Posts for Phillies Category

Ryan Howard Retirement Day Highlights

Bob Wankel - July 14, 2019

Phillies legend Ryan Howard was back at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon to take part in his retirement day festivities. Earlier this season, the team honored both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley with similar events.

During a pregame ceremony that included a video tribute, Howard thanked Phillies fans for their support and talked about them as a motivating factor during his playing career. “They won’t boo you if you do what you’re supposed to do,” he said.


Howard also thanked former Phillies GM Ed Wade and scout Jerry Lafferty, each of whom he credited for bringing him to Philadelphia. Former Phils manager Charlie Manuel, who was in attendance, got a shout out, too. “To my guy, Big Chuck. Always positive. Always found a way to pick you up,” Howard said of his former manager.

Here is the full ceremony:

More, after the jump.

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Tommy Hunter Headed Back to IL with Forearm Strain

Bob Wankel - July 14, 2019

Look, I know that it was a tough one down at the yard last night. The Phillies were one out away from an important win that would’ve evened their critical series with the Nationals, but Juan Soto wrecked those plans. The Nationals even made a cute little video about it:


The Phillies have dropped two straight and 23 of their last 37 games. In fact, they have only three wins against teams that aren’t the Mets dating back to June 12. That’s three wins against teams that aren’t the Mets over the last 32 days.

One positive development in recent weeks – maybe the only one aside from Aaron Nola’s resurgence – has been the successful return of relief pitcher Tommy Hunter. In five games this season, Hunter has pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, while allowing only two hits. Small problem: Hunter is headed back to the Injured List  – with the same injury that caused him to miss the first three months of the season.

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Some Advice: Do Not Run on Bryce Harper

Bob Wankel - July 13, 2019

I don’t think we need a cute set up for this one, so let’s just get right to it. Second inning, one out. Washington’s Victor Robles laces a ball into the right field gap. It would’ve been an easy stand-up double, but Robles wanted an extra bag. He did not get it. Behold:

From the warning track. Basically flat-footed. In the air. You’ve gotta be kidding.

The Statcast data:

The throw was Harper’s sixth outfield assist of the season. He had only one assist with the Nationals last season.

Gabe Kapler Defends Andrew Knapp, Says a Stint in Minors is ‘Not a Consideration’

Bob Wankel - July 13, 2019

The Phillies have designated catcher Rob Brantly for assignment one day after he was called up to fill in for J.T. Realmuto, who, of course, missed the Phillies’ 4-0 loss to the Nationals last night after he was placed on the Paternity List earlier in the day. That means Andrew Knapp, who’s hitting only .157 with a .518 OPS this season, will remain the team’s backup catcher. The news is sure to excite many:

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was asked prior to tonight’s game if the team gave any consideration to sending Knapp down to Lehigh Valley to see if increased at-bats might possibly get him going.

Nope. Here’s Kapler:

No, not at all. That wasn’t a consideration. I think because of who he’s been in the clubhouse, who he’s been from a game planning perspective and as a teammate. We continue to think the small sample size we’ve seen at the Major League level is not an indicative of Andrew Knapp’s true talent. I am fully aware that he has not been productive as an offensive player for us. However, he has a track record of being an offensive threat at the minor league level and one of his calling cards was his ability to work a good at-bat. And I guess that’s the one thing we have seen fairly consistently is that he’s given us a strong at-bat. Not always, but enough where the other positive attributes of what Andrew Knapp brings to the table made it a non-topic for us in this particular case.

I’m not sure if what we’ve seen is or isn’t indicative of Knapp’s true talent, but he has been tough to watch, though Kapler is right in the sense that 85 plate appearances over three-plus months is a limited sample size. It’s hard for a hitter to get comfortable with such limited opportunities, but Knapp has struck out in 27 of those 85 plate appearances and has frequently looked overmatched.

Other Pregame Notes

Sean Rodriguez has been placed on the 10-day IL. The move is retroactive to July 10. He has an abdominal strain will get an MRI in next 24 hours.

Rookie outfielder Adam Haseley is back with the team. Though it’s unclear what his exact role will be, Kapler said he expects to find ways to get Haseley on the field.

Jake Arrieta threw a bullpen earlier this afternoon. Kapler, who watched video of the session from his office, said Arrieta gave fist bumps to those down in the bullpen when he was finished. He is starting tomorrow in the series finale and will be looking to bounce back after a rough stretch in which he has allowed a 6.27 ERA in 33 IP dating back to June 1.

Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez will open the Dodgers series. Nick Pivetta and Aaron Nola are likely to follow.

The Phillies have reportedly signed Logan Morrison to a minor league deal. The 31-year-old had a .999 OPS in Triple-A this season with the Yankees organization and should add some left-handed thump off the bench, assuming he soon gets a promotion.

Phillies Place J.T. Realmuto on Paternity List, Andrew Knapp Gets Start

Bob Wankel - July 12, 2019

When the Phillies open up the second half of the regular season tonight at Citizens Bank Park against the red-hot Nationals, they will do so without National League All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, who was placed on the paternity list earlier today.

It’s unknown how much time Realmuto, who is currently hitting .273 with a .767 OPS, will miss. Major League Baseball grants a player to miss up to three games when placed on the paternity list, so it’s possible that Realmuto may not play this weekend, but he is eligible to return as early as tomorrow.

Realmuto was the only Phillie to spend his All-Star break actually working, so it’s obviously understandable that he needs to take some time. Obviously.

He’s just kidding – at least I’m pretty sure he’s just kidding.

Anyway, backup catcher Andrew Knapp, who is hitting only .152 with a .518 OPS this season, will start tonight and bat eighth. He’s 1 for 3 with a double and a walk lifetime against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

Tonight will also mark the first time this season that Phillies starter Nick Pivetta will throw to Knapp. Pivetta’s 4.81 ERA in 24 games with Knapp behind the plate, while not great, is by far his best catcher split. The full list includes: Cameron Rupp (6.23 ERA), Jorge Alfaro (5.53 ERA), Wilson Ramos (5.27 ERA), and Realmuto (5.84 ERA). So there’s that…I guess.

You can see Realmuto’s latest Instagram post, which introduces his newest child, after the jump.

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Phillies Betting Preview: Does a Slow Start Make for Second Half Value?

Bob Wankel - July 12, 2019

The Phillies wrapped up what was a somewhat disappointing first half at 47-43, good for only third-place in the NL East standings. Their obvious issues have been routinely documented – a rotation without any reliable starters behind Aaron Nola, a depleted bullpen, and an inconsistent offense among them – yet they still find themselves in postseason position with just over three weeks to go before the trade deadline.

The All-Star break seems like a natural time to assess not only what has transpired to this point but what is likely to happen moving forward. It’s also a good time to evaluate the current baseball futures betting market at both PA online sportsbooks and NJ online sportsbooks. As you may have guessed, the market reflects lowered expectations for the Phillies. That’s probably bad news for those that were bullish on the team back in March, but it’s good news for those looking for some potential value now. Let’s first take a closer look at how the odds have moved over the past few months at DraftKings Sportsbook :

Total Wins 88.5 84
Division Odds +175 +800
World Series Odds +1000 +2800
Bryce Harper MVP Odds +400 +7000

Note: Despite this drastic shift, the Phillies’ division and postseason odds have actually improved over the All-Star break. Check this out:

Phillies Win Total

The Phillies’ preseason win total was set at a strong 88.5 leading up to Opening Day. That number seems pretty aggressive in hindsight, but it looked like they would meet the hype through the first two months before cooling with a disappointing 11-16 June. On May 29, the Phillies beat the Cardinals, 11-4, improving to 33-22. They were playing .600 baseball, good for a 97-win pace. Since then, however, they are just 14-21 and are now on pace for only 85 wins. That makes the current 84-win total an intriguing number. As I see it, there are three possibilities at play:

  1. The Phillies are most closely like the team that’s playing .400 baseball over its last 35 games.
  2. The Phillies are closer to the team that looked like one the NL’s best for two months.
  3. The Phillies are somewhere in between these two extremes.

Currently, computer models don’t show much love for the Phillies. FanGraphs projects an 82-80 finish, while FiveThirtyEight has the Phillies at 84-78.

There are multiple factors to consider prior to diagnosing their outlook.

The Phillies have one dependable starting pitcher (Aaron Nola), one solid option (Zach Eflin), two wild cards who are often more disappointing than they are effective (Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta), and one who has been largely ineffective and is pitching with an elbow injury that will reportedly require surgery at some point. If that doesn’t sound like good a formula for success, that’s because it’s not.

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The Phillies Have an Opportunity to Change the Narrative, Starting Tonight

Bob Wankel - July 12, 2019

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We’ve spent plenty of time over the past few weeks picking apart the Phillies’ flaws. It’s been easy to do during a six-week stretch in which they have faded from one of the National League’s best teams to a fringe playoff contender. Their problems – a lack of rotation depth, bullpen injuries, offensive inconsistency – seem to trade places as the most devastating flaw on a nightly basis, but each of them leads us back to the same conclusion, which is that the Phillies have to do something, perhaps a trade – or three – to save their season.

Sound familiar? It should.

Plenty of Phillies coverage lately has focused on the team’s needs, possible trade targets, and the potential roadblocks that exist, and rightfully so, but the truth is that nobody – including the team’s decision-makers – knows how the market will develop in the coming weeks. So rather than speculate about guys who aren’t here right now, let’s go about this in a different way by examining how those who are here can improve, and I don’t mean in a numerical sense. This isn’t going to be a data-driven analysis on how Bryce Harper’s exit velocity should yield a higher slugging percentage in the second half, though that’s true. Instead, I want to look at the human element of what’s at play here.

This team has no juice right now. It’s totally flaccid, but it wasn’t always this way. Just go back to Opening Day when Rhys Hoskins stepped to the plate after the Braves intentionally walked Harper in the seventh inning of a 6-3 game.

Walking Harper to get to me? Cool, no problem. Watch this.

Know what’s good? Grand slams. Know what’s even better? “F*** you” grand slams that come after intentional walks. This is the type of shit teams feed off of.

Listen to that crowd. Look at the energy, the celebrations, the confidence. Where has it gone? There seems to be no buzz around the Phillies right now. Sure, some of that has to do with the problems already outlined. I get it. It’s difficult to overcome mediocre starting pitching or blown leads – sometimes both – but too often it feels like the Phillies are slogging their way through games without the energy and fight we saw earlier in the season. At least when they aren’t playing the Mets.

Where is the intensity, brashness, and confidence the Phillies played with through 55 games during a promising 33-22 start?

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Lenny Dykstra Offers a Message of Kindness and Love to the Bagel Boss Guy

Kevin Kinkead - July 11, 2019

Lenny Dykstra believes he should have been included in our top 10 list of short Philly athletes, which I admitted was cobbled together with little research. I think I spent seven or eight minutes on it, and in my haste, I omitted Mark Recchi, Danny Briere, and Brian Westbrook, among others.

But Nails is right, he was a short Philly athlete, standing just 5’10” but earning himself three All-Star appearances during his eight seasons as a Phillie.

I felt the need to apologize to Lenny for my oversight:


Sure. I can help spread a message of kindness, love, peace, harmony, and understanding.

Here’s Lenny’s video on the “little guy that went crazy at bagel boss” on Wednesday, after the jump:

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