Friday, July 15, 2016

Almost Ready For The Second Half

GAME RECAP: No Game Yesterday
Phillies enjoyed a final day off before resuming play tonight against the Mets.

  • Left-hander Daniel Stumpf returned to the Phillies July 10 after serving an 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Philadelphia acquired Stumpf from Kansas City last December in the Rule 5 Draft. He pitched in three games before being suspended.
  • Active members of the Mets have hit a combined .307 against Hellickson, with Jose Reyes having recorded a .381 batting average to go along with one homer and four RBIs.
  • Mets manager Terry Collins has expressed hope that Yoenis Cespedes would be ready to play by the end of the All-Star break. Cespedes, who sustained a right quad strain July 8, leads the Mets with 21 homers and 52 RBIs. In 26 at-bats against the Phillies in the first half of the year, Cespedes hit .269 with three homers and six RBIs.

After limping into the All-Star break with a slew of injuries to key players, the Mets turn to Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.61 ERA) to set the tone for the second half of the season July 15 against the Phillies, who counter with Jeremy Hellickson (6-6, 3.92 ERA). deGrom and Bartolo Colon have been the only regular members of the Mets' starting rotation to avoid injury issues in recent weeks. Matt Harvey opted for season-ending surgery to repair his thoracic outlet syndrome, while Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard have both been pitching through bone spurs; Syndergaard left his start July 8 with a "dead arm." Hellickson has provided a veteran presence in a young Phillies pitching staff, but his name has floated around in trade rumors. The Mets could be in the market for a starter given all their issues, but there's been no indication Hellickson could be an option for them.


Trade Possibilities – The Phillies will be on a 10-game road trip before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, traveling through Pittsburgh, Miami and Atlanta. The front office, meanwhile, will be back at Citizens Bank Park, meeting and talking with teams about potential trades that could benefit its rebuild. But while the Phillies have players to trade, they are highly unlikely to put together anything resembling the blockbuster deal they made with the Rangers for Cole Hamels last July. Still, the Phils could make things interesting. The Phillies have players who could interest contending teams. It starts with right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, but others -- like Peter Bourjos, Jeanmar Gomez, Cody Asche,Carlos Ruiz and Andres Blanco -- could be had at the right price. Philadelphia has prospects at Triple-A Lehigh Valley who could see promotions soon, like outfielder Nick Williams and top prospect J.P. Crawford. That could put other Phils on the trade block as the organization tries to make room for them. Here is a look at what the second half could hold for the Phillies and the upcoming Trade Deadline: TRADE SCENARIO: It is important to remember that without a talent like Hamels, the Phillies should expect more modest returns. That holds true with Hellickson. While he certainly could help the back end of a rotation, remember what the Marlins got last season for Dan Haren and what the Mariners got for J.A. Happ: a couple Minor Leaguers not ranked among Miami's Top 30 Prospects and Triple-A pitcher Adrian Sampson, respectively. If the Phils could get one projectable piece for Hellickson, it probably would be good enough. WHAT ARE THEY PLAYING FOR? Like the first half, the second half is about the future. Players have shown flashes of their potential in the first half, some more than others. But if they want to be part of the Phillies' future, they will need to prove it before the offseason. That holds especially true for players like Tommy Joseph, Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez and Asche. THE ROAD AHEAD: Phillies president Andy MacPhail said late last month that he would expect some prospects to be promoted at some point, provided they earn it. It would not be a surprise to see Williams and Crawford up at some point. Jake Thompson is pitching well, but the Phils will need to make room for him in the rotation. KEY PLAYER: It would be easy to mention Hellickson here because he seems to be the focus anytime anybody mentions potential trades involving the Phillies. But Bourjos suddenly has become very interesting. He is brilliant defensively, he runs the bases very well and he has been hitting at a ridiculous pace of late. If Bourjos stays hot through the rest of the month, he could be an attractive piece to a team looking for outfield help. PROSPECTS TO WATCH: It starts with Williams, Crawford and Thompson. Catcher Andrew Knapp could see some time in September. Ben Lively has pitched well this season, but would he earn a promotion over Thompson?

Today In Phils History – Steve O’Neill was fired as manager on this day in 1954 and replaced with Terry Moore. In 1968, with a win over the Mets, the Phillies set a team record for the longest undefeated road trip at 7 games. 10 years later, Jose Cardenal hit into an around the horn triple play against the Braves. This Phillies set a MLB record druing their 16 inning, 3-2, loss to the Astros in 1984 when they issued 7 intentional walks. It was on this day in 2009, when the Phillies signed future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez who would go on to help them reach a second consecutive World Series. The following season, the Cubs Starlin Castro, the 1st MLB player born in the 90’s hit a triple off of Jamie Moyer who was 17 years and 8 months his senior.  

The Phillies are currently 42-48 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 45-58-0 on this day. I expect the Phillies to finish in the bottom half of the division but not last in the NL East by finishing the season with a 77-85 record.

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