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Old 06-19-2019, 03:22 PM   #1
AlpineSK
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The Philadelphia Phillies

So I've had a few false starts.. I felt like my 1989 team started to grow a little fast, so i moved away from that game. Anyway, I started a 2019 campaign finally. I was going to do the Orioles since the Owner Expectations have been changed, and I still might eventually but first I thought I'd start a campaign with my favorite team: the Philadelphia Phillies. I am up to June 2, and I've been writing along the way, so I am going to start this up now, throw a bunch of posts in, and then go from there!

I hope you enjoy! Comments, questions, discussions as always are welcomed and encouraged.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:23 PM   #2
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Klentak Moves Up, Kier Moves In

March 2, 2019

Matt Klentak shocked the baseball world following the Winter Meetings when he announced that he would be stepping down as the team's general manager to take the position as special assistant to team president Andy MacPhail, a path that MacPhail took himself before succeeding Pat Gillick, the team's previous president.

"I'll be handing the reins over to assistant GM Scott Kier," Klentak said in the press conference, "but it will be a gradual process, as I still have some business to finish."

With big name free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper still on the market, it was easy to see that these guys would be his targets. Then on March 2nd, all speculation was put to rest as Harper put pen to paper on a 13 year, $330 million deal effectively commiting to play the rest of his career in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform. With the final piece that Klentak wanted to add to the franchise in place, the transition to Kier as GM took place a week later.

On March 10th, with his new office still filled with unpacked cardboard boxes, Kier started to get himself settled in to his new but familar job. He joined the Phillies coming from the Red Sox organization after serving as their scouting director during the 2013 season.

Kier spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons in the same capacilty with the Phillies. When the team parted ways with Ruben Amaro Jr at the conclusion of 2015 season, Kier was one of the holdovers when Klentak took over receiving a promotion to assistant GM.

A disciple of Theo Esptein and a fan of Billy Beane's style of roster management, Kier went out and hired the closest that he could get to his long time idol securing Paul DePodesta as his assistant GM.
"Matt left me set up pretty well," Kier said, "We're going to make some final roster decisions and then turn our sights towards the June draft."

The Phillies possess a potent, downright scary lineup. Kier has made it clear that he is eying a backup first baseman who can add pinch hitting depth behind Nick Williams and Scott Kingery.

The other dillemma rests in the bullpen. Kier was a big part of the trade that brought James Pazos to the Phillies from Seattle. It has been no secret that he wants the lefty on his major league roster, potentially as a left handed setup man. That leaves Adam Morgan and recently signed

Jose Alvarez as the potential odd men out. Both are formitable left handed pitchers, and both would have to clear waivers before being sent to the minors.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:24 PM   #3
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Three-Headed Monster to Close for Phillies

March 15, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - While discussing the challenges that his new franchise might have, the bullpen inevitably came up, and GM Scott Kier laid out the plan for the Phillies to start 2019. "Its going to be closer by committee for us," Kier said. The Phillies have three pitchers right now in David Robertson, Hector Neris and Seranthony Dominguez, and from all indications, each of them will see time in the late innings.

Kier spoke candidly about his team's current situation. "It really depends on your overall outlook," he said, "if you're an optomist, then we are lucky enough to have three guys who can fill a specific role with enough versatility to handle the 8th inning as well. If you're a pesamist, we lack a closer, plain and simple. Gabe (Kapler) and I have talked it over, and we think that this is the best decision to start the season."

Since 2016, Neris has 38 saves, Robertson has 56, and Dominguez has 16 saves whcih all in the 2018 campaign. While he has the highest career save total with 137, Robertson has spent the majority of his career in a setup role.

The trio will split time both in the 8th and 9th innings depending on availablility, who is hot, and the matchup that they might be up against. That leaves the 6th and 7th innings. Kier has said that the team will carry seven pitchers in its bullpen. That last four will most likely be Juan Nicasio, Pat Neshak, and southpaws James Pazos and Jose Alvarez. Adam Morgan will start his season at AAA.

The relationship between the Gm and the manager in Philadelphia is a unique one. Kier has made it clear that he is going to be involved in many decisions in an attempt to push the team to the top of the National League East.

"He's very hands on," said Kapler, "we've disagreed on some things, and he's been willing to budge, which is nice, but he's more hands on than any GM that I've encountered. We are learning to work together though."
Kier has openly said that he has faith in Kapler's abilities to manage.

"We've given him one heck of a lineup with five top notch starting fielders," he said, "Gabe should be able to do well with this roster."

The Phillies open up against the Atlanta Braves on March 28th.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:25 PM   #4
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Kier, Phillies Make Deal with Red Sox

March 20, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia Phillies took a step towards strengthening their farm system as GM Scott Kier made the first trade of his career. The Phillies sent RHP Edubray Ramos and OF Cornelius Randolph to Boston, receiving Major League catcher Christian Vazquez and a trio of minor leaguers in return.

Ramos had been pushed down the pecking order by the acquisitions of Dave Robertson and Juan Nicasio, ultimately landing him at AAA Lehigh Valley. Last season, the right handed reliever posted a record of 3-1 with a 2.32 ERA in 52 games. Randolph, the Phllies’ 2015 #1 draft pick and never been able to make it higher than AA Reading in the Phillies organization. Last season he hit .241 with 5 HR and 40 RBI for Reading.

Christian Vazquez might not seem like much standing in the batter’s box, but that’s not his value at the plate. The 28 year old who hit just .207 in his 80 games last season has a cannon of an arm and is an excellent fielding catcher. His acquisition will mean Andrew Knapp will head back to AAA.

The three minor leaguers included in the deal by Boston are 2B Gregori Custodio, RHP Durbin Feltman, and 3B Michael Chavis. Custodio, at just 17 years old, is an excellent 2B prospect. He has tremendous upside with little downside to having him in the organization. Feltman will be slotted into the closer role on what is shaping up to be a very competitive Reading Phillies team. Chavis, the best of the three prospects, will start the season at AAA Lehigh Valley. What he lacks with his glove at the hot corner he certainly can make up with his bat. He had some injury problems in 2018, but in 2017 he hit 31 HR and knocked in 94 runners in 126 games at A+ and AA.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:27 PM   #5
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Bryce and the "Other" Acquisitions

March 26, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Bryce Harper and his monster contract that will make him a career Philly has been the talk of the town for much of the offseason, however he is not the only new player who will be sporting a Phillies uniform this season. Before stepping down as general manager to take a bigger role with the team, Matt Klentak added some big names who are bound to have a noticeable impact to the Phillies. In today’s article, we will take a look at the fielders who are new to the team this season.

J.T. Realmuto – Catcher

How he was acquired: The Phillies traded RHP Sixto Sanchez, LHP Will Stewart, and catcher Jorge Alfaro to the Miami Marlins receiving Realmuto in return.

His contract: Realmuto is scheduled to make $5.9 million this season and is arbitration eligible during the 2019 offseason.

What he brings to the table: As a GM who likes to build from the back, Realmuto solidifies the Phillies at the catcher position. He is just 28 years old, and has shown a high baseball IQ allowing him to call a reliable, consistent game from behind the plate. He successfully threw out 21 runners last season, tying him with Alfaro for third in the NL.

At the plate, Realmuto might not walk as much as some might like, but he is a good contact hitter. He spent most of last season hitting 2nd or 3rd for the Marlins posting a .277 average while hitting 21 HR and knocking in 74 runners.

Where he fits in Philadelphia: Realmuto will most likely find himself close to the top of the lineup. He might not be the right fit for this team’s #2 hitter, but if they decide to push everyone down and park Harper in the cleanup spot, he could do some damage from the #3 hole.

Jean Segura – Shortstop

How he was acquired: The Phillies traded their failed first baseman experiment in Carlos Santana and shortstop J.P. Crawford to the Seattle Mariners. They received Segura, and pitchers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos in return.

What he brings to the table: Segura is a fantastic contact hitter. In each of the last three seasons his BABIP has been over .325, and while he walks roughly 5.5% of the time, he has still been able to post an OBP over .340. After striking out a career high 101 times in 2016, his K numbers dropped in each of his seasons in Seattle. This was probably aided by a reduction in his power numbers, as he took on a different role with the Mariners.

Where he fits in Philadelphia: One has to expect Segura to end up at the top of the Phillies’ order. He spent most of last season hitting #2 for the Mariners, and as a ground ball hitter who can hit to all fields, he might fit well there in Philadelphia as well, with Carlos Hernandez potentially retaining his grasp on the leadoff spot, at least to start the season.

Andrew McCutchen – Outfield

How he was acquired: McCutchen signed a three year deal worth $47 million with a fourth year as a team option.

What he brings to the table: McCutchen is a leader, first and foremost. At 32 years old, he’s been around the league long enough to know the ins and outs of the clubhouse. He also has post season experience with both the Pirates and the Yankees. McCutchen has considerable experience up and down the order, and while he strikes out a bit, he also has shown the ability to get on base, as he has posted a .378 OBP for his 11 year career.

Where he fits in Philadelphia: McCutchen could present the team with another option in the leadoff spot should things not work out with Hernandez. He could also find himself hitting either fifth or sixth in the lineup, depending on where they see Harper and Rhys Hoskins fitting in the middle of the order. Putting McCutchen behind either of those guys could go a long way in giving their two stud power hitters a considerable amount of protection.

Bryce Harper – Outfield

How he was acquired: In case you did not already know, Harper signed a thirteen year deal worth $330 million.

What he brings to the table: Harper is one of the best all around hitters in baseball. He gets on base, and he makes pitchers pay when they serve up the wrong pitch. Harper led the National League in walks last season with 130, and he set a career high with 100 RBIs.

Where he fits in Philadelphia: Wherever he wants. No, but seriously, Harper will make right field his home in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future, and he will slot into the third of fourth spot in the order for opening day, depending on the direction Kapler decides to go with his lineup.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:29 PM   #6
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Opening Day Roster Finalized

March 27, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA – With opening day and a three game set with Atlanta just a day away here in Philadelphia, the Phillies have finalized their lineup, and there are some surprises. “Things will be fluid,” manager Gabe Kapler told the media, “our handedness lineups might look a little unique, and as we firm up everyone’s roles with the team, I think you will see things level out some.

Here is their projected batting order at least for the first series against the Braves:

1. Jean Segura SS – Segura will lead off, and use his high BABIP to get himself on scene.
2. J.T. Realmuto C – Kapler is putting his catcher in the position usually reserved for a team’s best all around hitter. It’s a big compliment and a lot of responsibility for Realmuto.
3. Bryce Harper RF – No surprises here. Harper hits 3rd.
4. Rhys Hoskins 1B – Again, no real surprise. Hoskins moves back to his more familiar first base.
5. Andrew McCutchen LF – The first year Philly will start the year batting #5.
6. Maikel Franco 3B – With added pressure from the acquisition of Michael Chavis, Franco has something to prove this year.
7. Odubell Herrera CF – Herrera probably won’t be happy moving so far down in the lineup, but he will have a chance to produce there.
8. Pitcher spot – The Phillies will start the season with the pitcher hitting 8th, able to move a #7 hitter for the #9 hitter.
9. Cesar Hernandez – While not leading off, Hernandez will look to turn the batting order over to give Segura a chance to knock some runs in.

The bench players are:

C Christian Vazquez – Solid defensive catcher who will give Realmuto a day off when needed.
IF Sean Rodriguez – He can play almost anywhere, and he might be asked to do so from time to time this year.
IF Scott Kingery – He will be the team’s primary pinch hitter from the right side and will spell both Hernandez and Franco frequently.
OF Nick Williams – Williams will be the team’s other pinch hitter, primarily taking on right handed pitchers.
OF Aaron Altherr – Most likely a short timer with the big league team until Roman Quinn returns. Altherr was thought to potentially be a big piece of the Phillies’ future, but that excitement has waned in recent years.

The starting rotation does not contain any surprises:

RHP Aaron Nola – Nola will once again spearhead the rotation. If he is healthy and rested, expect him to be on the mound, at least while there is any sort of divisional race going on.
RHP Jake Arietta – The hard throwing groundball pitcher is back for another season. Arietta will certainly be looking to improve on his 10-11 record from a year ago.
RHP Jerad Eickhoff – The oft injured Eickhoff slots into the #3 spot in the rotation. For now. He appeared in just 3 games for the major league team last season.
RHP Nick Pivetta – After starting 2018 hot, Pivetta finished the year with a 7-14 record with 188 K’s.
RHP Vince Velazquez – Another injury prone starter, Velazquez rounds out the starting 5. 2018 was his healthiest season to date, which saw him post a 9-12 record and 4.85 ERA in 30 starts.

The bullpen will consist of a three headed monster in the late innings and a gaggle of pitchers to help out beyond that.

RHP David Robertson – Signed as a free agent, he will most likely be the first option as the team’s closer.
RHP Hector Neris – Another option in the 9th, Neris had a tough 2018 campaign and hopes to regain his 2017 form.
RHP Seranthony Dominguez – A converted reliever, the hard throwing Dominguez will fit nicely into the team’s 8th inning plans.
RHP Pat Neshek – The 38 year old submariner is back for another season. He dealt with a lot of injuries last season but expect to see his deceptive delivery against strong right handed hitters.
RHP Juan Nicasio – Acquired from Seattle, Nicasio should fit nicely into Kapler’s 7th inning plans.
LHP James Pazos – He will start the year as the team’s primary reliever from the left side.
LHP Jose Alvarez – Lastly, Alvarez will serve as the team’s left handed specialist.

Tommy Hunter starts the year on the DL for the Phillies. His return date is uncertain, as is his place in this major league roster.

We will revisit the team’s lineup and rotation monthly starting on May 1st. Every other month we will take a look at the Phillies’ minor league system to see who they have waiting in the wings.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:30 PM   #7
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Phillies Sweep Braves

March 31, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Phillies’ season got off on the right foot on Thursday as the Phillies beat the Braves by a score of 6-2. J.T. Realmuto went 3 for 4 with an RBI, and Scott Kingery hit a pinch hit HR in the 8th.

Aaron Nola struck out 9 in 7 innings of work, surrendering 5 hits and walking just a single batter. Jose Alvarez, Pat Neshek, and Dave Robertson finished the game out, Robertson pitching a scoreless 9th in a non-save situation.

Saturday saw more of the same from the Phillies. They got off to a solid start scoring 5 in the bottom of the first as Aaron McCutchen led the game off with a home run. The Braves battled back, but the Phillies ultimately came out on top by a score of 6-4. Arietta earned the win, and Seranthony Dominguez collected his first save of the year.

The third game of the three game series required some late inning heroics from Andrew McCutchen. An 8th inning 2 run homer helped the Phillies secure the victory after Jose Alvarez blew a 7th inning lead. Hector Neris (1-0) recorded the win and Dave Robertson pitched a scoreless 9th to secure his first save of the year. The Phillies head to Washington to open the month of April against the Washington Nationals.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:35 PM   #8
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Phillies Continue Tear

Sunday April 7, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Its been a strong week for the Philadelphia Phillies. They opened the month of April splitting two games with the Washington Nationals. On Tuesday they beat Bryce Harper’s old team by a score of 8-3. Aaron Nola threw a nearly flawless six innings striking out twelve Washington hitters. Maikel Franco dominated at the plate as he went 4 for 4. The team then suffered their first (and only) loss of the season by a score of 4-1.

Friday brought the Minnesota Twins from the American League Central Division to town. Jake Arrieta opened the weekend by pitching a gem of a game going 8 innings as the Phillies bested the Twins by a score of 1-0. Seranthony Dominguez recorded his 2nd save of the season. The weekend was highlighted by a pair of 9-1 victories by the Phillies. Odubel Herrera dominated Saturday’s game going 2 for 4 with 6 RBI and a pair of home runs including a grand slam.

Sunday saw Aaron Nola (3-0) take the mound again. He pitched another 6 innings to collect his third win of the season. Maikel Franco continued his tear, going 2 for 3 and hitting his second home run of the season. Aaron McCutchen hit his 4th HR of the season as well. Bryce Harper finally started to get out of his rut. He went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI which improved his batting average to .148. He is still searching for his first home run as a Philly.

McCutchen has opened his season on an absolute tear. The 32 year old left fielder is currently hitting .346 with 4 HR and 6 RBI. He has also walked 6 times to 5 strikeouts. He has, however, been caught stealing on all three of his attempts, but Kapler opened the season adopting a very aggressive base running strategy.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:36 PM   #9
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Herrera Plays Hero for Phillies

April 9, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Monday night’s contest with the Washington Nationals did not go as planned. The Philadelphia Phillies lost a 15 inning contest with the Nats by a score of 5-4. They used every hitter on their bench, and every pitcher in their bullpen except for Juan Nicasio.

Gabe Kapler was forced to change his strategy on Tuesday as the Phillies took on the Nats in the second of three games. #5 starter Vince Velasquez took to the mound for the first time this year with a mission in mind: eat innings. The bullpen was short, and he would not have much help if he found himself getting into trouble.

For the most part, Velasquez did everything that his team asked of him. He pitched 5 and 2/3’s innings of no hit baseball, but got knocked around in the 7th. In all, Velazquez pitched 7 innings giving up 4 hits, walking 2, and striking out 10. He did, however, give up a 2 run home run to Anthony Rendon. He left the game with the Phillies trailing by a score of 3-1. Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless 8th, and Seranthony Dominguez, who took the loss on Monday, gave up a solo home run to Ryan

Zimmerman in the 9th to put Philadelphia behind by a score of 4-1. And then the bottom of the 9th happened.

Carlos Hernandez was able to ground into a fielder’s choice and score Rhys Hoskins from third after Hoskins Maikel Franco bookended Andrew McCutchen’s single with a pair of walks. Odubel Herrera was given a day off by virtue of the 15 inning game the night before, but his manager, having used Nick Williams earlier, called on him to pinch hit against Justin Miller who was now on the mound for the Nationals.

Herrera took a 2-1 fastball over the right center field fence and into the bullpen for a 3 run home run which won the game for Philadelphia by a score of 5-4. Dominguez (1-1) earned the win, and the Phillies improved their NL East and Major League Baseball best record to 8-2. They finish the three game set with the Nationals tomorrow.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:37 PM   #10
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Phillies Stage Valiant Comeback

April 10, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Jake Arrieta did not get off on the right foot in his third start of the year as the Nationals put up 6 runs against the Phillies’ #2 starter to open the game. Normally, a 6 run inning would be enough to lock down a victory but not Wednesday.

While those 6 runs would be the only runs scored by the Nationals, the Phillies were able to put up a total of 9 in the subsequent innings, powered by Bryce Harper’s first home run of the season, a 3 run shot that tied the game in the bottom of the 6th. He then drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 7th to put the Phllies up for good. Hoskins added two insurance runs in his next at bat to finalize the score at 9-6.

Jean Segura went 4 for 5 with 2 RBI. Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 3 and drew 2 walks while scoring 3 runs from the leadoff spot. McCutchen, who has been on an absolute tear so far this season, improved his OBP to .500 on the season while Segura raised his batting average to a Major League best .442. Juan Nicasio (1-0) earned the victory, and David Robertson threw a perfect 9th for his 2nd save of the year.

The Phillies get a much-deserved day off tomorrow before heading to Miami where Aaron Nola (3-0) will open the series against the Marlins. The extra day off will give the team’s bullpen another day to recover.
The Phillies currently still sit in first place in the NL East with a record of 9-2. They are 2.5 games ahead of the New York Mets who they take on for the first time at the beginning of next week.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:38 PM   #11
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18 Innings, 2 Hits

April 14, 2019

MIAMI, FL – After dropping the first game of their three game series with the Marlins by a score of 5-4, the Phillies rebounded with a pair of masterful performances. The first was at the hands of Jerad Eickhoff. Eickhoff (2-0) went 7 innings, surrendering just 1 hit and walking 3 while giving up no runs. He gave way to Pat Neshek who pitched a perfect 8th and Hector Neris who recorded his first save of the year. The Phillies strolled away with a 2-0 victory.

Some questioned Eickhoff being pulled after 7 innings of work. “Jerad pitched a great game,” his manger said, “but we have a long season ahead of us. Sometimes you have to pull a pitcher at the right time in their best interest both short term and long term. Don’t let that diminish his performance though.” It should also be noted that Eickhoff threw a complete game in his previous start.

Nick Pivetta left the game with a no hitter in place, but it was neither his nor his manager’s choice. Pivetta reported a “shoulder strain” that will land him on the 10-day disabled list. When he left the game in the 7th he had walked just two batters and struck out 8. Jose Alvarez finished out the 7th, and Seranthony Dominguez pitched a perfect 8th, throwing just 6 pitches, which prompted his manager to bring him back for the 9th.

Dominguez gave up a one out single to Rosell Herrera. It would prove to be the only hit that the Marlins recorded on the night, and just their second hit in two games.

The decision to keep Dominguez in for the 9th also raised some questions. “We have a bit series starting tomorrow with the New York Mets, “Kapler said, “we are going to need our bullpen. If it means that Seranthony pitches another inning here but we have Robertson and Neris ready to go tomorrow, it’s a risk that we have to take.”

The Phillies caught a flight shortly after Sunday afternoon’s game to get home to Philadelphia. Their three game set with the Mets. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to start tomorrow against Noah Syndergaard. Vince Velasquez will pitch the second game for the Phillies and Aaron Nola the third. In the short term, Victor Arano was recalled for another arm in the bullpen for the three game set, taking Pivetta’s spot on the roster. Zach Eflin makes his first start tomorrow for Lehigh Valley and will likely receive a callup in the next four days.
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