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Points allowed during 1st quarter this season by Penn State

Nick Foles’ greatest weapon is his mind. Even amidst a sea of doubters and critics, Foles’ self-confidence allows him to brush aside the criticism and should fuel another tremendous season.

Jeremy Hellickson’s struggles make it less likely the Phillies can acquire anything of value at the trade deadline. In this Phillies Notebook, Eric Fisher also examines the importance of top draft picks, Scott Kingery’s situation and the Phillies’ bench woes.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions about the Phillies’ spring training numbers, the Eagles going for a position of extreme need in the first round, and the draft prospects of Temple’s Haason Reddick.

Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

Phillies Notebook: Making room for prospects

Posted by Eric Fisher On September - 11 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

When a team has the worst record in Major League Baseball, it can’t afford to part with many assets. But the Phillies, with the worst record in baseball, may trade their team leader in home runs (who also happens to be the team co-leader in RBI) and their co-leaders in triples, one of whom also is their best defensive player.

And they might not get too much in return for any of them.

Why the rush to trade these players? Because they’re blocking the paths of some of the Phillies’ top prospects.

First baseman Tommy Joseph, who leads the Phillies with 21 home runs and is tied with Maikel Franco for the team lead in RBI (66), is directly in the path of the phenomenal Rhys Hoskins, who is climbing the home run leaderboard with 14 in 31 games.

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who is batting .289, and Gold Glove shortstop candidate Freddy Galvis will likely be replaced at some point by Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford. Crawford was called up to the majors last week. The only thing that is likely to prevent Kingery from starting next season with the Phillies is his contract situation. The Phillies can delay Kingery becoming eligible for arbitration and free agency by delaying his ascension to the big leagues next season.

The dilemma for the Phillies is they might lose their current statistics leaders for a negligible return. They tried to trade Joseph at the mid-summer trade deadline, but didn’t find an appetizing return. Hernandez may bring a prospect or two in return. Galvis is a superb fielder, so he might bring a bit more in return, but his .253 average might scare teams away from giving up too much for him.

If the Phillies can’t get much for Joseph, they might have to give him away. Barring injury, there’s no question that Hoskins will be the starting first baseman next season.

There is a little more doubt about Crawford. The Phillies have him in the majors this month so they can make a more informed decision about him – and about Galvis. Hernandez may stick around until Kingery is promoted, although the Phillies would certainly trade him during the offseason for the right price.

Teams, especially bad ones, usually can’t afford to trade team leaders in home runs and triples.

With top prospects waiting in the wings, however, the Phillies almost can’t afford not to trade them.

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SLOW START: Six games are too few from which to draw conclusions, but J.P. Crawford is batting .200 after six games. He has seven strikeouts and hasn’t walked.

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STREAK OVER: Freddy Galvis started the first 140 games this season at shortstop before being replaced by Crawford in the starting lineup Friday. Galvis pinch-hit, so he still has played in every Phillies game this season.

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HERRERA’S FOLLIES: Odubel Herrera continues to be an incredibly frustrating player. On the one hand, he compiled a 21-game hitting streak (which ended last week). On the other hand, on Saturday he broke in on a ball that sailed over his head in center field, and then jogged back to the wall to get it while the Nationals’ Michael Taylor circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam.

I’m tired of the “Odubel is just being Odubel” crowd. Breaking in on the ball was a mistake. Failing to hustle to retrieve the ball after making the mistake is unacceptable. How many times does Herrera have to fail to hustle before the Phillies decide to trade him?

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CROWDED HOUSE: With Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr coming off the disabled list, the Phillies have a crowded outfielder, particularly with Rhys Hoskins playing left field at times so Tommy Joseph can start at first base.

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LIVELY ARM: Ben Lively suffered the loss Sunday against the Nationals, but he made his third straight solid start. Lively struck out seven and allowed three runs in eight innings during the 3-2 loss. Unfortunately for Lively, his mound opponent was Stephen Strasburg, who limited the Phillies to two hits hurling eight shutout innings, extending his streak of scoreless innings to 34.

Lively has only allowed six runs in his last three starts. Despite a 3-6 record, his ERA this season has improved to a respectable 3.86.

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AWARD WINNERS: Second baseman Scott Kinger and pitcher Tom Eshelman were named winners of the Paul Owens Award as the best position player and pitcher in the Phillies’ minor-league system. Kingery batted .304, with 26 home runs and 29 doubles in a season that started with Class AA Reading and finished with Class AAA Lehigh Valley. Eshelman also was promoted to Class AAA during the season, finishing a combined 13-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 23 starts.

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VELASQUEZ HAS SURGERY: Vince Velasquez is expected to be ready for spring training after having surgery to address circulations problems in his right hand and middle finger. The question is whether he will be considered for the starting rotation or the bullpen if he’s ready for spring training. How many more chances will Velasquez receive to be a starting pitcher?

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SHUTDOWN RELIEVER: The Phillies have shut down reliever Jesen Therrien for the rst of the season to an injury to the ulna collateral ligament in his right elbow. If surgery were to be required to fix the problem, that would be a major surgery best known as Tommy John surgery.

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HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: Reliever Juan Nicasio barely had time to unpack his bags. He made two appearances for the Phillies after being picked up on waivers from the Pirates before the Phillies sent him to the Cardinals for infield prospect Eliezer Alvarez. Nicasio posted a 1-0 record while hurling 1 1/3 scoreless innings. That’s quite a Phillies career.

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STREAKING: The Indians take an 18-game winning streak into Monday’s games. At the other end of the Spectrum, the Dodgers have lost 10 straight games. Even so, the Dodgers built such a big cushion that they still have a nine-game lead in the National League West.

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AVOIDING CENTURY CITY: With 16 of their final 19 games at home, the Phillies (54-89) need to win nine games to avoid finishing the season with 100 or more losses. They start that home stretch Tuesday with the opener of a three-game series with the Marlins. That will be followed with three games against the visiting A’s, who are in last place in the AL West, before hosting the Dodgers for four games.

Phils Notebook: Daulton’s presence will be felt

Posted by Eric Fisher On August - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

This week’s Alumni Weekend will have a somber feel. Not only won’t the long-awaited induction of Pete Rose into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame take place, but the death of Darren Daulton will also cast a heavy shadow over the gathering.

Rose’s induction was canceled after the filing of sworn testimony from a woman stating that she had a sexual relationship with Rose while he was with the Reds during the 1970s before she was 16 years old, the age of consent in Ohio. Considering that Rose’s defense is that he thought she was 16 – he was married and had kids at that time – the Phillies made the appropriate decision to cancel the ceremony and Rose bobblehead giveaway.

Without Rose’s induction, something would have been missing from the atmosphere at Alumni Weekend. But the loss of Daulton means the weekend will be missing something far greater.

Daulton wasn’t scheduled to appear at Alumni Weekend. His condition had deteriorated during the past nine months. Still, the death of the extremely popular will unquestionably be felt during Alumni Weekend, which kicks off on Thursday.

Daulton was as popular with his teammates as he was with the fans. It’s not an exaggeration to say that they loved and respected him.

As Daulton said at the end of his induction ceremony, the fans are also part of his family. The family, including his “brothers” that played on the team with him, will certainly feel an emptiness from his physical absence, but Daulton’s spirit may be very much alive this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.

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SIGNIFICANT LOSSES: Darren Daulton is the fourth former Phillie to die this year. Former pitcher and United States senator Jim Bunning, Dallas Green and Ruben Amaro Sr. also passed away this year.

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UPS AND DOWNS: After finishing their homestand with a five-game winning streak, the Phillies promptly went out and lost the first five games of their road trip. The Phillies were swept by the Angels and then lost the first two games of their series with Rockies before avoiding another sweep in the series finale.

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WORST AGAIN: The five-game winning streak temporarily moved the Phillies ahead of the Giants, so they no longer had the worst record in Major League Baseball. The five-game losing streak, though, returned the Phillies (40-69) to the basement, with the Giants improving to 44-70.

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HERNANDEZ IS HOT: Cesar Hernandez enters Tuesday’s game against the Braves with an 11-game hitting streak. He has two hits in seven of those games, raising his batting average to .294.

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REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: What has happened to Luis Garcia? After a sensational July, during which he allowed one run in 14 appearances, Garcia gave up runs and suffered losses on back-to-back days last week against the Angels and Rockies. The only run he allowed in July came on July 30, ending a scoreless streak that lasted 21 1/3 innings, the longest single-season scoreless streak by a Phillies reliever since current broadcaster Larry Andersen hurled 32 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in 1984.

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EFLIN GETS CALL: Zach Eflin has been recalled from Class AAA Lehigh Valley to face the Braves tonight (Tuesday). Eflin was sent down to Lehigh Valley after compiling an 0-3 record and 6.13 ERA in eight starts earlier this season with the Phillies.

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POSITION SWITCH: With the Phillies having Tommy Joseph at first base, hot prospect Rhys Hoskins started in left field Monday for Lehigh Valley. If Hoskins can play adequate defense in left field, it will enable him to have more playing time – instead of platooning with Joseph – when he’s called up by the Phillies.

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DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS: Credit goes to WIP’s Rob Charry, who provided this interesting tidbit (which I’ve updated) during a pregame program last weekend. When the Phillies faced the Dodgers in late April, the Phillies were 11-9 and the Dodgers were 11-12. Since the start of that series, the Dodgers are an amazing 68-20, while the Phillies are 29-57.

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WIDE-OPEN RACE: In contrast to the National League playoff race, which I summarized in my last Phillies Notebook, the American League playoff race is wide open. The only certainty seems to be that the AL West-leading Astros (71-40) will be in the postseason.

The Red Sox and Indians only lead the AL East and Central by three games, respectively. The Yankees, who are in second place in the AL East, are the top wild card team. The Rays and Royals, who are in second place in the AL Central, are tied for the second wild card berth. The Mariners are one game behind the Royals and Rays, the Orioles are 1½ games behind, and the Twins are 2½ games behind. Their sweep of the Phillies has helped the Angels climb within three games of the final wild card berth, and the Rangers (53-58) are only four games behind.

It should be a wild playoff race in the American League.

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After completing their eight-game road trip with games against the Braves on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Phillies will return home for a four-game series with the Mets before embarking on a West Coast trip that takes them to San Diego for three games and then San Francisco for four games.

Carson Wentz owes Jake Elliott some money