Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Front Office Changed But On Field Stayed The Same

GAME RECAP: Brewers Beat Phillies 7-4

For the Brewers Monday, the sixth inning was just a better version of the first five. After recording at least one hit in each of the first five innings, the Brewers kept swinging in the sixth, starting off the inning with six straight hits, scoring three runs and seizing the lead. Milwaukee never looked back from that point, defeating the Phillies, 7-4. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun led the Brewers' offense from the two and three holes, combining for seven hits, six of which were singles, three RBIs and two runs scored in Milwaukee's fifth win in seven games. "That's definitely a win for the offense and bullpen, for sure," said Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson, who fell into a 4-1 deficit after two innings before finding a rhythm and pitching through the fifth for the win. Coming just hours after announcing Andy MacPhail as their next team president, the Phillies' loss ensured that for the second time this season, they will win fewer than 10 games in a month. It was the Phillies' fourth loss in five games and the 16th time in June that they allowed double-digit hits in a game.

  • As bad as the three runs allowed in the sixth inning were, strong defensive plays by the Phillies' infield prevented the Brewers from scoring even more runs. With the bases loaded, no one out and the hot-swinging Adam Lind at the plate, relief pitcher Justin De Fratus forced a soft chopper to shortstop Freddy Galvis. Galvis charged on the ball and threw home, getting the out, though the bases remained loaded. De Fratus forced another ground ball in the next at-bat though, this one to Cesar Hernandez who was able to flip to Galvis to start off an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
  • In the bottom of the third inning, Mackanin challenged Carlson's ruling that Domonic Brown was out at home, as he believed Lucroy was blocking the plate. After a one-minute, 15-second review, the ruling on the field was confirmed and Brown, who tried to score from first on a Cody Asche double, was out. The Phillies did not come away with a run in the inning.
  • "I'll tell you right now when you haven't been over there for a while, that job is a lot harder than most people think it is. It looks a lot easier from up above than it does when you're on the field level." -- Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin on how new third-base coach John Mizerock has done since taking over for Mackanin on Friday. Domonic Brown has been thrown out between third and home twice in the four games since the change.
  • Tuesday's game will be the last game of June for both teams. Though it wasn't a month to remember, the Phillies are more likely to want to forget it. With a win Tuesday, the Brewers would break .500 in the month.
  • Outside of the matchup between Hamels and Braun, another interesting matchup will be the one between Hamels and Adam Lind. Lind is on a nine-game hitting streak and is 3-for-8 with a home run lifetime versus Hamels.
  • Taylor Jungmann will start for the Brewers. He is 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts for the Brewers in June, his first four starts as a big league. Jungmann has primarily relied on the hard stuff in those starts, with 75 percent of his pitches having been fastballs or sinkers, both of which average 92 mph.

One of the hottest batters in the National League will face off against one of the hottest potential trade commodities in baseball Tuesday when Ryan Braun and the Brewers visit Cole Hamels and the Phillies for the second game of a four-game series. Though Braun, who is fifth in the NL in RBIs since the end of April, has cooled off in June compared with his torrid May, the outfielder has four multi-hit games in his past eight, including a 3-for-5 night in Monday's series-opening 7-4 win over the Phillies. Hamels has faced Braun more times than any pitcher who has never pitched in the NL Central. Braun is 10-for-34 lifetime versus the left-hander with three home runs and five RBIs. Coming off his least effective start since early May, Hamels will attempt to regain the form he maintained in his six starts between May 8 and June 3, where he lasted seven or more innings and allowed two or fewer runs each time.


Gillick Officially Announces Replacement – A critical piece to the Phillies' future was brought into the fold Monday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies ownership partner John Middleton and president Pat Gillick introduced Andy MacPhail at a news conference, during which they revealed that MacPhail will succeed Gillick as club president after the season. In the meantime, he will be a special assistant to Gillick. "I think my three main functions are going to be to read, to watch and listen," MacPhail said. "And hopefully in three months I'll have a clear idea of what's appropriate and needs to be done." Middleton said the club was seeking an experienced executive to take over from Gillick. "We needed someone who had a proven track record of success," Middleton said. "The ideal candidate was someone who had won multiple World Series titles, but equally important, had taken many teams over many years, had successfully built them up and taken them to the postseason. "In addition to the nearly 30 year of success he's enjoyed in Minnesota, Chicago an Baltimore, Andy has done an excellent job of keeping himself current with the changing trends of baseball … Andy is the rare combination of old-school experience and new-age thinking." MacPhail will take control of an organization that is trying to rebuild for postseason contention in a few years. Middleton wouldn't put a precise timeframe on when he expects MacPhail to build a winner. "Even now, we're not going to give him a number and say, 'You need to create a team that fits in to this number,'" Middleton said. "We want him to create the best team for the Phillies to have success in the long run. We're out to find that." MacPhail will play a vital role in the potential trades of veterans Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Aaron Harang and others before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He might also decide the fate of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., whose contract is due to expire at the end of the season. Amaro is expected to remain GM for the foreseeable future. Ryne Sandberg resigned as the Phillies' manager on Friday, leaving Pete Mackanin as interim manager. The Phils only have said that Mackanin will serve in that role through their current homestand, which ends Thursday, probably because they did not want to announce anything further until MacPhail's introduction. "There was nothing in any of the conversations that Jim, Pete and I had with Andy over the last four, five, six months that suggested there was any reason Ryne should be looking for the door," Middleton said. "I'm disappointed and there was a part of me that wonders what we did wrong that we couldn't reach out to anybody, that we couldn't sense that Ryne was bothered enough to be thinking that sort of way. I'm saddened by it." MacPhail has experience leading three organizations. He served as the Twins' general manager when Minnesota won the 1987 and '91 World Series. MacPhail was the Cubs' president from 1994-2006, helping them reach the postseason twice. He then spent five seasons as the Orioles' president of baseball operations, making some of the trades that helped Baltimore return to the postseason. MacPhail's father Lee was general manager of the O's and Yankees and was president of the American League from 1974-84. His grandfather Larry was an executive for the Reds, Dodgers and Yankees. Both are in the Hall of Fame. "I think ownership was very diligent in selecting the right person for this job, and I think they did a great job in selecting Andy," Gillick said. "I've known Andy for over 30 years. Andy has a long career in baseball, has a successful career in baseball and he's an information gatherer. And I think that's very important. You can't shut off any area of information. … Any information is crucial to making the proper decision and the right deal."

Significant Changes Already Noticeable – The Phillies launched a new era Monday afternoon when ownership partner John Middleton introduced Andy MacPhail as the team's next president. MacPhail's arrival is a significant change for the organization. Middleton's involvement with the announcement is, too. "I think this is the first time that you've ever gone outside your organization to put somebody in a position like this," MacPhail told Middleton in a nearly 40-minute news conference at Citizens Bank Park. "I am extremely flattered that you considered me. I'm a little bit surprised you hired me because I've been out for a few years, but I'm glad anyway." MacPhail will replace Pat Gillick as president shortly after the end of the 2015 season, which comes Oct. 4. In the meantime, MacPhail will be an adviser. He said he will take the next three-plus months "to read, to watch and to listen. Hopefully within the three months I'll have a clear idea of what I think is appropriate and needs to be done." Plenty needs to be done. The Phillies have the worst record in baseball, despite one of the highest payrolls in the game. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s contract expires at the end of the season. His fate must be decided, as well as the fate of the entire baseball operations staff, which will be evaluated top to bottom. "I don't like the word evaluate," MacPhail said. "I like the word learn. I got three months to learn what I need to learn. I think it's way premature to make personnel decisions. I don't need to have people I know around me. I don't think the record shows that I'm a guy that, four people get let go the minute that I'm in there. But they are case-by-case decisions. Once you get a feel on how your club needs to proceed, then you get a better idea of who you think can execute what you think you have to execute." Gillick replaced longtime president David Montgomery in August as he recovered from jaw bone cancer surgery. Gillick said at the time he would serve as long as ownership needed him, but the reality is Gillick, 77, never intended to be president for long. So Middleton and the organization's other two ownership partners -- Jim and Pete Buck -- began talking to MacPhail in the winter about replacing Gillick. They had reasons to be interested. MacPhail served as the Twins' general manager when Minnesota won the 1987 and '91 World Series. He joined the Cubs as their president and CEO in '94, guiding the Cubs to two postseason appearances in 12 years. MacPhail most recently served as the Orioles' president of baseball operations, making some of the trades that helped resurrect the franchise and get them back to the postseason. "When the three of us went out and started talking to people in Major League Baseball to solicit names, what surprised us was every single person without exception listed Andy MacPhail as No. 1," Middleton said. "There was nobody else who was No. 1 on any person's list. And that was extraordinary." Middleton said MacPhail has done an excellent job of keeping up with the changing trends in MLB, which includes the use of analytics. Middleton repeatedly mentioned the Phillies' need for more analytics in player-personnel evaluations and decisions. "I'm always amazed that more people don't do this, because even if you were a skeptic, you need to understand that stuff just to know how your opponents were thinking," MacPhail said. "It has always been part of everywhere that I've been." This is a critical time for the Phillies. They are rebuilding, and they have several veterans they can trade to speed up that process, with Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon leading the way. MacPhail will advise Gillick and Amaro about potential trades before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Gillick has final say until October. "When it ultimately comes to it, I'm going to make the call," Gillick said. "It's really critical that Andy participates in these decisions, whether or not he's actually making them," Middleton said. "He needs to see the dynamics between people, listen to the way they talk and how they interact with each other. He needs to ask questions. And that's why I said about using the next three months to learn the organization. That's what I said about listening and observing. I think it's critical that he's part of those conversations. "That's why we made the decision now. We wanted to make it as soon as we possibly could make it, because we wanted to get Andy involved in the organization as soon as possible and with the most amount of time so he could possibly learn before it was turned over to him." Middleton's presence at the news conference was meaningful. He and the team's other ownership partners have avoided the spotlight in the past. "I think when you make a decision of that magnitude, I think the ownership group has to come forward and understand that they are the ones making the decision," Middleton said. "We own this decision. … The ownership group has shrunk. The Bucks and my family have an increasingly larger position. And with that comes a bigger level of responsibility than it was 20 years ago, and with that, you have to step up. "Andy is going to have complete decision-making authority, just as Pat has and David had and Bill [Giles] had before David. You don't want us making baseball decisions, trust us. But we're going to be asking questions of the people who are involved in that process of getting information, sifting through it and making the decision. We need to be comfortable that they are crossing their T's and dotting the I's. And that's not going to change."

A Half Season To Prepare – The Phillies formally introduced Andy MacPhail, who has had success as an executive with three franchises, as their next club president Monday. At first glance, it looked like a safe, conservative decision. A tee shot down the middle rather than trying for the green with a more risky drive over a water hazard. A second glance, to MacPhail's immediate right on the dais at Citizens Bank Park, disproved that assumption. There sat John Middleton, a member of the ownership group. That's a big deal. It was the first outward and visible sign that the way the Phillies now conduct their business has changed significantly. And it's not just that Middleton revealed that the Phils will jump headfirst into advanced analytics for the first time when their own proprietary computer program -- to be called PHIL -- comes on line in September. For the last 34 years, the Phillies' partnership agreement gave new meaning to the concept of silent partners. The team president, first Bill Giles and later Dave Montgomery, had the final say on all decisions and spoke for the group. The investors remained unseen and unheard, and that's just the way it was. No more. Middleton said he believes it's important that the president represent the organization for baseball-related issues after Pat Gillick steps aside and MacPhail ascends at the end of the regular season. But the 60-year-old billionaire also made it perfectly clear that he isn't going to be content to passively sit in the shadows and root, root, root for the home team. "I foresee it being more of a public role when it deals with more significant ownership-level kinds of decisions," Middleton said. Middleton owns just under half of the Phillies' stock, as do cousins Pete and Jim Buck. He certainly can't be faulted for wanting to have a more active role in looking after his investment. Middleton has been exerting more influence for a while now, attending the quarterly Owners Meetings, for example. Now that involvement is out in the open. Monday's unveiling of MacPhail was his coming-out party as well. This isn't to say that the Phils didn't want to win before. The fact that they've had one of the highest payrolls in baseball for years demonstrates that. Still, the emphasis being placed on success has never been stated quite this bluntly and specifically. "When we were interviewing Andy, we made it clear to him that we expected him to devote the majority of his time to the baseball side of the business," Middleton said early in his preamble. "To improve the farm system and ultimately the Major League team. Every other consideration was secondary to that goal." Turning to MacPhail: "The pledge Jim, Pete and I made to you when we extended the offer is that you will have access to whatever resources you need to succeed." During the question-and-answer portion of the news conference, Middleton was asked directly if his presence signaled a change in approach from ownership. "I think the single most important thing an ownership group does is hire the person in charge of the business," he said. "And I think when you made a decision of that magnitude, the ownership group has to come forward and make sure that people understand that they are the ones who made the decision. Jim, Pete and I had the conversations. Jim, Pete and I had the deliberations privately. Jim, Pete and I reached out to different people. "This is not a decision that we delegated, much less abdicated. We own this decision. That's an important part of the accountability that we think we had." Middleton went on to dispute any notion that his goal is to gain a majority ownership stake in the team. "I'm very happy where I am now," he said. Where Middleton is now is front and center, although he joked that he hopes he doesn't have to appear about hiring a new president any time soon. But he conceded that there's been a significant change in the way the Phillies do business, partly because many of the original owners have sold their shares. "There's been an evolution within the franchise over the last several years," Middleton said. "As the ownership group has shrunk, the Bucks and my family have had an increasingly larger position. And with that comes a responsibility that's a little different from what it was 25 years ago, and you have to kind of step up. "Pete, Jim and I have been much more involved with the issues at an earlier stage than we were five years ago, for example. And that's not going to change. We're going to be there asking questions. You don't want us making baseball decisions, trust me. But I think we need to be asking hard questions of the people who are involved in that process. We need to be comfortable that they're crossing all their T's and dotting all their I's." And, if need be, nudging the organization along. It's not just a coincidence that there will be more of an emphasis on sabermetric analysis in the future. Middleton shook his head when asked if he was surprised at how the Phils have lagged in that area. "No, because I was aware enough with what was going on in previous years to kind of know where we are," he said. And why has that changed? "Because I'm in the position to make a hiring decision and make that happen," Middleton said without hesitation. Make no mistake. Hiring MacPhail is hugely significant with possible longlasting repercussions. But it only begins to suggest the way the Phillies are now a different operation than they've been.

Old And New School – Like an eager high school student, Andy MacPhail, hired Monday to become the new Phillies president at the end of the season, was prepared for the pop math quiz his new bosses surprised him with. Unlike a high school math quiz though, the questions Phillies owners Jim Buck, Pete Buck and John Middleton asked MacPhail weren't about algebra or trigonometry. They were about new-age baseball thinking and the emphasis MacPhail would put on sabermetrics upon becoming president. MacPhail's answers impressed Middleton. "Andy is a rare combination of both old-school experience and new-age thinking," Middleton said. "Old school because he has been doing this for a very long time. … New-age thinking because in the five years he spent as president of baseball operation for the Orioles, Andy greatly expanded the use of sabermetrics and statistical analysis in player evaluations." To MacPhail, that expansion of sabermetric ideology in Baltimore was a culmination of what he had done in his previous stops. MacPhail said he made use of analytics as the general manager of the Twins in the 1980s and '90s, well before the "Moneyball" era in Major League Baseball. In order to help MacPhail in immersing the Phillies deeper into the analytics movement, Middleton said that the Phils are launching and developing their own sabermetric system, custom made for their needs. Middleton expects this system -- to be called PHIL -- to go live in September. Despite his history in dealing with statistical analysis and predictive algorithms, MacPhail said he doesn't necessarily understand the math that goes into these formulas but rather tries to surround himself with both people who do understand them and people who are skeptical of them. "The more experience you have with it and the more you get a better sense of which formulas really are predictors of performance and which ones aren't, it's something that knowledge accrues over time," MacPhail said. "But I think it's absolutely essential that you marry that with the best human intelligence you can. Bodies change. Weaknesses get exposed and they get exploited. People make adjustments. So you need to look at every single facet that is possible when you're making player evaluations." This attitude out of MacPhail is slightly different than what the organization has been accustomed to from its front office. General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has admitted that the Phillies were latecomers to the analytics era, but he maintains that they were only late because conventional wisdom was working for the team. "One thing that we do have to remember also is that we have a lot of success and put together maybe some of the best baseball teams we've ever put together without necessarily having a proprietary system," Amaro said. "That doesn't mean we didn't utilize some of the analytics that were available to us. But at the same time, we did have success without that proprietary system." It's there where MacPhail's marriage of metrics and scouting will come into play. Both the Phils of recent memory and some of MacPhail's past stops proved that teams can be successful without a large-scale emphasis on sabermetrics. But in the same way, MacPhail mentioned the reclamation processes the Royals, Rays and Pirates have undergone as an example of how new-age thinking works, too. So to MacPhail, the two approaches need to be considered equally. "When it comes to that sort of thing, I believe you look at everything," he said. "Absolutely everything. Why would you exclude any information? You're going to try to do every piece of homework you can to push the odds of being successful in your favor." Middleton agreed. "You have to be comfortable at looking at anything you can possibly look at to get some sort of edge competitively to make a better decision," he said. "So it's just inconceivable to me that you'd hire somebody who just shut out a big chunk of valuable information. I wouldn't do it."

Time To Evaluate – Phillies ownership partner John Middleton said Monday that Andy MacPhail will have every resource at his disposal to rebuild the Phils. That includes money. "The mandate is to win," Middleton said at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies introduced MacPhail as the next team president. "We're telling Andy and his team that you need to tell us what you need to win. We're not going to hand him a budget and tell him, 'You get to spend 'X' dollars next year.' We're going to tell him and say, 'You tell us what you can do for this team in order to win.' We want him to create the best team for the Phillies for it to have success in the long run. And we're out to fund that." But MacPhail will need good people around him, too. So he plans to spend the next three-plus months evaluating the entire baseball operations department. That includes general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., whose contract expires at the end of the season, as well as finding the next on-field manager. Pete Mackanin is the interim manager through the homestand, which ends Thursday. "As you go through the three months, you're going to learn a lot about the system," MacPhail said. "And you're going to try to discern, eventually in three months when this highly-paid-in-charge-of-nothing-gig runs out, you're going to have to discern the best way to move forward. And what is the quickest most efficient way to get there? And whatever decisions follow as a result of that, they follow." Multiple sources mentioned Angels assistant general manager Matt Klentak, 34, as somebody MacPhail might be interested in as general manager. MacPhail hired Klentak in March 2008, when he was with the Orioles, making him one of the youngest executives in baseball. MacPhail said Monday he has no list of candidates for any potential openings. But openings are expected. Ryne Sandberg created one Friday when he resigned as manager. He said he saw changes coming to the organization and essentially figured he would not be part of the future. Amaro said he does not feel the same way. "Listen, I believe in being a Philadelphia Phillie for my life," Amaro said. "My goal is to work with Andy and Pat and to get our organization back to the level it's been. "I can't worry about what decisions Andy or Pat are going to be making as far as my personal status is concerned. My goal is to try to get us back to where we need to be. And as far as my status is concerned, I just need to go out and do my job. We've made some decisions that have worked and some that haven't. This is a cyclical game and I understand that. At the same time, I think we're on a very good path right now and I'm hopeful that I'm part of getting us back to where we need to be." Gillick said Mackanin's status will be announced following this week's homestand. "We're not going to make the decision on a manager for 2016 now," Gillick said. "It will be an interim position, whoever it is. After I leave, Andy or whoever the general manager is, they're going to make the decision who the manager is for 2016. That's the decision that lies with them. We don't want to hire a permanent manager right now, because I think that wouldn't be the right thing to do. That will be Andy and whoever the GM that would be their decision."

More Changes Ahead – On a day the Phillies hired Andy MacPhail as the next team president, signifying the beginning of a new era, it was somewhat easy to forget about the team of the present. But as interim manager Pete Mackanin said after Monday's 7-4 loss to Milwaukee, losing years are sometimes the best years to evaluate talent. "We want to get [young players] in there as much as possible," Mackanin said. "I think this is a good year to find out about guys." With that quote, Mackanin was referring to the would-be offensive core of the Phillies of the future; players like Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco, Darin Ruf and Odubel Herrera. But the sentiment also stands for the inverse. This year has also afforded the Phillies the possibility to evaluate pitching talent, both young and old, and see who can perform to varying degrees of success. One such player has been Sean O'Sullivan. The 27-year-old in his sixth season in the bigs allowed a season high in hits Monday with 12, giving up six runs in five innings and getting his sixth loss of the year. His ERA jumped to 5.76 after the outing, now the highest of any pitcher on the Phillies' active roster. To O'Sullivan, his lack of success Monday night stemmed from his inability to capitalize on favorable situations. "I think I was ahead of guys all night," O'Sullivan said. "The problem was putting them away when I was ahead in the count. I think in the first, third, fifth [innings] it was get a couple of guys on, minimize the damage. But offense hands you a four-run lead you can't get lit up. Tonight's really on me." Mackanin said he had to be careful with O'Sullivan's innings knowing that the bullpen was not at full strength after pitching 7 1/3 innings of Sunday's doubleheader. This led Mackanin to have to be "a little creative" the third time through the lineup. As creative as Mackanin was, six of the nine players in the Brewers' lineup reached base the third time through the lineup, with five hits. With Chad Billingsley returning from the disabled list Thursday to start the final game of this four-game series vs. the Brewers, the Phillies are about to have one too many arms in the rotation. Based on whose spot in the rotation Billingsley is filling, it would appear that Adam Morgan is the odd arm out. But based off of Morgan's performance in his one full start two Sundays ago, he might factor in as another one of the young cogs Mackanin wants to keep around, and one of the more veteran pitchers might be the man sent down to the Minors or designated for assignment. This uncertainty in the back end of the rotation extends even to Mackanin, who said he isn't sure who will remain on the roster and who, if anyone, will be sent down. "I have to talk to [general manager] Ruben [Amaro] and [pitching coach Bob McClure] with the situation in the bullpen," Mackanin said. "We're going to discuss it. I'm not sure what the move is going to be right now. As we know we'll let you know."

Final All Star Push – With his stellar June, Maikel Franco is making a legitimate case to be the Phillies' representative at the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. But he'll need some help from the fans by using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. Entering Monday's series opener with the Phillies, Franco was batting .374 in June with an OPS of 1.112 in 99 at-bats. Those marks have improved his batting average on the season to .304 and his eight June home runs pushed his total into double digits with 10, second on the team to Ryan Howard despite almost 100 fewer at-bats. Franco is also second on the team in RBIs and tied for third in runs scored. If Franco is elected to the All-Star team, it would make him the first rookie third baseman to represent the National League as an All-Star since Albert Pujols in 2001. Among Phillies pitching candidates, Jonathan Papelbon stands out. Papelbon has a 1.82 ERA in 29 appearances and is 14-for-14 in save situations. The three runs he's allowed in June are the most runs he's allowed in any month this year. Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots. Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info. The 2015 All-Star starters will be unveiled on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on the Esurance All-Star Starters Selection Show on ESPN. Then on Monday at 7 p.m. ET, the All-Star reserves, pitchers and Final Vote candidates will be announced on the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN, immediately after which fans can return to MLB.com to begin casting their 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Votes for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. Final Vote ends Friday, July 10, at 4 p.m. ET. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities. The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 27-51. 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 43-67-1 on this day.

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