Friday, July 17, 2015

Phillies Return To Action (Or Inaction) Tonight!

GAME RECAP: Phillies Defeat Day Off
They may not win games but when it comes to doing nothing no one can touch the Phillies.

  • 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.


Let’s See What He Can Do – When the Philadelphia Phillies took Aaron Nola with the seventh pick of the 2014 Draft, they were hopeful he'd be the type of college starting pitcher who made it quickly to the Major Leagues. The right-hander, who is ranked No. 28 on's Top 100 Prospects list, is poised to make his debut in Philadelphia vs. the Rays on Tuesday, so it turns out they were right. Nola was the most advanced pitcher in the 2014 Draft class, and it was clear the LSU product's combination of solid stuff and impeccable command would allow him to make quick work of the Minor Leagues. He did just that, beginning his first full season of pro ball in Double-A and earning a promotion to Triple-A after just 12 starts. Nola was arguably the best starting pitcher in the Eastern League in those dozen appearances, posting a 1.88 ERA and a .219 batting average against. The number that stands out the most, though, was the nine walks he allowed (compared to 59 strikeouts) in 76 2/3 innings. That's a 1.1 BB/9 ratio. The 22-year-old hasn't been quite as dominant in Triple-A, with a 3.58 ERA and .288 BAA over six starts, though the numbers were mostly inflated because of Nola's most recent start on Thursday, when he gave up five earned runs on seven hits over three innings. Prior to that, he had allowed eight runs in 29 2/3 innings (2.43 ERA). While Nola was a little more hittable, he also missed more bats (9.1 K/9). His walk rate went up a bit (2.5 BB/9), but he still has a miniscule 1.5 BB/9 ratio for his brief pro career. That rate would put Nola in the top 10 among all big league pitchers this season. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Nola doesn't look like the prototypical starter, but that shouldn't deter anyone from thinking he can get the job done at the highest level. Nola is obviously never going to hurt himself with walks, but not only can he throw strikes, he commands the ball well within the zone. His 60 control grade (on the 20-80 scouting scale) might actually be a little conservative. Sometimes, command and control pitchers are assumed to be soft-tossers. While Nola doesn't blow people away, don't mistake him for a finesse arm. He throws his fastball in the low-90s, and it plays up because he can locate it to both sides of the plate, and it has a ton of life to it thanks to his three-quarters arm slot. Nola has a plus changeup at times, and his slider has gotten better within the past year. That gives him three offerings that are Major League average or better, he can throw all of them for strikes at any point in the count. Nola is smart on the mound and understands his craft well. Even if he takes some lumps -- most young pitchers do at some point early in their career -- look for him to make necessary adjustments to get big league hitters out. Outside of the low walk rate, don't expect eye-popping numbers from Nola right out of the gate. He'll miss some bats, but he won't be a huge strikeout guy. Nola will pitch to contact, which could mean a fair amount of base hits. But he's going to keep his team in the game nearly all of the time, and he'll be efficient enough to pitch deep into games, especially once he settles in. Performances similar to Rays righty Jake Odorizzi are reasonable to see from Nola going forward.

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 54-50-1 on this day.

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