Phillies

Giants 3, Phillies 1: Offense goes limp again, this time against Jeff Samardzija

Giants 3, Phillies 1: Offense goes limp again, this time against Jeff Samardzija

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies' bats shriveled again on Saturday.

The team was held to three hits in a 3-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

The loss dropped the Phillies to 60-57 and had them in jeopardy of falling into fourth place in the NL East, depending on the outcome of the Mets-Nationals game Saturday night. This team led the division by 3½ games on May 29. It is 27-35 since then.

The Phillies are 2-4 on the road trip, which concludes on Sunday night.

Two days after being one-hit by the Giants in the first game of the series, the Phillies were manhandled by Jeff Samardzija. He pitched eight walk-free innings and gave up just two hits. He struck out five.

Corey Dickerson homered for the Phillies with two outs in the first inning. Samardzija then retired 20 straight Phillies hitters before Cesar Hernandez blooped a single to left with one out in the eighth. Samardzija then rolled a double-play ball to get out of the inning. The right-hander faced the minimum 22 batters after Dickerson’s homer in the first.

Down two runs, the Phillies made it interesting in the ninth. Sean Rodriguez had the Phillies’ third hit of the game, a broken-bat single to left with one out. Giants closer Will Smith struck out Bryce Harper for the second out. Rhys Hoskins walked to put two runners on base. Smith then struck out Dickerson to end the game.

The Phillies’ dismal three-hit performance came the day after they had 10 hits, including two homers by Harper, in Friday night’s win.

The Phils have scored one or zero runs in three of their four losses on this trip.

Velasquez's night

Phillies starter Vince Velasquez gave up just three hits in five innings of work, but two of them landed in the seats. He hit Scooter Gennett with a pitch to lead off the bottom of the second then tried to get through Evan Longoria with a heavy diet of sliders. Longoria deposited a 2-1 slider in the left field seats for a two-run homer. In the fifth, Velasquez tried to get Kevin Pillar to chase an 0-2 curveball down. The pitch was low and out of the strike zone, but not low enough. Pillar plucked it off his shoe tops and belted it for a solo homer and a 3-1 Giants’ lead.

Velasquez got into more trouble in the inning, but pitched out of it. Manager Gabe Kapler decided not to press his luck and got the teetering pitcher out of there after five.

Velasquez has pitched more than five innings just four times in 15 starts.

Not enough

In six games on this trip, Phillies starters have gone 7, 5, 5, 5, 5 2/3 and 5 innings. That's not enough. Exposes a weak bullpen — though the 'pen has done a good job the last two days.

One-hit wonders

For the second time in three games in this series, the Phillies had just one hit through six innings. At least this one put a run on the board as Dickerson went deep in the first inning. On Thursday night, the Phils had one hit through six and that was a pinch-hit single. They were one-hit that night.

Dating to Wednesday night, the last game in Arizona, the Phillies have been held to one hit through five innings in three of the last four games.

Offensive inconsistency like this makes it difficult to believe this team has a serious run in it.

Dickerson contributes

Dickerson has made a nice contribution since joining the club in a trade deadline deal. He has three homers and eight RBIs in seven games.

Up next

The series concludes on Sunday night at 7 p.m. Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.41) pitches against lefty Connor Menez (0-1, 5.73).

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

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Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

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