Phillies

Bryce Harper is OK, but Phillies' homestand ends in uninspiring fashion

Bryce Harper is OK, but Phillies' homestand ends in uninspiring fashion

BOX SCORE

Once Gabe Kapler came out of the Phillies' dugout after the fifth inning to tell the home plate umpire that he was replacing Bryce Harper with Adam Haseley, the result of Sunday's game became secondary for about an hour.

Fortunately for the Phils, their best player and second-hottest hitter likely will not miss any time. Harper was removed because of dehydration.

Harper has eight home runs and 18 RBI with an OPS over 1.000 in the month of August. There would never be a good time for the Phillies to lose him but now would have been especially damaging given his hot streak and their position in the wild-card race. Harper ranks third in the majors in home runs this month, trailing only Aristides Aquino and Ronald Acuna Jr.

The Phils lost Sunday, 3-2 to the Padres. San Diego arrived in South Philadelphia eight games under .500 but claimed the series by winning the final two games. 

The Phillies had surely hoped for better than a 4-2 homestand given the way the week began with four consecutive wins and some gaudy offensive performances.

The 64-60 Phils have a light week. They are off Monday, play two games in Boston, are off again Thursday and then finish off the quick trip with a three-game weekend series in Miami.

RISP woes continue

Even with the four straight wins and the big offensive performances earlier in the week, the Phillies still rank last in the National League since the All-Star break with a .228 batting average with runners in scoring position. They were 3 for 13 with RISP in the losses Saturday and Sunday. 

The difference in these two losses was that they couldn't pop the multi-run homer(s) they did against the Cubs.

The Phillies' only offensive standout Sunday was Jean Segura, who drove in both runs with a first-inning double and a sixth-inning double. Both came with two outs.

Rhys Hoskins came a foot short of tying the game in the eighth inning, flying out 400 feet to the 401-foot sign in straightaway center.

Another solid start from Vargas

Jason Vargas continues to give the Phillies quality innings. He pitched 5⅔ innings Sunday, allowing two runs on six hits. Both runs scored on Luis Urias' opposite-field home run, a cheapie.

Since joining the Phillies, Vargas has a 3.91 ERA and has allowed two runs or fewer in three of four starts. The Phillies just haven't done much hitting for him. They've scored a total of five runs with him in the game in those four starts.

More than dingers

Harper has been an impactful defensive rightfielder in his first year as a Phillie. He registered another outfield assist Sunday, his ninth of the season.

Catcher Austin Hedges, who had a career-high four hits, trickled a grounder down the first base line that went into right field and clanged off the half-wall in foul territory. Harper picked it up and fired to second base to nab Hedges.

Only once in his career, in 2013, has Harper had more outfield assists than he has already this season.

Up next

The Phillies are off Monday and Thursday this week. In between is a two-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Tuesday night at 7:10 — Aaron Nola (11-3, 3.56) vs. TBA

Wednesday night at 7:10 — LHP Drew Smyly (2-6, 7.09) vs. Rick Porcello (11-9, 5.49).

After Boston is a three-game series in Miami for the Phils.

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Phillies hire Joe Dillon as hitting coach

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Joe Dillon, the clear focus of the Phillies' search for a new hitting coach, has been hired to join Joe Girardi's staff.

The former Nationals assistant hitting coach has earned recognition as an ascending coach and his resume was only bolstered by Washington's championship season.

For two seasons in Washington, Dillon was the assistant to hitting coach Kevin Long, who spent seven seasons as Girardi's hitting coach with the Yankees. 

The relationship between Dillon and Long dates back to Dillon's playing days when Long was one of his hitting coaches. The two worked together during offseasons, and Long later brought him aboard when he got the Nationals hitting coach job in 2018.

Prior to joining the Nats, Dillon was the Marlins' minor league hitting coordinator from 2015-17.

Dillon, 44, played in the majors with the Marlins, Brewers and Rays. He has gained recognition around the game for marrying new-age science with old-school principles in coaching hitters. Long, in fact, has called Dillon “the best assistant hitting coach in the baseball.”

Dillon succeeds Charlie Manuel, who assumed the hitting coach position on a temporary basis when the Phillies fired John Mallee in August.

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