Phillies

Hector Neris blows another save in Phillies' demoralizing loss to Mets

Hector Neris blows another save in Phillies' demoralizing loss to Mets

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The Phillies’ streak of spectacular starting pitching continued on Friday night.

So did Odubel Herrera’s spectacular on-base streak.

But the Phillies suffered an excruciating 3-1 loss to the New York Mets after closer Hector Neris melted down and allowed a pair of home runs with one out in the top of the ninth inning.

It was Neris’ second ugly blown save in less than a week. Without the two blown saves, the Phillies (22-16) would be looking at a seven-game winning streak (see story).

Jake Arrieta pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings and left with a 1-0 lead thanks to Herrera’s solo homer in the first. The homer improved his on-base streak to 40 games. He leads the NL with a .360 batting average.

Neris came on with a 1-0 lead in the ninth. He retired Adrian Gonzalez for the first out then allowed a booming two-run homer to right to Michael Conforto on a 1-2 fastball. Two pitches earlier, Conforto nearly homered on a splitter. The ball went just foul. Devin Mesoraco followed Conforto's homer by hammering a first-pitch slider over the left-field wall to make it a 3-1 game.

Neris was booed lustily after giving up both homers and again after the third out.

Jeurys Familia came on in the bottom of the ninth and saved it for the Mets, who are 41-17 at Citizens Bank Park since 2012 and 41-19 overall against the Phillies since the start of the 2015 season.

With Arrieta's 7 1/3 scoreless innings, Phillies starting pitchers have allowed just four runs in 32 innings and struck out 45 over five games on this homestand.

The streak of strong starting pitching actually goes back seven games. Over that span, the starters have allowed just six runs in 43 innings. The team is 5-2 over that span, both of the losses coming when Neris could not hold a lead in the ninth.

Arrieta has a 2.59 ERA in seven starts. He has allowed one run in 13 1/3 innings over his last two starts.

The 32-year-old right-hander gave up five hits and two walks. He struck out five and threw 101 pitches.

One of Arrieta’s last throws was a beauty — a perfect pickoff throw to first baseman Carlos Santana to get Jose Reyes and end the top of the seventh. It was the fourth time a Phillies pitcher has picked a runner off first base in the last 10 games. Aaron Nola has done it twice and Zach Eflin and Arrieta once each. Santana has been on the receiving end of all four pickoffs. The guy has exceptionally quick hands.

Notes
• Pitcher Mark Leiter Jr., on the DL with a right forearm strain, is slated to pitch 2 1/3 innings at Single A Clearwater on Saturday. Jerad Eickhoff, recovering from a lat strain, is scheduled for three innings or 50 pitches for Clearwater on Monday.

• Pitching coach Rick Kranitz was excused from the game to attend his daughter’s graduation. Assistant pitching coach Chris Young handled pitching coach duties and Sam Fuld was in uniform on the bench. Fuld is the team’s player information coordinator and also works with outfielders during pregame workouts.

Nationals poised for trip to World Series ... so fans are celebrating Bryce Harper's absence?

Nationals poised for trip to World Series ... so fans are celebrating Bryce Harper's absence?

The Washington Nationals are now one win away from a trip to the World Series thanks in large part to Stephen Strasburg's admittedly amazing performance on Monday night over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Nationals fans should be stoked about their team. And it's likely, in some ways, that they are. But it's also somewhat bizarre what some Nats fans have chosen to celebrate.

This photo and tweet have been making the rounds this morning and caused a bit of a buzz in Philadelphia.

Tickets - $35, Beer - $10, Bryce Harper watching from home - Priceless

Let's just ignore the fact you can get into a NLCS game for $35 in DC for a second.

Your team is poised to celebrate a league title and you're celebrating the fact that a guy who used to be on your team is... no longer on your team? Okay.

The person in the replies who said it's like going to your own wedding and being most excited about the fact that your ex wasn't invited to the party makes a solid point. It's weird.

I suppose it's worth cutting Nationals fans some slack in this situation because they don't know what it's like to actually make it to the World Series and you've got to learn how to react to things by actually experiencing them.

So, if they end up making it to and losing in the World Series to the New York Yankees or Houston Astros, Nats fans will know how to react to that. They're used to losing in the playoffs.

I wonder what they'll celebrate then?

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Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies' scouting director job

Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies' scouting director job

The Phillies have two huge job openings to fill in their baseball operations department.

Obviously, they are looking for a new manager, and that process ramped up on Monday.

The team also needs to fill the important scouting director’s role. That job opened when Johnny Almarez stepped down in September.

The search for a new scouting boss is being led by assistant general manager Bryan Minniti and it is apparently well underway.

According to multiple major league sources, the Phillies have conducted a number of recent interviews for the position. Among those to interview are in-house candidates Greg Schilz, Mike Koplove and Darrell Conner.

Outside candidates, according to sources, include David Crowson of the Miami Marlins, Sam Hughes of the Chicago Cubs, Brian Barber of the New York Yankees, Dan Ontiveros of the Kansas City Royals and Scott Meaney of the Cleveland Indians. All have high-ranking scouting positions with their organizations.

It’s possible that there are other candidates or more will emerge. But these are the names being talked about in baseball circles at the moment.

Schilz ranked No. 2 in the Phillies’ amateur scouting staff behind Almaraz. He joined the club in the fall of 2016 after 12 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was elevated to assistant scouting director in the fall of 2017.

Koplove is an interesting candidate. He is a Philadelphia native who pitched at Chestnut Hill Academy and the University of Delaware before spending parts of seven seasons in the majors with Arizona and Cleveland. He earned a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001.

Koplove spent six seasons on the scouting staff of the Anaheim Angels before joining his hometown team as a special assignment scout prior to the 2018 season.

Conner is a longtime Phillies scout who has risen to the role of national scouting coordinator. He was influential in identifying Cole Hamels as having first-round potential and staying on the pitcher after he broke his left arm the summer after his sophomore year.

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