Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Phillies Take Advantage Of Off Day

Thankfully, the Phillies took a day off!

  • The series opener on Tuesday will be the first of six games in nine days between the two National League foes, with a three-game series taking place in Cincinnati the following week.
  • The Reds haven't felt that much compassion in the City of Brotherly Love in recent years. The Reds haven't won a series at Citizens Bank Park since August 2006, with a 8-21 record during the stretch.
  • O'Sullivan will again look to work his way deeper into the game. O'Sullivan hasn't lasted more than six innings all season, and hasn't recorded an out in the seventh inning since 2013.

Reds ace Johnny Cueto will return on Tuesday to begin a three-game series between the Reds and Phillies from Citizens Bank Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m ET. Cueto is coming back from right elbow stiffness that forced him to miss one start. Following a bullpen session on Sunday, Cueto said "every single pitch was good" during the session and that he will be ready to go on Tuesday. Cueto's last start was on May 19 at Kansas City, where he went seven innings, giving up three earned runs off nine hits in a 3-0 loss. Sean O'Sullivan will be the starter on the mound for Philadelphia in the series opener on Tuesday. The right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.81 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in six starts this season. O'Sullivan experienced his worst start of the season last time out, surrendering seven earned runs on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 7-0 loss to the Mets.


So Long Sizemore – The Phillies announced Monday night they have released outfielder Grady Sizemore. Sizemore hit .245 with five doubles, six RBIs and a .584 OPS in 104 plate appearances this season. The Phillies designated the 32-year-old for assignment Friday to make room for Cody Asche on the 25-man roster. The Phillies signed Sizemore to a one-year, $2 million contract in October, despite hitting .172 with a .580 OPS in 97 plate appearances from Aug. 6, 2014, through the end of last season.

Filling The Future Needs Of The Team – The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday, June 8, through Wednesday, June 10, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft. Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Phillies, whose first selection is the 10th overall pick. In about 50 words: The Phillies changed course last September when they announced Marti Wolever's contract would not be renewed. He had been running the Phils' Drafts for more than a decade. Johnny Almaraz is the new man in charge. It will be interesting to see how he handles his first Draft, which is a critical one for a rebuilding organization. The scoop: Phillies president Pat Gillick offered his early take on Almaraz at the end of Spring Training. "Not saying that our former director didn't like players, but our new scouting director likes players," Gillick said. "People might not understand that, but sometimes you look at a player and you can talk about his minuses or you can talk about his plusses. Our new scouting director, he talks about players' plusses. He wants to concentrate on what this player can do, not on what he cannot do. So I think it's a little bit of a different approach." First-round buzz: The Phillies acquired a handful of promising pitchers in offseason trades involving Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. Those arms accompany recent Draft picks like Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle and others. What this organization needs badly is a big bat. If the Phils can select a power hitter with the 10th overall pick, it is a good bet they will take him. Money matters: Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total. Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts. The Phillies' have $7,058,500 to spend on their Draft picks. Their 10th overall pick is slotted at $3,231,300. Shopping list: Everything. While the Phils would love a power hitter with the 10th overall pick, they will not go reaching for one, either. They are not in a position to be picky, so if they don't like their options when their time comes, they will take the most talented player available. That could mean another pitcher. Trend watch: Throw those trends out the window. Wolever dramatically changed course last year when he chose mostly college players, but he is gone, so there is no way to know which way the Phillies will go this season. Almaraz is starting with a clean slate. RECENT DRAFT HISTORYRising fast: Right-hander Nola should be in the big leagues before the end of the season. Of course, that is not fast enough for some folks, but there is no reason to rush the organization's top pitching prospect in a rebuilding season. But there is no question that Nola has been impressive with Double-A Reading. He is projected to be a No. 3 starter. In The Show: The Phillies selected right-hander Ken Giles in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft. Fans clamored for him at the beginning of last season, but the Phils let him develop a little longer in the Minor Leagues. Giles remained there until June and the extra time, which he spent developing a nasty slider, served him well. The Phillies' recent top picks: 2014: Nola, RHP, Double-A Reading; 2013: J.P. Crawford, SS, Double-A Reading; 2012: Shane Watson, RHP, injured; 2011: Larry Greene, OF, retired; 2010: Biddle, LHP, Double-A Reading.

Continuing To Promote Awareness – fter boarding a plane, Cody Asche felt afraid. But it wasn't a fear of flying that made the Phillies left fielder uneasy. It was his imagination. Back in November, Asche spoke at a banquet benefiting the ALS Association of Philadelphia. Driven to contribute more by what he had seen that night, Asche began brainstorming ideas on the flight home as to what more he could do for the cause. He came up with the idea to design a T-shirt and to donate the proceeds to ALS research. But the scope of that idea intimidated him. "I was kind of too scared to do it," Asche said. "But then it came back to me, and I was like, 'You know what? Let's go for it.' I went to the Phillies and asked them, and they were beyond excited to help me with it." Monday's events were something of a culmination of Asche's idea. The club held the Phillies Phestival, which raises money to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, and the entire team and coaching staff were on hand, signing autographs and participating in the festivities of the day. Asche's T-shirt, emblazoned with a Phillies logo and the moniker "Together We Fight," was among the many products sold. On Monday, the Phillies raised a total of $786,146 in support of patients of ALS. Since the Phillies committed to battling ALS in 1984 as their primary charity, more than $16 million has been raised for patient care and services in the greater Philadelphia area. Ellyn Phillips, the president of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the ALS Association, counted herself among the many who were impressed by Asche's generosity and drive. "Cody came up with that shirt on his own," Phillips said. "You can't dream of going to someone and asking them to put together a shirt for us. It's amazing. I'm just thrilled." Children and adults alike lined up throughout the concourses and club areas to meet their favorite players and coaches. There was a game for fans to play in which they could roll five dice, and depending on the sum of their roll, they could win prizes. Certain rolls could've netted fans Diamond Club tickets, game-used batting helmets, bases and lineup cards and autographed bats. The event also included a silent auction in which fans could bid on memorabilia ranging from jerseys and balls signed by current and former Phillies stars to tickets and golf weekends. To catcher Cameron Rupp, Phillies Phestival was more than just a fund-raiser; it was an opportunity to prove that he and his teammates are capable of being more than baseball players and giving back to the community. Rupp has a special connection to ALS, as his grandfather died of the disease when Rupp was just 3 months old. Though he never met his grandfather, Rupp carries with him the memory of his grandfather's life and the experience of having a family fight the disease. Rupp said he and his family often imagine how things could have been if Pete Rupp were alive today, speculating that Pete would consistently be in Philadelphia to watch his grandson play and catch every other game on television. Based on the stories he's heard, Rupp only knows one way to describe the man he never got to know. "The best [man] to ever walk this planet," Rupp said. "He always treated my grandmother with the utmost respect. I don't know enough. I wish I could sit here and talk [more] about him."

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now near the bottom of the NL east at 19-33. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and performance this spring, don’t expect their competitive place in the standings to last. All time, the Phillies are 51-49-0 on this day.

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