Phillies

Bryce Harper goes to bat for J.T. Realmuto after catcher’s homer

Bryce Harper goes to bat for J.T. Realmuto after catcher’s homer

The Phillies played an intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday afternoon and J.T. Realmuto wasted no time getting his team on the scoreboard.
 
The All-Star catcher smacked a two-run, opposite-field home run against Cole Irvin in the top of the first inning. We caught it on video from the press box, but we missed a very noteworthy punctuation mark. (Chris Smith, our ace camera man, did not miss it. Check it out here.)
 
Bryce Harper, who had walked, was on first base for Realmuto’s homer. 
 
As Harper crossed home plate and walked back to the dugout, he shouted, “Sign him!” It was a clear reference to Realmuto’s ongoing negotiations with the Phillies. Realmuto can be a free agent in the fall.
 
Harper has lately worn a T-shirt with Realmuto’s name and number on the back. Harper denied trying to send any messages to management by wearing the shirt.
 
But there was no denying that his reaction to Realmuto’s homer in Wednesday’s intrasquad games was indeed a message.
 
The game only lasted 2 ½ innings. Didi Gregorius highlighted the event with a grand slam to right against lefty JoJo Romero.
 
It was certainly a different kind of experience watching a game, even a scrimmage, in an empty 44,000-seat ballpark. From the press box, you could hear the infielders talk to each other. You also could hear Andrew McCutchen shout, “Play Ball!” from left field. McCutchen was even heard singing Harper’s walk-up music.
 
And then, of course, there was Harper’s little message.
 
When the real games start on July 24, still with no fans in the stands, television viewers will probably hear more of these organic ballpark sounds. Players are going to have to watch what they say, especially in moments of frustration.
 
“They’ll hear things, good, bad, mostly fun,” first baseman Rhys Hoskins said. “Probably some things that shouldn’t be said on TV. It’ll be an adjustment.”
 
The biggest adjustment, Hoskins said, will be cutting out spitting. That’s one of the health protocols issued by MLB to stop the potential spread of COVID-19.
 
“Spitting, especially on a baseball field,” Hoskins said. “Gum, seeds, it’s just a habit we all have. I was talking with Kyle Garlick and he was saying we just have to train ourselves not to spit.”
 
Even with the adjustments that he will have to make, Hoskins believes everything will fall into place when the real games start.
 
“Playing in an empty stadium is weird in itself,” he said. “But once opening day hits, the competitiveness will take over and it will be business as usual.”

The Phillies will play another intrasquad game on Thursday. It will last six innings, according to manager Joe Girardi. Zack Wheeler, the team's big offseason pickup, and Vince Velasquez are among the pitchers who will get some work.

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Mets Zoom snafu puts the Phillie Phanatic way, way too close to Jacob deGrom

mets-degrom-phillie-phanatic.png
@PitchingNinja/Twitter

Mets Zoom snafu puts the Phillie Phanatic way, way too close to Jacob deGrom

Sports in 2020 are a learning experience for everyone, including the person in charge of hanging up temporary backgrounds in online conference calls.

Mets ace pitcher Jacob deGrom was addressing reporters via Zoom on Friday afternoon from inside Citizens Bank Park. Nothing out of the ordinary there for a currrent COVID-19-era sporting event.

And then... things went sideways for the Mets' logistics team:

Why, hello there Phanatic!

I love how it looks like the Phillies' mascot was just lying in wait behind the curtain, spying on deGrom's press call and trying to gather inside info. That's commitment.

It's not quite as dramatic, but the scene - and the Phanatic's unexpected entrance - immediately reminded of one truly classic Vine:

I mean, c'mon now:

Mystifying.

deGrom was scratched from Friday's start because of neck tightness, a big break for a struggling Phillies team in desperate need of a win to turn things around. 

And after that scene, I can't imagine deGrom is in any rush to return to Citizens Bank Park.

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Phillies get a break Friday night with Jacob deGrom scratched

Phillies get a break Friday night with Jacob deGrom scratched

The Phillies have received a break even before playing the New York Mets on Friday night. Jacob deGrom, the Mets' scheduled starter, has been scratched with a stiff neck. The Mets will start right-hander Walker Lockett.

DeGrom, 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts this season, won the last two National League Cy Young awards. He was scheduled to face Phillies rookie Spencer Howard. Howard is still scheduled to make that start, his second in the big leagues. 

The Phillies made a roster move prior to Friday night's game. Lefty reliever Austin Davis was sent to the training complex in Lehigh Valley and lefty JoJo Romero was added to the active roster. Romero, who has never pitched in the majors, gives the Phillies a lefty reliever capable of pitching multiple innings.

Here is the Phillies' lineup for Friday night's game:

1. Andrew McCutchen, DH
2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Jean Segura, 2B
7. Jay Bruce, LF
8. Alec Bohm, 3B
9. Roman Quinn, CF

Spencer Howard, RHP

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