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Phillies beaten by lowly White Sox in 15 inning series opener

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The Philadelphia Phillies (57-52) got a strong first start from newcomer Jason Vargas, but blew a two-out, two-strike lead, ultimately losing a 4-3 game to the Chicago White Sox (47-60) in 15 innings at Citizens Bank Park.

With the loss, the Phillies will drop one game back of the Cubs and Nationals, who each won, in the National League Wildcard race heading into Saturday action.

 

The visitors jumped on top first when Cuban-born first baseman Jose Abreu blasted his team-leading 23rd home run of the season deep into the seats in center field. The two-run shot off Vargas in the top of the 3rd inning put Chicago up by 2-0 early on.
The Phillies got one of those right back in the bottom of the frame when Roman Quinn rocketed his third home run of the year, his second in as many days, deep into the right field seats.
Roman Quinn’s solo shot got the Phillies on the board.

 

 

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The Phillies finally got the score knotted up with a 6th inning mini-rally. Jean Segura led off with a single to left and Rhys Hoskins drew a walk. That was the end of the night for Chisox starter Ivan Nova, and manager Rick Renteria called on Jace Fry out of his bullpen.

Bryce Harper then grounded what appeared to be a double play ball. The White Sox got Hoskins for the first out, but Harper was hustling all the way, forcing a bad throw from shortstop Tim Anderson. Harper was safe, Segura raced home, and the game was tied at 2-2.
In the bottom of the 7th, another mini-rally produced the go-ahead run for the home side. Quinn beat out a bunt back to new Chicago reliever Aaron Bummer for an infield single. Quinn then promptly stole second base. Cesar Hernandez then chopped one past Bummer for his own infield hit, with Quinn moving over the third base. Segura followed with a base hit to right, and Quinn raced to put the Phillies on top for the first time all night.
Vargas lasted 6.1 solid innings in his debut with the Phillies, who acquired him at the trade deadline from the division-rival New York Mets. The bullpen then did the job at first, with Mike Morin and Nick Pivetta getting them to the top of the 9th with the lead.
Juan Nicasio retired the lead batter in the 9th, but then yielded a double to Eloy Jimenez. He then struck out James McCann, and Kapler decided to go to Jose Alvarez. The lefty gave up a single to Ryan Goins that moved Jimenez to third. Then Alvarez got to two strikes on pinch-hitter Matt Skole. But Skole came through, lining a single to right with Jimenez scoring the tying run.
New bullpen addition Blake Parker shut down Chicago 1-2-3 in the 10th and 11th, striking out four batters. Zach Eflin then shut them down with 1-2-3 frames in the 12th and 13th, striking out two of his own. Meanwhile, Jose Ruiz kept pace by shutting the Phillies offense down in the 10th and 11th innings, striking out three of his own. Carson Fulmer then shut them down in the home 12th and 13th innings.
In the bottom of the 13th, Quinn singled with one out. He was erased when Eflin hit into a force out. Then with two outs, Segura drew a walk, moving the potential winning run to second base. Kapler opted to put the speedier Vince Velasquez in as a pinch-runner for Eflin, but that ended up a wasted move when Hoskins popped out to end the threat.
With all the juggling, it meant that Quinn was forced by Kapler to take the mound as a pitcher. The Phillies got away with it in the top of the 14th thanks to a tremendous throw from Velasquez (?) in left field, who nailed Abreu at the plate.
In the 15th, Quinn retired the first two batters, and then perhaps the inevitable. A base hit, walk, and RBI single from Abreu to score Leury Garcia gave Chicago a 4-3 lead. Josh Osich set the Phillies down in order in the bottom of the 15th, and this long, ugly ball game for the home team was brought to an unmerciful end.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Jason Vargas: 6.1 IP, 5 hits (1 HR), 2 earned, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts. 90 pitches, 56 for strikes.
White Sox – Ivan Nova: 5 IP, 5 hits (1 H), 1 earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. 78 pitches, 48 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: ROMAN QUINN

The White Sox won, and got a home run and the game-winning RBI from Abreu. But Quinn, hitting out of the #9 spot in manager Gabe Kapler‘s order, was in the middle of the Phillies limited offense all night long. He delivered three hits including a home run that put the Phillies on the board, stole a base and scored what looked to be their winning run for awhile, and then pitched two innings, nearly getting away with the mound appearance before finally cracking with two outs in the 15th.

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Phillies bats go cold during a 5-1 loss on a hot Saturday night in Pittsburgh

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Joe Musgrove gave the Pirates a strong starting effort

The Pittsburgh Pirates (46-51) pitching cooled off the Philadelphia Phillies (51-48) bats on a steamy, hot summer night at PNC Park to give the hosts a 5-1 victory.

With the win, the Bucs rewarded the sellout crowd who showed up to pay homage to their 1979 Pirates club in celebration of the 40th anniversary of that “We Are Family” team winning the World Series.
As part of that celebration, both teams wore throwback uniforms. The Pirates adorned in black, the Phillies wearing their popular powder blues from that era.
The sharp-looking uniforms wouldn’t help the visiting Phillies even a little bit. They managed to muster just three hits all night, and their only run was of the unearned variety.

Pittsburgh jumped out on top first, scoring three times in the bottom of the 3rd inning, and it was the Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove who got it going. He doubled, then rolled home with a head-first slide on a Bryan Reynolds base hit. Reynolds then scored on a double by Starling Marte, who then scored himself on a base hit off the bat of Josh Bell.
The Phillies finally pushed through with an unearned run off Musgrove in the top of the 5th inning before a short rain delay caused a stoppage. When play resumed, Musgrove stayed as hot as the weather, striking out Scott Kingery with a runner at third base and two outs.
In the home 6th, the Pirates traded a double play for a run to up their lead to 4-1. Then in the bottom of the 7th, newcomer Mike Morin took the mound after being acquired by the Phillies just this morning in a deal with the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations. Morin surrendered doubles to both Marte and Colin Moran, the latter driving in the run that provided the final 5-1 score.
After Musgrove had shut the Phillies down over the first six frames, he was followed to the mound by Michael FelizFrancisco Liriano and Felipe Vazquez. That trio each tossed one shutout inning, and combined to allow the Phillies just one hit while walking one and striking out two.
The two teams will go at it once again on what promises to be a third consecutive midsummer steam bath in Sunday afternoon’s series finale rubber match. Expected to make his first start on the mound for the Phillies is lefty newcomer Drew Smyly. The Pirates have yet to announce their starting pitcher.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

PHILLIES – Zach Eflin: 4 IP, 5 hits, 3 earned, 0 BB, 3 strikeouts. 57 pitches, 40 for strikes.
PIRATES – Joe Musgrove: 6 IP, 2 hits, 1 run (unearned), 2 walks, 8 strikeouts. 98 pitches, 64 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: JOE MUSGROVE

Not even a short rain delay in the middle of the game could derail Musgrove. The 26-year-old right-hander came out of that delay to end the only real threat against him, striking out Scott Kingery with a runner on third base and the Pirates holding just a 3-1 lead.
Musgrove retired eight straight at one point, and allowed just two hits, both to Phillies shortstop Jean Segura. Those came on singles in both the first and sixth innings. He raised his record to 7-8 on the season, lowering his ERA to the 4.08 mark.
That was on the mound. Musgrove also got the Pirates on the board first with his head-first slide in the bottom of the 3rd inning, which followed on the heels of the double that he swatted to the left field wall.

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Phillies take a flyer on lefty starting pitcher Drew Smyly

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Drew Smyly still has not returned to form after TJ surgery

The Philadelphia Phillies have reached a contract agreement with 30-year-old free agent starting pitcher Drew Smyly, according to numerous reliable sources.

Smyly is expected to step into the club’s starting rotation quickly. That could mean as soon as this weekend in Pittsburgh, though it is unknown exactly how ready he will be to go deep into an outing at this point.
The left-hander pitched in 13 games this season, nine of those as a starter, for the Texas Rangers. He was 1-5 with an 8.42 ERA, 8.05 FIP, and 1.909 WHIP. Smyly allowed 64 hits over 51.1 innings with a 52/34 K:BB ratio.
Those are some ugly numbers. Any casual fan who simply looks at such a “back of the baseball card” line and wonders why this signing is anything to get excited about would be absolutely correct in their reaction. Smyly has a lot to prove, and is certainly not to be considered “the answer” to the Phillies present rotation troubles.
However, what the team has to be hoping is that they will ultimately get more professional, big-league caliber performances from Smyly at the back-end of their rotation than have been delivered by Nick PivettaVince Velasquez and Zach Eflin. Also, with Jake Arrieta battling bone spurs in his pitching elbow, there is no telling how long the veteran will hold up.
Smyly has tasted success in Major League Baseball. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, he was the second round choice of the Detroit Tigers at 68th overall in the 2010 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas.
Smyly broke into the big-leagues with Detroit, appearing as both a starter and reliever in the 2012-14 seasons. He also made 10 appearances out of the bullpen with the Tigers in the 2012-13 postseason, including a pair of appearances in the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Smyly was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in a big three-team swap at the 2014 MLB trade deadline. The Tigers landed David Price from Tampa Bay in that deal in what would prove a failed attempt by Detroit to reach a fourth straight ALCS.
With the Rays, Smyly immediately stepped into the starting rotation and was outstanding. He went 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA, allowing just 25 hits over 47.2 innings across seven starts with a 44/11 K:BB ratio, establishing himself at age 25 as key piece of the Rays future.
Unfortunately, left shoulder problems derailed his 2015 season, limiting him to just a dozen starts. Following an outstanding effort at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox on May 5, Smyly was shut down for what was expected to be the remainder of the season. But he was able to return in mid-August to make another nine mostly effective starts.
I just got a lot of shoulder care, rehab, strengthening program,” Smyly said prior to the 2016 season per Bill Chastain for MLB.com. “… I just stuck to that. Tried to get my core strong and focused on making my shoulder as healthy as it can be and just try to come into spring healthy and ready to go.
It was apparent that he had lost something during that 2016 campaign. He made 30 starts, striking out 167 batters and allowing 174 hits over 175.1 innings for the Rays. However, he was hit hard over his last five starts to the tune of a .294 batting average against with a 5.33 ERA during that season-ending stretch.
Smyly would not pitch again in Major League Baseball until this year. In January 2017, Smyly was dealt by the Rays to the Seattle Mariners. He would never pitch in big-league game for Seattle.
After looking good while pitching with the first-ever U.S. team to win the World Baseball Classic early that spring, he was shut down with elbow discomfort. He would ultimately require Tommy John surgery and miss the entirety of the 2017 season.
A free agent at age 29, rather than his hoped-for big career payday, Smyly had to settle for a two-year, $10 million deal from the Chicago Cubs, who took a flyer on his recovery. The lefty would be able to make just one start in the Cubbies minor league system in the 2018 season, and was dealt to Texas last November.
After his less than stellar performances for them, the Rangers gave Smyly his release just over three weeks ago. He had a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, but decided to opt out of that deal. The Phillies believe there are signs pointing to the possibility that there is still something to squeeze out of him.
Per Joe Giglio with NJ.com: “Smyly is generating swings and misses at a high rate. During his stint in Texas, Smyly struck out 52 batters in 51.1 innings. During two Triple-A starts with the Brewers, Smyly racked up 18 strikeouts in 12 innings.

Arrieta will make the start in tonight’s (Friday) series opener at PNC Park against the host Pittsburgh Pirates. Eflin is scheduled to go on Saturday and Velasquez on Sunday.

Jake Arrieta has bone spurs on his elbow, could be lost to surgery

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On Saturday night in Queens, Jake Arrieta was downright horrendous in his starting assignment at Citi Field against the New York Mets.
The Phillies 33-year-old right-hander was torched by the Mets batters for 11 hits which produced six runs, five of those earned, and he was almost constantly in trouble.
In the bottom of the 1st inning, a base running gaffe by Robinson Cano helped Arrieta escape having allowed just one run despite surrendering two hits and hitting a batter. In the bottom of the 2nd, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out. Again, Arrieta wriggled out of it, allowing just one run.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Todd Frazier led off with a single and came home on a double by the next batter, Dominic Smith. Arrieta again escaped with just one run allowed, thanks largely to Smith being thrown out trying to stretch that double into a triple.
In the 5th inning, the Mets finally kicked in the door, driving Arrieta from the game amidst controversy. With one out, he hit Frazier with a pitch, prompting Frazier to bark at Arrieta all the way down to first base.
When home plate umpire Tripp Gibson immediately warned both benches, Mets skipper Mickey Callaway came out to argue. Frazier then turned his barking to Gibson and was ejected. The Mets third baseman had to be restrained from going after Arrieta, and was fuming as he made his way to the dugout and locker room.
Smith then doubled again, moving pinch-runner Adeiny Hechavarria around to third base. Arrieta then hit another batsman, Amed Rosario. Despite the earlier warning, the Phillies pitcher was not ejected, but Callaway was when he argued that fact.
It might have been better for the Phillies had Arrieta been ejected, because the very next batter, catcher Tomas Nido, ripped a bases-clearing double to put the Mets on top by a 6-4 margin. That would prove the game-winner, as the hosts would go on to an eventual 6-5 victory.
Following the game, Arrieta made this controversial comment: “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.

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Arrieta postgame: “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.”

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Then in a report this morning by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic with contribution from Matt Gelb it was revealed that Arrieta has been battling an injury.
Arrieta has a bone spur in his right elbow, according to a source, and it likely will require surgery to remove it — surgery that those involved had hoped could wait until the end of the season. That delay is no longer certain.
Reporters repeatedly tried to question Arrieta following the game on the possibility of injury. He gave nothing but vague or evasive answers.
I labored physically,” Arrieta said per Rosenthal and Gelb. “I wasn’t able to put the ball where I wanted to. It’s been that way for a few weeks. Just physically not in a great spot.

Things have not gone as hoped for the Phillies when they signed former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta at spring training in 2018.
Arrieta has made 17 starts in this, his second season with the Phillies after signing a big free agent contract during 2018 spring training. He leads the Phillies staff with 108 innings pitched and 8 wins. But he also has a 4.67 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and .282 batting average against, surrendering 18 home runs.
Over his last seven starts, Arrieta has allowed 53 hits including nine home runs over 38 innings pitched. Amazingly, the Phillies have gone 4-3 in those outings, including last night’s defeat.
If Arrieta is lost now, or if that happens in the next week or so, the Phillies already emaciated starting rotation is going to be on life support. Aaron Nola has regained his form of a year ago and is pitching like an ace once again. But otherwise, none of the Phillies starting pitchers has been reliable.
Zach Eflin has allowed 26 hits over 14 innings across his last three starts with a 9.64 ERA and .400 batting average against in that span. Nick Pivetta has a 5.84 ERA and 1.476 WHIP over his 11 starts. Vince Velasquez has already been bounced from the rotation once, and has a 4.63 ERA and 1.402 WHIP over 20 games, 10 each in relief and as a starter.
The other options tried during the season have been equaling unimpressive. Jerad Eickhoff, currently on the IL, had a 5.71 ERA and 1.303 WHIP over a dozen outings, including 10 starts. Cole Irvin was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and the southpaw produced a 7.82 ERA and 1.579 WHIP over his three shots in the rotation. Enyel De Los Santos was called up and in his lone start against Miami, the righty allowed four earned on seven hits over just four innings.
Injuries to the relief corps has decimated the Phillies bullpen as well, making the pitching staff nearly a complete disaster at this point. The Phillies pitching staff collectively ranks 12th of the 15 teams in the National League in ERA (4.66), and both their .266 batting average against and 802 OPS against are 14th of the 15 NL clubs.
The pressure is now on general manager Matt Klentak to find a deal or two to strengthen the rotation unless he is willing to throw in the towel on a run at a 2019 postseason run. It seems highly unlikely that such a thing would be acceptable to owner John Middleton. But with two spots to fill and a number of other teams in Major League Baseball going after the same available arms, the job may simply be too big for Klentak to successfully complete.

In the longer run, Arrieta has a player option at $20 million for the 2020 season. It seems hard to believe that he would not exercise that option for a season during which he would be 34 years of age, coming off a down, injury-marred campaign. That means the Phillies would be locked into his presence in their rotation for next season, at least to open the year.

Phillies wrap homestand looking to win series from Diamondbacks

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The ball girls are always on their games down at Citizens Bank Park

For skipper Gabe Kapler and the Philadelphia Phillies (38-29) tonight’s game with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks (35-33) is important for a number of reasons.

First, it would keep the Phillies at least even with the Braves at the top of the NL East Division standings. The Braves host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, leading into a key three-game series with the Phillies in Atlanta this coming weekend.
Second, it would give the Phillies yet another series victory. Doing whatever it takes to somehow win most of their series has been the club’s direction to the top of those standings thus far this season.
The Phillies have gone 13-5-3 in all series during this 2019 season coming into this Dbacks three-gamer. They are 8-2-1 in home series to this point, and haven’t lost one in South Philly since Milwaukee took three of four nearly a month ago.
After their weekend in Hotlanta the club will head to Washington for a series with the red-hot division rival Nationals for a four-game series to open play next week. These two series begin a huge stretch of 26 consecutive games against only NL East rivals, one that will last until beyond the mid-July MLB All-Star Game break.
This will mark the last time for Phillies fans to see their club in person at Citizens Bank Park for more than a week. A final chance for awhile to enjoy the great food choices out on Ashburn Alley, be entertained by the antics of the Phillie Phanatic, and enjoy the ringing of the giant Liberty Bell. One more chance to catch BP fly balls in the stands, and to dump the bodies of their beloved family members on the home team dugout roof.

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WEDNESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES
  1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Jay Bruce LF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Nick Williams RF
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Zach Eflin P
(First day off for Bryce Harper)
DIAMONDBACKS
  1. Ketel Marte CF
  2. Ildemaro Vargas 2B
  3. David Peralta LF
  4. Adam Jones RF
  5. Eduardo Escobar 3B
  6. Christian Walker 1B
  7. Nick Ahmed SS
  8. Carson Kelly C
  9. Merrill Kelly P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES: Zach Eflin, 6-5, 2.88 ERA, 1.194 WHIP, 68 hits over 72 IP across 12 starts with a 57/18 K:BB
DBACKS: Merrill Kelly, 6-6, 4.12 ERA, 1.359 WHIP, 76 hits over 74.1 IP across 13 starts with a 58/25 K:BB. Kelly is a 30-year old rookie right-hander who took an unusual path to the big-leagues. He was the Rays eighth round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, was released by Tampa Bay in December 2014, and went to Korea. There he pitched four seasons with SK Wyverns of the KBO. Kelly signed as a free agent with the Dbacks in December, and made their starting rotation out of spring training.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Phillies are 25-6 when they score first this season, 34-5 when scoring four or more runs, 34-2 when leading after six innings, and 24-3 when they outhit their opposition. They are also 33-13 when bashing at least one home run.
  • Six different players have received starting assignments in center field this season for the Phillies. Only one of those players, Scott Kingery, is currently active and healthy on the roster.
  • Eflin has been the Phillies most consistent starting pitcher this season. He missed a start with back spasms, but returned last Friday to hold the Cincinnati Reds to one earned run and four hits over 6.1 innings. That marked Eflin’s seventh Quality Start on the season, second only to the nine accumulated by Jake Arrieta.
  • Kelly has been a real find for Arizona. He has six Quality Starts, including his last two, and has pitched into or beyond the 7th inning in each of his last three outings.
  • The annual Phillies Phestival will take place beginning at 3:30 pm on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, after which the team will depart for their weekend in Atlanta.  Since the Phillies adopted ALS in 1984 as their primary charity, over $18 million has been raised for patient care and services in the Greater Philadelphia area. Over the last 35 years, players and their wives and girlfriends, coaches, broadcasters, front office staff and day of game staff have come together to host this special event. Last year, more than $725,000 was raised at the annual autograph and auction party.

INJURY REPORT

PHILLIES: Both outfielder Roman Quinn and relief pitcher Edubray Ramos are on rehab assignments and could return to the Phillies soon. Relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek were due to throw bullpen sessions over the last day or so, and will then be re-evaluated for a possible return. The other four relief pitchers and two positions players on the IL are not near a return.
DBACKS: Infielder Jake Lamb is on the 10-day IL with a left quad strain, is on a Triple-A rehab assignment, and hopes to return soon. There are a half-dozen other Arizona players on the IL, but none are close to a return.

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