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Your Thursday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 24, 2018

WE BEAT THE BRAVES IN A SERIES!

Thank God. Imagine if it was a sweep. That would’ve been perfect, heading into the weekend a game and a half up on Atlanta in the NL East.

But back to the game. Jake Arrieta pitched a gem, allowing no runs on just seven hits and striking out seven batters en route to a 4-0 shutout. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 15 innings inside Citizens Bank Park, and his ERA is 0.84 in three games at home, winning all three of them.

The Phils scored a run in three consecutive innings, thanks to RBIs from Carlos Santana, Cesar Hernandez (who extended his on-base streak to 27 games), and Maikel Franco.

Odubel Herrera also extended his “games he’s made it to at least first base no matter what the MLB says” streak to 49 games.

They’re off today, but start a weekend series with Toronto on Friday.

Elsewhere, Coggin got a chance to talk to the new Phillies’ batting practice pitcher, Shawn Senior.

Also, Lenny Dykstra was arrested again! The Phillies announced he won’t be invited to the team’s celebration of the 1993 National League champions.

One of the biggest sources of success? Pitching coach Rick Kranitz.

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Your Wednesday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 23, 2018

Another chance to move into first place in the National League East, another failed opportunity.

The Braves, actually just Ozzie Albies, took care of the Phillies 3-1 in the second game of their three game series. Albies hit a solo home run in the third inning before scoring the remaining two runs for Atlanta.

Meanwhile on the other side of the ball, the Phillies couldn’t get anything going again against Brandon McCarthy. The right-hander won his fifth game of the season and fourth against the Phils. In this performance, he struck out five while allowing four hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings. Cesar Hernandez extended his on-base streak to 26 games thanks to an RBI single that brought home Maikel Franco.

Odubel Herrera also extended his “games he’s made it to at least first base no matter what the MLB says” streak to 48 games.

Jake Arrieta takes the mound in the rubber match tonight at 7:05 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Elsewhere, the Phillies have their new left-handed batting practice pitcher. It’s a former minor leaguer from Cherry Hill.

Jorge Alfaro isn’t that good in the batters box. But who cares? He’s got a cannon of an arm.

While you read all that, make sure you listen to the latest edition of Crossed Up.

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Your Tuesday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 22, 2018

Last night marked the start of a big series for the Phillies, who are looking to affirm their status as a contender in the National League East.

They did just that in a 3-0 shutout win over the Braves, led by seven shutout innings from Nick Pivetta. He allowed only four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts on 107 pitches. Over his last three starts, he’s allowed just one run on 10 hits and two walks, while striking out 25 for an ERA of 0.43. That’s really good.

The Phils got on the board with a shallow solo homer from Nick Williams in the bottom of the 4th. Nothing else happened until Aaron Altherr pinch-hit for Pivetta in the seventh and crushed a two-run bomb to left.

Odubel Herrera got on base again, extending his “games he’s made it at least to first base no matter what MLB says” to 47.

The Phils are a half-game behind Atlanta for tops in the NL East. They can be the ones with a half-game lead in the division at the end of the night if they beat the Braves at 7:05 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The singing Vince Velasquez will take the mound, looking for another great start.

Elsewhere, Jerad Eickhoff has suffered a setback in his rehab stint with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and Roman Quinn will be out six to eight weeks with a torn ligament in his right middle finger.

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Your Monday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 21, 2018

It was a rough weekend for the Phillies.

After a 1:35 rain delay, the St. Louis Cardinals exploded for a season-high 15 hits against Jake Arrieta on Friday, including five RBIs from Jose Martinez, en route to a 12-4 dominant win. Arrieta only went three innings, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks to go with a lone strikeout.

The Phils almost blew a two-run lead Saturday afternoon, as the Cardinals scored at least one run in four consecutive innings. Down a run, Scott Kingery hit his first career triple before Jorge Alfaro slammed a pinch-hit single to score Kingery for the game-winning run in a 7-6 win. Odubel Herrera hit a two-run homer to extend his on-base streak to 45 games, even though he reached base on the third strike in his final at-bat in the ninth. But Zach Eflin struggled, going 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on three hits and three walks while striking out four.

But a rookie stymied the Phillies yesterday afternoon. Jack Flaherty threw 7 2/3 innings and struck out 13 batters in 120 pitches, giving up two hits and a run in the process in a 5-1 win over the Phils. That run was a Rhys Hoskins solo home run.

Aaron Nola was meh after heating up in his last few starts. He gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings and struck out six. Odubel Herrera’s on-base streak ended as he went 0-for-4, including a ninth inning battle with Jordan Hicks, who threw two pitches at 105 mph with all five coming at above 102 mph.

A huge three-game home series with the Braves looms. Nick Pivetta takes the mound for the first game tonight at 7:05 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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Your Friday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 18, 2018

Make it three straight wins for the Phillies, and seven of their last eight.

The Phils took the first of their four-game series with a 6-2 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, thanks to another strong outing by Vince Velasquez. The righty went 6 1/3 innings, allowing only five hits and two walks with five strikeouts on 96 pitches.

Carlos Santana got the scoring started with solo home run in the top of the fifth, before the Phils scored three runs in the eighth on hits from Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera (who reached base for the 43rd straight game), and a two-run shot by Pedro Florimon in the ninth.

I’m starting to think this team is legit. It’s still May, but maybe this team has the ability to get to the NLCS? Am I getting a little ahead of myself? Certainly they need to fix some things, especially their struggles against their fellow NL East rivals. And maybe getting a guy like Manny Machado now could push things forward. And we’ll have to get used to Kapler’s use of the bullpen. But it’s looking like summer baseball at Citizens Bank Park will be making its triumphant return in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, JP Crawford is expected to begin a rehab assignment in Clearwater next week.

Jake Arrieta takes the mound tonight at 8:15 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola are scheduled to start for the rest of the series.

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Your Thursday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 17, 2018

Midway through May, the Phillies are eight games above .500. Did any of us expect this kind of start?

Did anyone even think the Phillies would be a game behind Atlanta for not only the lead in the NL East, but also the top spot in the entire National League?

This team took another step forward with a 4-1 win over the Orioles yesterday afternoon in Baltimore. Nick Pivetta pitched a gem on the mound, striking out a career-high 11 batters and giving up one run on two hits in seven innings.

The offense picked up production in the sixth, started by a solo shot from Cesar Hernandez. Maikel Franco and Pedro Florimon hit RBI singles as well. Odubel Herrera’s on-base streak extended to 42 games with a first inning single.

Gabe Kapler made an interesting decision late in the game. With Edubray Ramos striking out the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, Kapler pulled him in favor of Hector Neris, making his first appearance since Friday’s blown save. Chris Davis grounded out to end the game.

“Had we left Ramos out there to finish the inning, we thought he would have done a great job,” Kapler said. “But we liked Hector there because Hector’s split, when it’s on, is tremendous, as we saw today. One of the things we’ve maintained from spring training is we’re going to put our players in the best positions to have success.”

It didn’t make or break a game, but it was really interesting to see. Even though we shouldn’t be that surprised, because Kapler does things differently.

There’s plenty of good and bad things so far, but it’s so far a very positive start to the season. The team’s on pace to hit more than 90 wins. How is that bad?

But it’s still early in the season. And anything can change. The team starts a four-game weekend series with the Cardinals tonight at 7:15 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Vince Velasquez will take the mound.

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Your Wednesday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 16, 2018

There was a 1.1% chance the Sixers would have received the #1 overall pick in last night’s NBA Draft Lottery.

The 98.9% happened, and the Sixers ended up with the 10th overall pick, as expected. The ONE HOUR show was boring, and I’m not sure why it was an hour long. The Sixers will have six picks in this year’s draft: 10 and 26 in the first round, and picks 38, 39, 56, and 60 in the second round. I would think the team might trade some of those assets.

Since we officially know where the Sixers will pick, we can talk about who they could take with the pick. Mikal Bridges seems the most obvious choice, but there could be some others in there as well, such as Trae Young or Miles Bridges.

Phoenix got the top spot for the first time in franchise history. Sacramento jumped to the #2 spot, and Atlanta took home the 3rd overall pick.

In other Sixers-related content, Kevin recapped Jerryd Bayless’ season. He’s still on the team. Russ is salivating over the idea of having both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on this team next year. I would as well.

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Your Tuesday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - May 15, 2018

Tonight marks the first step in what could be a historic offseason for the Sixers. The NBA Draft Lottery tonight still involves Phila, even though they made the playoffs this year.

They’ll have at least five picks (26, 38, 39, 56, 60), and will very much likely have a first round via the Lakers if everything goes to plan. And everything should go to plan, if you look at the odds for the #1 overall pick:

The tricky part could be if the pick goes between 2 and 5, which I don’t think will. A bump up one or two more spots would be fun, but we’ll see how the ping pong balls come out.

Here’s who the Sixers could pick, according to Mike Schmitz:

Most likely pick: Mikal Bridges | SF | Villanova

After watching Jayson Tatum carve up Marco Belinelli and a host of other Sixers in the playoffs, it’s clear Philly could use more defensive-minded wings and few prospects are more ready to play a role at small forward than Mikal Bridges. Although he’s a bit one-dimensional as a spot-up shooter, Bridges fits well with ball-dominant players such as Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, not needing to pound the ball to have an impact. The wider-bodied Miles Bridges could also get looks here as an energetic two-way combo forward.

Additionally, the Sixers could use another shot-creator should they lose confidence in Markelle Fultz’s development, which remains unlikely at this stage. If it indeed does come to that, though, they could turn to a prospect like Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

That will be Bryan Colangelo‘s decision to make in a month. It’ll be one of the more important decisions he makes this summer, along with finding a replacement for Lloyd Pierce and navigating free agency. If he fails to get a guy like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, or Paul George, it’s not going to be pretty.

I’m excited for this summer. Big things are ahead of this team. And they need to take some kind of step forward in order to compete with Boston. Because they’ll surely retool as well.

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