It was a mixed weekend for the Phillies, with plenty of good as well as some bad.
Let’s start with the on-field product in Miami, which featured Brad Lidge as a guest instructor. Friday was the best game of the Marlins series, which saw Jake Arrieta rebound in a big way with seven shutout innings in a 2-0 win. He gave up three hits and struck out three in the win, though the Phils only scored two runs on eight hits.
The Phillies got eight hits on Saturday, but Aaron Nola gave up the only two runs in the game in the first inning for a 2-0 loss. But the offense got hot yesterday afternoon… for one inning. The Phils had a great fourth inning, scoring all five of their runs off four hits to take a 5-0 lead. But Miami had an eight-run bottom of the fifth en route to a 10-5 loss. I guess Tommy Hunter is also bad.
Now for the off-field stuff, and it mainly involves Manny Machado. Which is good, because the Phillies need hitting. Over the weekend, the team increased their offer to the Orioles and became a clear-cut leader to land the shortstop. One reason for that is owner John Middleton becoming a “driving force” for landing a star. And a trade is pretty damn close:
Speaking of Middleton, Andy MacPhail had similar thoughts on the team owner:
“John wants to win,” MacPhail said. “John wants to sustain winning. But John is not an ‘excite the town at any cost’ guy. My view is that he’s smart and he’s realistic. I think I’ve done a good job of explaining the importance of an organization and progress and he’s seen that. He’s not willing to give up too much of that just to make a splash. Someone wrote the other day that ownership wants to make a splash. Let me tell you something about John Middleton. He’s not a ‘splash’ guy for something that doesn’t make sense. I can promise you that.”
The Phils are also interested in Mets reliever Jeurys Familia, if they can’t get Zach Britton from the O’s. They did trade reliever Hoby Milner to Tampa Bay for cash considerations.
Cole Hamels is a former Phillie that was linked to a return to the city earlier in the season. That’s died down, but he’d love to return home:
“If something like that does happen, I think it would be a blessing,” Hamels said. “You do look back. And Philly has a great group of guys that they’re bringing up and the future of a world championship team. You just have to give it to them and give them their space. If it happens, it happens. But I can’t wish or long for something like that because I’m still trying to figure out how to pitch well in five days, six days.”
Overall, it’s not a bad first half at all. The Phillies are 53-42 and lead the NL East by a half-game. Who would’ve thought Gabe Kapler would be a Manager of the Year candidate?
Rhys Hoskins participates in the Home Run Derby tonight. That starts at 8 PM on ESPN.
Also over the weekend, former Phillie and current Dodger Chase Utley announced he would retire at the end of the season.
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