Phillies

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

BOX SCORE

Yes, Rhys Hoskins hit another home run.
 
Moving on ... the Phillies routed the Miami Marlins for the second straight night Thursday, scoring a 10-0 win on the strength of three home runs in the second inning and a solid pitching performance from Jake Thompson.
 
The Phillies swept the reeling Marlins and outscored them, 18-1, these last two nights.
 
Miami has lost 15 of 17.
 
• Hoskins clubbed his 18th homer in 34 games and it was noteworthy because it was his first to the opposite field (see video). All of his previous 17 homers were from dead center to left field.
 
• We haven't seen a player work counts like Hoskins since Chase Utley and Jayson Werth. Ten of Hoskins' homers have come with two strikes.
 
• More Hoskins-mania: He has 130 RBIs between the minors and the majors this season, the most among all professional players. His combined total of 47 homers is second only to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton (54). Hoskins is slashing .314/.442/.805 (see story).
 
• The Marlins have been a frequent opponent of the Phillies during Hoskins' time in the majors. He already qualifies as a Marlins killer. In 10 games, he has eight homers and 19 RBIs against them.
 
• Freddy Galvis singled and belted a two-run homer. He is hitting .256 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs. He does not have a great on-base percentage (.308) but it is much improved from last year's mark of .274. He plays Gold Glove caliber defense. The Phillies front office wants to build a lineup around players with high on-base marks and that points to J.P. Crawford being the shortstop possibly as soon as opening day 2018 and Galvis being shopped for pitching this winter. Surely, the Phillies should be able to get value for a player like Galvis.
 
• The Phillies had 14 hits, including four homers. Every one of their starting position players collected a hit before the game was two innings old.
 
• Catcher Jorge Alfaro clubbed the first of three Phillies' homers in the second inning, a mammoth, 459-foot shot into the second deck above left field. It came off the bat at 109 mph. Alfaro's game needs work, particularly behind the plate, but he's got two big power tools in his bat and his arm. If he can ever add around those ...
 
• Marlins manager Don Mattingly started a watered-down lineup that did not include regular outfielders Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Together that group has hit 104 home runs this season. Mattingly decided to give the trio a rest after the Marlins lost, 8-1, Wednesday night. Mattingly, a longtime player, coach and manager, said that was the worst he'd ever felt after a game and he wanted to give his stud outfielders a chance to reset. Thursday night's pounding could not have made him feel any better.
 
• Mattingly also made a day-of-game change in his starting pitcher, replacing Jose Urena with Vance Worley. The change was made because the Marlins wanted to give their rotation an extra day of rest. Worley, who entered the game with a 6.58 ERA, hadn't started since Aug. 29 and had pitched just 1 1/3 innings of relief since then. It's tough to be sharp pitching that little. Predictably, Worley was not. He gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 inning. Worley surrendered 1,264 feet worth of homers in the second inning.
 
• The Phillies gave Thompson a 9-0 lead after two innings.
 
• Cameron Perkins' first big-league homer was a pinch-hit shot in the eighth. He went to the same Indianapolis high school as Phillies Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, a fact that Matt Breen does not give a hoot about because he thinks the world began on the day he graduated from high school.
 
• The Phillies entered the game with the second-worst record in the majors, percentage points ahead of San Francisco. The Phils have to win at least six of their final 16 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961.
 
• The A's return to Philadelphia on Friday night. Pitching matchups for the interleague series against Oakland:
 
Friday night — RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) vs. RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07)
 
Saturday night — RHP Ben Lively (3-6, 3.86) vs. RHP Kendall Graveman (5-4, 4.48)
 
Sunday afternoon — RHP Henderson Alvarez (season debut) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (10-10, 4.65)

Former Phillies pitching coach Rick Kranitz leaves on the high road

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USA Today Images

Former Phillies pitching coach Rick Kranitz leaves on the high road

When the news broke that he had been let go as Phillies pitching coach earlier this week, Rick Kranitz's cell phone started dinging.

And dinging.

And dinging.

From all over the country and Latin America, stunned Phillies pitchers sent well wishes.

"I heard from all of them," Kranitz said Friday from his home in Arizona. "It meant a lot. It was nice to know they were thinking of me.

"That's the thing I'm going to miss the most, the relationships I've built with these guys. The players are the ones who do it but I was always happy to be able to guide them through the good times, the tough times, the emotional times. I've been in the game for 40 years and the relationships have always been what means the most to me."

Kranitz, 60, was pushed aside in favor of Chris Young. Kranitz had been with the Phillies for three seasons, first as bullpen coach, then as assistant pitching coach and finally as head pitching coach in 2018. Teams don't typically let coaches go in mid-November, particularly after saying seven weeks earlier that the entire coaching staff would be returning. In this case, Young, 37, had received interest from other clubs and rather than risk losing him the Phillies promoted him from assistant pitching coach to head pitching coach. Kranitz was told that he was free to seek employment with other organizations, though the Phillies will still pay him through 2019.

The whole thing seems cold, but Kranitz is taking the high road. He's a big boy. He's been around — he'd previously been pitching coach in Miami, Baltimore and Milwaukee — and understands the business of baseball and these days the business of baseball is more new school than old school. That doesn't mean it's better. It's just the way it is for now.

"I was surprised and very disappointed when I first got the news," Kranitz said. "I'd built a lot of good relationships with this group. I believe in every one of these guys and I believe the future is bright for the Phillies. I wanted to see it through."

The news that Kranitz had been let go broke on Wednesday. That night, Aaron Nola finished third in the NL Cy Young voting. For three years, Kranitz had been influential in Nola's development.

"I was so proud of that young man," Kranitz said. "He deserves everything he gets. He's a class individual and the Phillies are lucky to have such a special young pitcher — not just a pitcher but a person. I could not have been prouder. I'm thankful to have gotten the chance to watch him, grateful to be able to see special times."

Kranitz began his pro career as a pitcher in the Brewers' system in 1979. He would like to continue to work and surely some team will benefit from his wisdom. But in the meantime, he intends to spend his unexpected free time focusing on the people who have always been there for him, his wife Kelly and their four children.

"We have four grandkids and one on the way in March," Kranitz said. "So I'll be around for the birth and that makes me happy. 

"This game has been great to me. The Phillies were great to me. It didn't end great but my experience with the city and the people in that organization was great. Now it's time to shift my focus to my family and give back to them."

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What would spending 'stupid' money look like for Phillies this offseason?

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AP Images

What would spending 'stupid' money look like for Phillies this offseason?

Phillies owner John Middleton recently reiterated what he's been saying for years: The Phillies will spend aggressively this offseason.

This time, he was a bit more colorful about it.

"We're going into this expecting to spend money," Middleton told USA Today at the owners meetings this week. "And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.

"We just prefer not to be completely stupid."

#LetsGetStupid

You know the usual suspects: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. But the Phillies' needs go beyond offense and there is a top-tier left-hander on the market who could boost this rotation (see story).

Harper turned down a $300 million offer from the Nationals, so it's safe to assume he's expecting a deal closer to the $350-400 million range, one with an annual value in the neighborhood of $40 million.

It's hard to gauge where Machado's price tag will be and whether his October comments affected his market. Will he get slightly less than Harper because of it? Will he get more than Harper because of the position(s) he plays?

Including guaranteed contracts, projected arbitration figures and the raises due to pre-arbitration players, the Phillies' 2019 payroll is in the vicinity of $110 million right now. But that figure is cut in half in 2020 and next-to-nothing in 2021, when the only two guaranteed deals on the Phillies' books belong to Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery.

Aaron Nola will have to be paid sometime before 2022, and Rhys Hoskins before 2024, but the Phils still have so much wiggle room. 

Team president Andy MacPhail has been sure to remind Middleton and others that there is baseball to be played beyond 2019. But it's not often a free-agent class has headliners like this. 

The Phils could feasibly afford both Harper and Machado, but things would get extremely tricky down the road when Harper, Machado, Nola and Hoskins are combining to make about $120 million per year between the four of them. Those are the kinds of long-term issues this front office has to consider and will consider.

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