Phillies

Best of luck to whichever pitcher Gabe Kapler tabs to face Dodgers on Saturday night

Best of luck to whichever pitcher Gabe Kapler tabs to face Dodgers on Saturday night

LOS ANGELES — Fifteen minutes after Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers ended, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler wasn’t sure who his starting pitcher for Saturday night’s game would be.

“There’s some conversations yet to be had about that,” Kapler said.

To whoever ends up getting the nod — good luck. The Dodgers are the best team in the National League on the stat sheet and they certainly met the eye test in scoring a 6-3 win over the Phillies in the first game of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium on Friday night (see observations).

Rookie lefty Cole Irvin and power-armed right-hander Vince Velasquez are the candidates to take on the Dodgers in place of injured Zach Eflin on Saturday night (see story).

Both watched as the Dodgers mauled Phillies starter Jake Arrieta for 10 hits, including three homers, and five runs on Friday night. All five runs came on homers.

“I think Jake missed with a couple of sliders and these are really good hitters and he got punished for those mistakes,” Kapler said. “This is a tremendous lineup and a good ballclub. It sucks to lose. At the same time, we understand that in order for us to beat clubs like this, we have to play our best baseball and we didn’t do that tonight.”

The Dodgers have the best record in the NL at 39-19. The Phillies have the second-best record in the NL at 33-24. But the gulf between the two teams looked bigger than that Friday night.

While the Dodgers clubbed 12 hits, including four homers, the Phillies stroked just five hits — four singles and a solo homer by Andrew McCutchen. The Phillies had just three hits through the first eight innings. Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda pitched six innings of two-run ball and gave up just three hits.

One of those hits was an RBI single to Arrieta in the fifth inning. It tied the game at 2-2. The game did not stay tied long. Arrieta gave up a homer to Joc Pederson leading off the bottom of the fifth. He then allowed a single to Max Muncy and a two-run homer to Corey Seager. Earlier in the game, Arrieta gave up a two-run shot to Muncy.

“The off-speed wasn’t very sharp tonight,” Arrieta said. “That’s why I gave up 10 hits, seven singles and the three homers. I just wasn’t very sharp with the slider, changeup or the curveball. They were able to eliminate too many pitches and they did some damage.”

Arrieta has allowed 12 homers this season, nine to lefty hitters. The Dodgers are loaded with left-handed thunder. Their first six hitters were lefty bats. All three homers against Arrieta were hit by lefty hitters.

“Not throwing great pitches when I’m trying to go inside deep,” Arrieta said. “I’m just leaving them over too much of the plate, really. That’s it. I can get lefties out. You can’t miss middle-in with spin to power-hitting left-handed hitters. You just can’t do it. That’s what I did too many times tonight.”

Entering the game, lefty hitters had an OPS of .865 against Arrieta. Righty hitters had an OPS of .598.

This series is being billed as a measuring stick for the Phillies, who have designs on breaking a seven-year playoff drought. But, remember, the calendar is only now turning to June. This Phillies team could undergo changes in the coming weeks. Certainly, the club could stand to beef up its starting pitching if it's going to go where it wants to.

“They’re a great team leading their division,” Arrieta said of the Dodgers. “We lead ours. Yeah, they’re really good. There’s no question about that. I had a chance to navigate through their lineup, pitch around some situations, just didn’t do a very good job. That’s all.”

Good luck to the guy whose job it will be to navigate the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday night.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Sixers, Flyers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

Jeopardy has been home to some great moments regarding Philadelphia sports in the past.

 I wish this was another one of these moments ... but it's not.

 It turns out, the show's host host Alex Trebek isn't a big fan of the Phillie Phanatic ... I know, I'm hurt too.


 The Phillies are in disbelief, we all are.
 
 Of course, fans had quite the reaction to the video that surfaced on social media. After all, the Phanatic is the best mascot in all of sports (totally unbiased, of course).




 

I don't even want to know what he thinks about Gritty.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies


 

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Right around the time the Washington Nationals were clinching their World Series berth this week, a guy who left that team to come play in Philadelphia posted a cute photo to his Instagram story with his baby son. It included the caption, "cuddle time is the best time."

I made light of the juxtaposition of that photo with what Nationals players were currently doing in a tongue-in-cheek tweet, but it's hard not to think about Bryce Harper during this Nationals run.

We know exactly how Nationals fans down in DC feel about their former favorite slugger who departed DC for big time bucks. They won't stop telling us.

But what was Harper feeling? Thanks to a one-on-one interview Harper did with Jayson Stark of the Athletic, we now have a glimpse into Harper's mind during this unique time.

Stark says Harper was effusive in his praise of the city of Philadelphia during their chat. And the majority of Harper's answers are very savvy in a public relations sense. Harper is good at saying what you think he's supposed to say. But it doesn't come off as disingenuous.

Stark asked Harper if he was feeling any jealousy watching his old pals spray champagne in the locker room and his answer comes off as pretty honest. From the Athletic ($):

“No,” he said again, without a millisecond’s hesitation, “because like I said, I made my decision, and that was my decision. And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn’t good. For me, it’s about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude towards anybody else.

“I think it’s about being able to be the person that I am,” he went on, “and not saying to myself, `Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m not a National.’ Or, `Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they’re doing. I can’t believe it. I’m so jealous.’ No. I’m so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”

There's plenty more to the piece worth diving into. Stark also spoke with former National/Phillie Jayson Werth, who knows a thing or two about both cities/clubs and also what it's like to play alongside Harper.

The Nationals' opponent in the World Series is yet to be set, but whether it's the Nationals, New York Yankees or Houston Astros who are spraying champagne at the end of it, you won't see Harper doing that. Unless he and his little baby pop up in his Instagram stories getting wacky.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies