5

Home runs for Rhys Hoskins in 11 games since being called up by Phillies

Eric Fisher’s weekly column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on Carson Wentz’s NFL debut, they chances of Donovan McNabb and Brian Dawkins being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Allen Iverson’s Hall of Fame speech.

LeSean McCoy rushes for 130 yards and Cody Parkey makes five field goals as the Eagles roll past the Titans, 43-24. The Eagles (8-3) are entering an important three-game stretch in which they play the Cowboys twice.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on Villanova’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament, a pair of heartbreaking defeats for the Penn and Temple women’s teams, and the future of Penn State’s wrestling dynasty.

Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

Phillies Notebook: Decent return on trades

Posted by Eric Fisher On August - 1 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The final verdict on general manager Matt Klentak’s moves before the non-waiver trade deadline can’t be made for several years. For now, Klentak deserves credit for getting something in return for four of the Phillies’ five veterans with contracts that expire this year.

In return for starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, outfielder Howie Kendrick and relievers Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, the Phillies received one veteran outfielder, five pitching prospects and one minor-league infielder.

The prospects are almost all at the Class A level, so it’s impossible to know if they will become major league players. But, considering Hellickson, Kendrick, Neshek and Benoit could have departed during the offseason without the Phillies receiving anything in return, Klentak did a good job to get something of potential value in return.

Klentak didn’t have a Sonny Gray or anyone with enough value to bring back high-level prospects in return. He was trading rental players for the rest of the season.

The biggest haul came in return for Neshek, who was enjoying an excellent season (1.12 ERA in 40 1/3 innings) for the Phillies. Neshek was sent to the Rockies for shortstop Jose Gomez and right-handed pitchers J.D. Hammer and Alejandro Requena. Gomez, who has played several infield positions, was batting .324 this season with Class A Asheville. Requena, like his Asheville roommate Gomez, is 20 years old. Requena was 8-3 with a 2.85 ERA for Class A Asheville this season. Hammer, 23, has a 4-1 record and 1.20 ERA, with 47 strikeouts in 30 innings, for Asheville after starting the season with Lancaster, a higher-level Class A team.

Hellickson (6-5, 4.73 ERA) was sent to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, the only major-league player acquired at the trade deadline, and minor-league pitcher Garrett Cleavinger. Kim is batting .232 this season, but hit .302 in 2016. Cleavinger, a third-round draft pick in 2015, is 2-4 with a 6.28 ERA in Class AA Bowie. The Phillies also received international cash considerations, which is money that can used to scout and sign international players.

Howie Kendrick (.340 average) also made his way South on Route 95 at the trade deadline, going to the NL East-leading Nationals in exchange for left-handed prospect McKenzie Mills and international bonus money. Mills posted a 12-2 record and 3.01 ERA with Class A Hagerstown. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mills could develop into a major-league starter, but it’s far too early for an informed opinion on that matter.

Klentak completed his trade deadline moves by sending Benoit (4.07 ERA in 40 innings) and cash to the Pirates for reliever Seth McGarry, who was 1-0 with a 1.34 ERA in 40 1/3 innings with Class A Bradenton.

The only veteran with an expiring contract that Klentak didn’t trade was outfielder Daniel Nava, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He didn’t make a big splash by trading a starting position player or high-level prospect, but his restraint may turn out to be a positive factor.

The final verdict on Klentak’s moves won’t be rendered for at least a few years. For now, we can call Klentak’s trade deadline moves a short-term success. We’ll see if they pay off in the long run.

*****

MORE MOVES? Although the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, teams can still make trades through August 31 and have those players eligible for the postseason. The problem is the players being traded must first clear waivers.

Big salaries often discourage teams from claiming players on waivers. But the Phillies don’t have any high-salary players. If the Phillies try to trade first baseman Tommy Joseph or second baseman Cesar Hernandez to create playing time for Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery, it’s likely Joseph and Hernandez would be claimed during the waiver process.

*****

HISTORIC SWEEP: The Phillies’ sweep of the Braves was their first four-game sweep of the Braves in Philadelphia since 1949, when the Braves were based in Boston. It should be noted that there aren’t that many four-game series, but something that happens for the first time in 68 years is still newsworthy.

*****

STREAKING: The Phillies’ five-game winning streak is their second-longest streak this season, behind only a six-game winning streak in late April that occurred just before the season fell off the cliff. Sweeps of the Braves were part of both of these winning streaks.

*****

NO LONGER WORST: The Phillies’ current winning streak, which includes three straight one-run wins over the Braves, moved them ahead of the Giants in winning percentage, so the Phillies (39-64) no longer have the worst record in baseball.

*****

GARCIA EXCELS: With Pat Neshek traded to the Rockies, Luis Garcia is the best reliever on the roster. Garcia is 1-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 46 innings. His scoreless streak ended at 21 1/3 innings on Sunday, the longest single-season scoreless streak by a Phillies reliever since current broadcaster Larry Andersen hurled 32 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in 1984.

*****

ANDERSEN GETS HALL MENTION: The end of Luis Garcia’s scoreless innings streak wasn’t the only reason Phillies broadcaster Larry Andersen was in the news Sunday. He also was mentioned by Jeff Bagwell during his induction speech at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bagwell, a Red Sox prospect, was traded to the Astros in 1990 for Andersen, who helped the Red Sox make the playoffs that year.

“I asked who I got traded for,” Bagwell said, “and they said Larry Andersen. And I said, ‘Who is Larry Andersen?’ They said he is a relief pitcher for the Astros, and a really good one.

“Larry used to always get on me when I went to Philadelphia and say, ‘Hey man, you’ve got to step it up. People are not actually talking about me anymore.’ And I was like, yeah, OK. So I do the best I can and play my entire career, Larry. OK. I am (in the Hall of Fame): is that good enough for you?”

*****

NOT-SO-ROSEY SCENARIO: When the Phillies return home from their current road trip, their series against the Mets includes a Pete Rose bobblehead giveaway on August 11. The following night Rose is scheduled to be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame. But a woman claimed in a sworn statement in federal court on Monday that she had a sexual relationship with Rose during the 1970s before she was 16 years old, which would be statutory rape.

The statement was part of defense filings in Rose’s defamation suit against John Dowd over comments made during an interview with WCHE, a radio station based in West Chester. Dowd, who led Major League Baseball’s investigation into Rose’s gambling, which led to Rose’s banishment from baseball, said that a friend of Rose who ran bets for him also said he supplied Rose with underage girls “12 to 14” (Dowd’s words).

The legal moves and filings are obviously bad timing for the Phillies, who have had no comment thus far on whether the Rose promotions and induction to the team’s Wall of Fame will continue as scheduled.

*****

PLAYOFFS RACE ISN’T WILD: With more than one-third of the season remaining, the wild card berths in the National League seem virtually sewn up. The Diamondbacks (60-45) and Rockies (60-46) have solid holds on the wild card berths, with the Brewers, who are 5½ games behind, the closest pursuers. The Brewers’ best chance to make the playoffs is not the wild card. The Brewers, who have struggled since the All-Star break, are just 2½ games behind the Cubs in the NL Central, the only division with a competitive race for first place.

The Dodgers and Nationals have 14-game leads in the NL West and East, respectively. Barring a collapse by the Rockies or Diamondbacks, both of those teams have a clear path to the playoffs, leaving the Cubs and Brewers to battle it out for the final playoff berth.

*****

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Phillies take a five-game winning streak from their homestand on the road, where they will face the Angels, Rockies and Braves. The Phillies play the Angels on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before going to Colorado for a weekend series with the Rockies. After having Monday off, the Phillies go to Atlanta for two games with the Braves, who certainly will be looking to avenge the Phillies’ four-game sweep.

Feature on Darren Daulton's inspiring legacy