Friday, June 26, 2015

Phillies Sent To The Time Out Corner

GAME RECAP: No Game Yesterday

Turning up the suck!
Phillies take time to rest and think hard about how much this season has sucked so far…

  • Phillies starting pitchers have thrown fewer than six innings 35 times in 74 games (47.3 percent) this season. That ties Colorado for the most in the National League. Only the Rays have had more starts like that with 37.
  • June has not been Harang's month. In just four starts, he's seen his ERA rise from 2.02 to 3.41 after allowing 20 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings. He has yet to make a quality start this month after doing so in 10 of his first 11 starts this season.
  • In 22 at-bats, Bryce Harper has hit .455 against Harang, including a home run on April 18.
  • Scherzer has been dominant against the Phillies in his career, holding a 2.25 ERA in five starts against the club. Of the Phillies with at least 10 career at-bats against Scherzer, only Ben Revere has an average over .300 against him.

On the heels of consecutive shutouts, including a no-hitter in his last outing, Max Scherzer will hope for more of the same as the Nationals start a three-game series with the Phillies on Friday. Aaron Harang will take the mound for Philadelphia. Scherzer threw a one-hit shutout against Milwaukee on June 14, and he followed that with a no-hitter against the Pirates on Saturday, when the only baserunner he allowed came on a hit-by-pitch with two outs in the ninth inning. He struck out 26 batters and walked just one in those starts. On the season, Scherzer is 8-5 with a 1.76 ERA. No Major League pitcher has thrown back-to-back no-hitters besides Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer, who accomplished the feat in 1938. Harang holds a 4-9 record with a 3.41 ERA this season. He's tied for the Major League lead in losses, a tally that hasn't been helped by the Phillies' struggling offense. He'll hope to get some run support to avoid ending a seventh consecutive start with a loss.


Crawford And Nola Headed To Futures Game – J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola figure to be big parts of the Phillies' future as the club's top two prospects. Crawford and Nola are ranked the No. 16 and No. 30 prospects in baseball, respectively, which is why they have been named to the U.S. Team in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The 17th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 3 p.m. ET on July 12, and it can be seen live on MLB Network and, with Matt Vasgersian, Dan Plesac, Heidi Watney and Jonathan Mayo on the call. In addition, SiriusXM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio (XM channel 89; Sirius channel 209). will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @FuturesGame on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout. The Phillies selected Crawford in the first round of the 2013 Draft. After hitting .392 (31-for-79) with one double, one home run, eight RBIs, five stolen bases, 14 walks, nine strikeouts and a .932 OPS in 21 games this season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, the Phillies promoted the 20-year-old shortstop to Double-A Reading. Crawford has hit .298 (31-for-104) with eight doubles, one triple, one home run, nine RBIs, two stolen bases, 18 walks, 11 strikeouts and an .825 OPS in 24 games in Reading. Nola, who the Phillies selected in the first round of the 2014 Draft, could be weeks away from joining the Phillies, especially if Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang are traded in the near future. Nola went 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA in 12 starts with Reading before his promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts with the IronPigs. Double-A manager Dusty Wathan will be a coach on the World Team.

All Star? Rookie of the Year? – Maikel Franco had 10 RBIs in two games this week against the Yankees, so when he went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in Wednesday's 10-2 loss at Yankee Stadium, it confused a few people. Franco went hitless? Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop the clock. "He just missed some pitches," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said afterward, when asked if the Yanks made adjustments to Franco. "They might have stayed away from him a little bit, but he had some very good swings." The fact that questions had been asked about a Phillies player going hitless because he usually does damage is a nice change of pace. The Phils enter Friday night's series opener against the Nationals and Max Scherzer averaging 3.22 runs per game, which would finish the season as the sixth-lowest average in Major League Baseball since 1972. In that sense, Franco's play has been very refreshing. Elias Sports Bureau says Franco became the first Phillies player to have back-to-back games with five or more RBIs since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920. Only two other rookies have had back-to-back games with five or more RBIs: Boston's Brian Daubach in 1999 and the Yankees' Robinson Cano in 2005. Franco became the first player to accomplish the feat against the Yanks. Franco is hitting .311 (46-for-148) with nine doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 29 RBIs and a .946 OPS in 38 games. Out of 253 players with at least 150 plate appearances, Franco is 22nd in batting average, sixth in slugging percentage (.588) and 11th in OPS. Franco is averaging a home run every 14.80 at-bats, which ranks 11th. He is averaging an RBI every 5.10 at-bats, which also ranks 11th. Franco is tied for second with Chicago's Kris Bryant among National League rookies in home runs (trailing the Dodgers' Joc Pederson, who has hit 19 long balls), despite 85 fewer at-bats. Franco's slugging percentage and OPS are best among rookies with 150 or more plate appearances. Pederson and Bryant are widely considered to be the front-runners for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Franco's batting average among rookies is second only to Arizona's Yasmany Tomas (.328). Could Franco make the NL All-Star team? It is a long shot. The NL has had 21 rookie position players make the All-Star team. None of those rookies had been called up to the big leagues any later than April 28. Franco got promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 15. But a case can be made for his consideration. Of NL third basemen with 150 or more plate appearances, Franco's OPS is second only to Cincinnati's Todd Frazier (.981). "I'm just in a great moment right now," Franco said. "I want to preserve the moment. I want to have fun."

Hamels Continues To Give Back – The sixth annual Diamonds and Denim charity event wasn't necessarily the last. Put on each year by Cole Hamels, his wife, Heidi, and their Hamels Foundation for the benefit of Philadelphia area schools, this year's event was cloaked in a little more uncertainty than usual, as the foundation's namesake is rumored to be on the trading block and possibly headed out of Philadelphia. Despite these rumors, Hamels made it abundantly clear that regardless of where he plays baseball, Philadelphia will be his home. "I've tried to make a big stance of this is where we live," the Phillies' left-handed pitcher said. "This is where we make our home and this is where we're kind of growing up. We're learning a lot. It's a different vibe than what we grew up with. But we cherish it and we cherish the knowledge, and we're trying to give back everything that we can to the city, because without them, it's really hard to do what I do." Hamels went on to say that everything he does as a baseball player is made possible because of the support he gets from the Philadelphia fan base, and he also said the same goes for his foundation. Over the past six years, he said he's been able to see tangible results with his foundation through the continued work with principals, students and parents. Many of Hamels' current and former Phillies teammates were on hand for the function, including Chase Utley, Jeff Francoeur, Ken Giles, Adam Eaton, Darin Ruf, Cameron Rupp, Ben Revere, Cody Asche, manager Ryne Sandberg and Ryan Howard. Howard agreed with Hamels' sentiment that the best part of this function was seeing how the foundation has grown over the years. "It's always great to be able to come out and give back," Howard said. "We've been doing this for the last four or five years. Every year it gets better and better." The Phillies weren't the only Philadelphia team represented on the night, as Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin was on hand to help out, as was former Eagle and the inspiration for the film "Invincible," Vince Papale. And though Papale was there for charity, not even he could avoid bringing up the topic on everyone's mind: Hamels' future. "I know there's a lot of speculation," Papale said. "But he's served the Philadelphia community well. I'd be sorry to see him go."

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 26-48. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and performance so far this season, this could end up being the worst team in franchise history! All time, the Phillies are 56-55-0 on this day.

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