a year of ups and downs for the Philadelphia Phillies. It was also a year in which the Philadelphia Eagles won the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history, and in which the Philadelphia 76ers emerged as one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA.
Competing for the disposable dollars of Philadelphia sports fans is getting harder. The Phillies have not yet done much to excite that fan base into believing they can become a legitimate contender in the near future, let alone for the 2019 season. There is still time for the team. What there is not is much time left in the year 2018.
As this piece publishes my clock is reading almost 9:00pm EST here in the City of Brotherly Love. Parties are underway. Thousands of Mummers are preparing to march in a huge parade tomorrow. None of us knows what the 2019 season will hold for the Phillies, but whatever that may be, I am sure that I speak for everyone here at Phillies Nation in wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!