Phillies

5 takeaways after Phillies finally make a bad team look bad

5 takeaways after Phillies finally make a bad team look bad

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This time, the Phillies made a bad team look like a bad team.

After losing series this month to the lowly White Sox, Marlins and Padres, the Phillies manhandled the Pirates Wednesday night to claim a series win.

Here are the top five takeaways from the Phillies' 12-3 win over Pittsburgh:

1. Good signs from Hoskins

Batting fourth for the first time since Aug. 4, Hoskins hit an opposite-field triple in his first at-bat. He missed a home run by about two feet when the ball clanged off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center.

It was the second straight night that Hoskins has driven a ball to the opposite field. It is a baseball cliché that a hitter is "going best" when he's using the opposite field, but it's especially true of Hoskins, who pulls the ball as frequently as any right-handed hitter in the majors.

In his second AB, Hoskins hit an RBI double down the left-field line to score Bryce Harper.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler considered sitting Hoskins Wednesday but opted against it after having a conversation with his first baseman. It paid dividends in the series finale against Pittsburgh.

Surprisingly, it was Hoskins' fifth triple of the season, five more than he had in 2017 and 2018 combined.

It was his first game with multiple extra-base hits since July 24 in Detroit.

2. Beating bad teams

About time the Phillies won a series against an inferior opponent. After missing opportunities in series losses to the White Sox, Padres and Marlins this month, the Phillies took two of three from the Pirates, who are 12-32 since the All-Star break.

The Phillies are just 29-26 this season against teams with losing records. They haven't had nearly enough laughers like Wednesday night's where they overpower bad pitching and just pound a team into the ground.

From now until the end of the season, the Phillies have only two series remaining against teams currently under .500: Sept. 2-5 in Cincinnati and the final series of the regular season at home against the Marlins.

3. Vinny does enough

Unlike last Friday in Miami when he blew a seven-run lead, Vince Velasquez made an early advantage stand up. He allowed two runs over five innings — which the Phillies will happily take from him every single time — on a two-run shot by Josh Bell.

Velasquez was finished after just 75 pitches because the Phillies did not want him going through the heart of Pittsburgh's order a third time. Given the massive difference in production from Bell vs. lefties compared to his work against righties, it was a pretty straightforward decision for Kapler.

Velasquez had a 3.21 ERA in the five starts preceding his Miami meltdown. He's kept the Phillies in the game six of the last seven times he's taken the mound.

4. The real deal

J.T. Realmuto homered, tripled and singled Wednesday and is bearing down on a number of new career-highs.

His 32 doubles are a career-high. 

His 34 runners caught stealing are a career-high. 

His 20 home runs are one shy of his career-high.

His 69 RBI are five shy of his career-high.

His 37 walks are one shy of his career-high.

His .821 OPS is four points lower than his career-high.

Yeah ... worthwhile trade.

5. Dickerson's damage

Corey Dickerson's solo home run began a five-run fifth inning and gave him 23 RBI in 21 games as a Phillie. Of his 23 hits with the Phils, 13 have gone for extra bases.

He has been a massive offensive addition for the Phillies. He can hit anywhere in the lineup, be a run producer because of his power and a table-setter because of his .300 batting average, and he can move on the basepaths.

Jay Bruce saved the Phillies from further despair in June and Dickerson has done so in August. The Phillies acquired them while giving up barely anything in return.

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Bryce Harper shares message of support for African American community

Bryce Harper shares message of support for African American community

As many athletes have in recent days, Bryce Harper shared his thoughts and feelings early Tuesday morning on racial injustice in America.

The country is eight days removed from the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. The heinous nature of that crime and its all-too-familiar themes have led to protesting nationwide of police brutality and the constant issue of race in America. 

Harper shared this picture with a message of support for the black community.

The caption read:

I’ve been trying to come up with words for this post. Trying to write the right things and trying to get my mind and heart wrapped around this. I grew up on the East Side of Las Vegas around many different cultures knowing one thing — My parents taught me to love everyone equally, regardless of the color of their skin, where they came from, young or old. Our Heavenly Father made us this way, as unique individuals, so we would all come together and do everything we could to get back to him one day. To love one another, to build each other up, to root for one another, and to be ONE with each other. I will never know what it is like to be an African American man, woman, or child. The one thing I do know is I will always stand with them and for them. I will always be there when they need me. I will always have their backs, knowing they have always had mine. I will love my brothers and sisters and will teach my son to love all as well. To the Floyd family, and to all the other families that have experienced trauma, loss of life, inequality, racism, and hatred - I am so sorry for that. This world that we live in should have no room for it. We as Americans have to come together and stop this in all walks of life. I will listen, speak up, love, stand, and act for what I believe is right. I will never stop!! I love you all my brothers and sisters! We are ONE!✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

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MLB' 50-game idea would offer players full prorated salaries ... except not really

MLB' 50-game idea would offer players full prorated salaries ... except not really

The negotiation between MLB and the players' association continued Monday when word leaked of an idea the league is considering but has not yet formally proposed.

In response to the players' call for a 114-game season with full prorated salaries, the league is considering a 50-game season with full prorated salaries, according to ESPN.

The words "full prorated salaries" were used (and leaked) strategically. It sounds like it gives the players what they want, but in reality, it would be a minor financial change from even the sliding scale proposal last week.

In that tiered pay structure last week, the league was proposing that players play 51% of games (82) for about 20-30% of their pay. 

This new proposal would have the players play 30% of the regular schedule for 30% of their regular pay.

So, really, it's not more money, it's just more money per game. Bryce Harper, with an average annual salary of about $25 million, would make about $150,000 per game with full prorated pay in a 50-game season. This idea from MLB in its present form would get the players no closer to their "full prorated salaries" in an 82-game season.

You'll notice that the number smack-dab in the middle between 50 games and 114 games is 82 games — the initial length proposed. A compromise could still result in that number of games being played, but the league is making clear that it doesn't want to (or won't) go beyond a finite number in its 2020 salary format, whether that finite number is achieved by playing 50 games or 82.

The players want more games because they want an avenue to maximum prorated pay. The league wants a shorter season because teams will lose money with each additional game — and these losses in totality will equal hundreds of millions of dollars.

The league also wants the regular season to end in time for an expanded October postseason. The players' proposal over the weekend called for a June 30 season opener and October 31 season finale. The league would prefer the playoffs to take place in October to maximize postseason revenues and also protect against a resurgence of COVID-19 later in the year.

As of now, the league is reportedly uninterested in salary deferrals with interest for players.

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