Phillies

With J.P. Crawford ready, Freddy Galvis' Phillies tenure appears to be over

With J.P. Crawford ready, Freddy Galvis' Phillies tenure appears to be over

It felt like the end for Freddy Galvis on Sunday.
 
Not the end of his career.
 
No. Not at all. This guy has many good years left in the game.
 
But it felt like the end of Galvis' time with the Phillies and that deserves some reflection.

He signed with the club back in 2006, when he was just 16. How long ago was that? Well, the Phillies have spanned three different eras since then. They were in the throes of a 13-season playoff drought when Galvis signed. That was followed by a five-year run in which they were among the best teams in baseball. On Sunday, they completed their sixth straight non-winning season.
 
The Phillies did manage to end the season on a high note — with an 11-0 win over the New York Mets on Pete Mackanin's last day as manager (see story).
 
Galvis, a play-making fixture at shortstop for three seasons and the team's longest-tenured player, did not start the ballgame.
 
Given the leadership he provided to the team — remember how he showed up for work and smacked a home run just hours after the birth of his second daughter in July? — and Gold Glove-caliber defense he played the last couple of seasons, Galvis probably deserved to start the season finale. But the team was committed to getting top prospect J.P. Crawford a half-dozen starts at shortstop so he got the call Sunday. There's little room for sentimentality when you're building a team and the shortstop of the future needs reps.
 
Galvis, 27 and smart, understands what's going on.
 
"It was no big deal," he said. "It's something we had talked about."
 
Galvis had hoped to start all 162 games this season and was on pace to do so until Crawford came up in early September. The team spread Crawford around the infield but wanted to get him six starts at shortstop. So Galvis finished five starts shy of 162 (he made one start in center field) but did play in all 162 games, the first Phillie to do so since Ryan Howard in 2008. 

Mackanin managed to get Galvis into the five games he did not start. He had a pinch-hit double in the sixth inning Sunday and received a nice ovation from the crowd, which seemed to know it might have just witnessed his last at-bat with the club.
 
"He's due all the respect he gets," Mackanin said.
 
Galvis was pleased that he could get in all 162 games.
 
"I think it’s pretty cool," he said. "I think just to be able to play 162 games and try to help the team is awesome. I feel proud for myself."
 
The Phillies have major-league ready middle infield depth in Crawford, 22, and Scott Kingery, 23. That is likely to result in general manager Matt Klentak's shopping Galvis and second baseman Cesar Hernandez for pitching this winter. Crawford could be the opening day shortstop. The Phillies could delay Kingery's arrival for a few weeks as they look to buy an extra year of control on him before free agency.

His time as manager up, Mackanin now becomes a front-office adviser. Any insights as to what might happen, Pete?

"It's a tough decision," Mackanin said. "But I know for a fact that the people upstairs, Matt and Andy (MacPhail, the club president), all of them, they really love Freddy. They realize what a good player he is, and they also acknowledge the fact that J.P. Crawford — this guy can play, so it's a tough decision. It will be up to them. Whatever they decide is fine with me."
 
Deep down inside, Galvis can't be happy about being pushed to the side. But he's been a pro about it.
 
"It's kind of weird," he said. "But I just have to be ready for whatever happens. I'm still a Phillie right now."
 
Galvis was a magician with the glove as a teenager and throughout his time in the minors. He raised his game the last couple of seasons in the majors. He led NL shortstops this season in fielding percentage (.989) and total chances (637).
 
Galvis credits Larry Bowa, a Gold Glove shortstop in his playing days, for fine-tuning his defense the last few years.
 
Like Galvis, Bowa might have spent his final day in a Phillies uniform Sunday. Bowa finished his fourth season as the team's bench coach. He and the rest of the coaching staff are now free agents.
 
After Sunday's game, Galvis and Bowa posed for a picture on the field.
 
It was a poignant moment, one that spoke volumes as the two men head off to an offseason of uncertainty.
 
"He elevated my defensive game to different places," Galvis said. "I always knew I could pick the ball and I can make some outs, but working with Bo, he elevated my game to a different level."

Jake Arrieta looks like a $75 million man in domination of Pirates

Jake Arrieta looks like a $75 million man in domination of Pirates

BOX SCORE

Jorge Alfaro looked and sounded like a kid who had just visited an amusement park for the first time. Wide eyes. Big smile. Let’s-do-it-again amazement in his voice.

“That was fun,” he said. “Just put a finger down and he hit the glove.”

Alfaro, the Phillies’ 24-year-old rookie catcher, was on the receiving end of a vintage Jake Arrieta performance Thursday night. In his third start with the Phillies, Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner, dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates, the NL’s highest-scoring team coming in, with seven innings of one-hit, 10-strikeout ball to lead the Phillies to a 7-0 win at wintery Citizens Bank Park (see first take).

Arrieta’s fastball had sink, tail, run, whatever you want to call that Greg Madduxian downward, left-to-right darting action that makes it so tough to hit when it moves like that. He got 11 swing and misses on the pitch, 14 in all. In his previous outing Saturday at Tampa Bay, he struck out just one in 6 2/3 innings and got only four swing and misses.

Arrieta’s improvement might be as simple as this: He signed with the Phillies (for three years and $75 million) just five weeks ago. Though he’s made three starts with the Phillies, he’s really just finishing his spring training.

“I’m caught up now,” he said. “Other than being able to locate the changeup a little better, this was about as good as I’ve been.

“I knew I was going to be pretty crisp today in the bullpen when I had my sinker, glove side, going early. My timing was pretty much right where it needs to be. When I’m on time, when I get my foot down and I’m able to drive the ball downhill to my glove side, I know it’s going to be a pretty good day. Three starts in, to be able to do that as well as I did tonight is a good sign.”

Manager Gabe Kapler loved Arrieta’s sinker.

“It was moving all over the place,” he said. “Very impressive outing for him and a big emotional lift for our team.”

Arrieta came out in attack mode, striking out the first two batters of the game on fastballs that registered 94 and 93 mph, respectively. He kept on attacking after the Phils lit up Jameson Taillon for five runs in the second inning. Rhys Hoskins homered and Cesar Hernandez cleared the bases with a three-run single. Trailing runner J.P. Crawford got a great jump from first on a 3-2 pitch and followed third base coach Dusty Wathan’s wave home.

Kapler said it took “big stones,” on Wathan’s part to send Crawford and that the dugout was “fired up” after Hernandez cleared the bases.

With the way Arrieta was dealing, it was game over after that.

“Any time I get a multiple-run lead, I’m going to be aggressive,” he said.

The Phillies are 11-7 thanks largely to their starting pitchers. They’ve recorded a 2.40 ERA in their last nine starts. At home, the Phils are 6-1 and have outscored opposing clubs by 35 runs. There are nine more games to play on this homestand. It's off to a good start.

Jake Arrieta delivers gem as Phillies roll Pirates to kick off homestand

Jake Arrieta delivers gem as Phillies roll Pirates to kick off homestand

BOX SCORE

This was the Jake Arrieta that the Phillies expected when they shelled out $75 million for his services five weeks ago.

Arrieta was dominant over seven innings and enjoyed the best of his three starts with his new club as he backboned a 7-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday night.

The 32-year-old right-hander gave up just one hit. He walked two and struck out 10.

The win improved the Phillies to 11-7 overall and 6-1 at home. The Phils have a plus-35 run differential at home with nine more games to play on this homestand.

Pittsburgh is 12-7, tops in the National League Central. The Pirates entered the game leading the NL in runs scored and OPS, but Arrieta and relievers Yacksel Rios and Victor Arano cooled them off on just two hits.

The Pirates and Arrieta know each other well. This was Arrieta’s 21st career regular-season start against them. Things had not gone that well for Arrieta against the Pirates recently. He was 2-6 with a 6.48 ERA and 11 homers allowed in his previous eight regular-season starts against Pittsburgh, dating to July 2016.

But Arrieta (2-0) owned the Pirates in this one. He had excellent movement on his sinking fastball. The pitch produced 11 swinging strikes. Overall, Arrieta had 14 swinging strikes, notable because he had just nine in his previous two starts. Arrieta struck out just one batter in 6 2/3 innings Saturday at Tampa Bay. His first two outs of this game were strikeouts and he had three in the third inning. So, clearly his stuff was a lot better. His average fastball was 92.7 mph and he touched 95.

The Phillies gave Arrieta all the run support he needed in the second inning when they erupted for five runs.

Rhys Hoskins started the rally with a line-drive solo homer into the left-field seats. Cesar Hernandez smacked a bases-loaded single on a full-count pitch with two outs and the runners moving. All three runners scored. Odubel Herrera capped the rally with the first of his two RBI singles.

All of the runs came against Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon, who needed 40 pitches to get just two outs in the second inning.

Taillon had been off to a terrific start. He gave up just two runs in 20 1/3 innings over his first three starts.

Notes
• Carlos Santana returned to the Phillies’ starting lineup. He walked twice, singled and struck out.

• Herrera has reached base safely in 20 straight games, dating to last season.

• Reliever Tommy Hunter will get some work in a minor-league game at Reading on Friday night. Hunter is recovering from a hamstring strain. If all continues to go well, he should be activated sometime during this homestand.

• Right-hander Ben Lively (0-1, 5.87) pitches against right-hander Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.88) on Friday night.