Thursday, July 16, 2015

Keep Watching The Phillies’ Young Talent

GAME RECAP: No Game, No Fanfare

Hey Pete, I bet you the Phillies finish in past place this season!
Nice not having seen the Phillies take a loss this week… yet!

  • The Phillies don't have much history facing Fernandez, but one player who has enjoyed success off him is Freddy Galvis, who is 3-for-6. Chase Utley, who's on the DL, is 2-for-9.
  • The Marlins and Phillies will meet for their third series this year, and second in Philadelphia. Miami holds a 4-2 advantage in the season series.
  • Dee Gordon, Miami's All-Star second baseman, is not expected to go on the disabled list. The Marlins are aiming to reinstate third baseman Martin Prado (right shoulder) from the DL, and he's a candidate to be a short-term option at second beginning Friday.
After the All-Star break, the club returns home to open a three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Friday night. Left-hander Adam Morgan makes his fourth career start as he squares off against the Marlins' Jose Fernandez. Morgan is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in his rookie season. The Marlins' ace, who made both of his first-half starts in Miami, will open the second half against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Friday. Fernandez already has regained his old form, notching wins in each of his first two starts back from Tommy John surgery. While the hard-throwing right-hander has dominated at Marlins Park (14-0, 1.17 ERA) in his career, he has been vulnerable on the road, where he is 4-8 with a 3.93 ERA. He is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his career in Philadelphia. The Phillies are starting the series off with rookie Adam Morgan, who is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in three starts. The lefty has 12 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings, and this will be his second home start. He's lost back-to-back decisions on the road after opening his career with a 5 2/3-innings win over the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park on June 21.


“Highlights” From The First Half – It has not been pretty, but it has been interesting. The Phillies left Spring Training in April knowing they would struggle, but they never expected the struggles to be like this. The franchise is on pace for its first 100-loss season since 1961, thanks to an offense that lacks power, a rotation rarely lasts six innings and a farm system that is only now recovering after years of unlucky Drafts. But the action on the field has been almost overshadowed by the action off of it. Ryne Sandberg unexpectedly resigned on June 26, and just three days later, owner John Middleton introduced Andy MacPhail as the next team president. The rebuilding might take longer than anticipated, but there are plenty of things to watch in the second half. The Phillies are hoping to see more good things from Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis and the team's other young players, a contingent which is expected to include top pitching prospect Aaron Nola. A solid finish from the kids will have the front office and fans feeling better about where the organization is headed. FIVE KEY DEVELOPMENTS: 1. Andy in charge. Everybody finally knows who will lead the organization going forward. MacPhail is highly regarded and has an impressive resume. He will use the next few months to evaluate all aspects of the club, including trades, the front office and the performance of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. 2. The manager steps down. Sandberg must have seen the writing on the wall, because he cited the imminent arrival of a new team president as one reason he decided to walk away from the job he worked so hard to obtain. Pete Mackanin has handled himself well as Sandberg's replacement. 3. Maikel movin' up. Franco got promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 15, and so far, he has lived up to the hype. The Phillies had been desperate for a No. 3 hitter, and he has filled the role nicely. 4. The future infield? The Phils hope Franco, Hernandez and Galvis continue to hit in the second half. Franco is entrenched at third base, but with top prospect J.P. Crawford a year or two away, Hernandez and Galvis could be playing to be the future second baseman. 5. Rotation problems. Cliff Lee's left elbow never healed, which hurt the rotation's chances immediately. But other than Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang, the rotation has had more issues than anticipated. FIVE STORYLINES TO WATCH: 1. Trade 'em all. Are the Phillies going to trade Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Ben Revere and others? They have every reason to trade them, but the club has been unable to make a deal. The bet here is that the Phils and contending teams will reach agreements about Hamels and Papelbon before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. 2. What about Chase and Ryan? It will be more difficult to trade Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Amaro already has said Hernandez will be the team's No. 1 second baseman when Utley returns from the DL. How will Mackanin use Utley and Howard in the second half? 3. Welcome, Aaron. Nola is the organization's top pitching prospect, and fans have been clamoring for him since April. He should be promoted before the end of the month. Scouts do not see Nola as more than a mid-rotation arm, but let's be honest, the Phillies could use a good No. 3 right now. 4. Outfield, help! The Phillies' outfield has been one of the least productive in baseball. They would love to see some pop from Cody Asche and Domonic Brown in the second half. Time is running short on Brown, who has not produced consistently since the first half of the 2013 season. The Phils love Asche, but they need to see more from him. 5. Is Kenny ready? Assuming Papelbon gets his wish, Ken Giles will move into the closer's role. Is he ready for the job? Can he handle the pressure? He has pitched well this season, but closing is a whole different animal. FIRST-HALF AWARDS: MVP: Franco. The rookie has lived up to expectations, giving the Phillies a No. 3 hitter. Cy Young Award: Papelbon. It is likely that somebody else will be the team's best arm in the second half, though. Rookie: Franco. It will be interesting to see how pitchers adjust to him in the second half. Top reliever: Papelbon. Giles is poised to step into the closer's role when and if Papelbon is traded. PLAYERS TO WATCH IN SECOND HALF: Nola: The top pitching prospect should be in the big leagues before the end of the month. Utley: What will happen to the iconic second baseman once he returns from the DL? Hamels: Every time he takes the hill, it could be his last start in a Phils uniform.

That’s One Way To End A Game – Phillies prospect Brian Pointer won the Eastern League All-Star Game with a home run in the 11th round of a shootout-style derby. The Double-A Reading right fielder went 1-for-3 with a walk as the Eastern and Western Divisions finished tied, 4-4, after nine innings. Instead of continuing into extras, the two sides engaged in a new-age home run derby, with three batters on each side taking turns at whacking the ball out of Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine. Outside of a blast off the right-field wall by Brock Stassi, the first 21 attempts failed to get particularly close to leaving the park. Pointer popped up all three of his inital tries. But his fourth attempt was perfect and the lefty lifted a long fly into the right-field seats. "That was just pretty awesome," Pointer told after the derby ended. "Just to see it go out, ending this whole thing with a little bit of a saga at the end, I'm pretty much speechless right now. I'm just happy that we won it and happy to walk it off." Before the derby standoff, the East jumped out to an early lead, posting four runs in the first two innings with the help of Mets No. 2 prospect Brandon Nimmo, who doubled and scored as part of a three-run second inning. The West responded with one run in the third and then a three-spot in the seventh to tie the contest. Tigers No. 27 prospect Wynton Bernard helped out with an RBI triple and then scored on a single by Indians prospect Anthony Gallas. Neither side scored again, leading to the first-ever Derby tiebreaker. "That was crazy," Pointer said to "This was my first All-Star Game and to have a home run derby to walk it off, it's pretty unusual and pretty cool."

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 29-62. 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 58-47-0 on this day.

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