Phillies

Interesting subplot brews in NL East as rival Braves hire Rick Kranitz, Phillies' deposed pitching coach

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Interesting subplot brews in NL East as rival Braves hire Rick Kranitz, Phillies' deposed pitching coach

After the Phillies surprisingly fired pitching coach Rick Kranitz last month, we wrote this line:

Kranitz, who had previously served as head major-league pitching coach with Miami, Baltimore and Milwaukee, should have no trouble hooking on with another organization.

Well, this has proven true.

Kranitz, according to people close to him, is about to be named head pitching coach of the Atlanta Braves. This means he is poised to take three years worth of intel gained on the Phillies' staff to one of the team's biggest National League East rivals.

Kranitz, 60, served as bullpen coach, assistant pitching coach and head pitching coach during his three years with the Phillies and was popular with the team's pitchers. He and Bob McClure were both influential in Aaron Nola's development at the major league level. Nola finished third in the NL Cy Young voting in 2018. McClure had served as head Phillies pitching coach from 2014 to 2017. Kranitz took over in 2018.

Even though he had a year left on his contract, Kranitz was abruptly let go by the Phillies in November after assistant pitching coach Chris Young had received interest from other clubs, including the Braves. Phillies management did not want to risk losing Young so it promoted him and pushed aside Kranitz, who offered his take on the matter here.

Young, 37, joined the Phillies a year ago after spending three years with the Houston Astros as pro scouting supervisor. The Astros are one of baseball's most progressive organizations and Young is well schooled in the modern approach (video, data-based matchup study) that many teams — including the Phillies — are now taking toward coaching and game preparation.

The Braves overtook the Phillies down the stretch in 2018 to win the NL East. Kranitz replaces Chuck Hernandez as Atlanta's pitching coach and he will see a lot of his former team. The Braves and Phillies play 19 times per season and they will open the 2019 season against each other on March 28 in Philadelphia.

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Phillies will be without Bryce Harper's big bat as they begin huge series in Miami

Phillies will be without Bryce Harper's big bat as they begin huge series in Miami

The Phillies will be without their best offensive player as they begin a crucial three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Friday night.

Bryce Harper has been placed on paternity leave as he and his wife Kayla are expecting the birth of their first child imminently.

Baseball's collective bargaining agreement allows a player to spend up to three days on paternity leave. It was not immediately known whether Harper would miss the entire three-game series in Miami or join the team sometime over the weekend. After playing three games in Miami, the Phillies open a three-game series at home against Pittsburgh on Monday night.

Both Miami and Pittsburgh are last-place clubs and the Phillies need to take advantage of these matchups. There are 36 games remaining in the season and the Phils sit two games back in the NL wild-card chase.

Harper has been on a tear lately. He has nine homers, 20 RBIs and a 1.139 OPS in the last 17 games. He belted a go-ahead, two-run homer at Fenway Park on Wednesday night to help the Phillies pull off a two-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox.

The Phillies replaced Harper on the active roster with Maikel Franco.

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Watch Lenny Dykstra attack Bagel Boss Guy at cheesesteak shop in chaotic and hilarious fashion

Watch Lenny Dykstra attack Bagel Boss Guy at cheesesteak shop in chaotic and hilarious fashion

You don't really need a lot of info about the above video to enjoy its pure insanity.

It features former MLB All-Star Lenny Dykstra and Chris Morgan, aka Bagel Boss Guy. The former Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets outfielder is fighting the guy known for being rude in a bagel shop and going viral. The boxing bout is set in Atlantic City in September and they were promoting it today at Tony Luke's cheesesteak shop in South Philly.

Both of them said mean stuff. But the parts that succeeded in grabbing our attention enough to post a video about it were Lenny taking a swipe at Bagel Guy and a bottle being thrown in return.

But wait for it ... it gets better. Just when you thought you'd seen it all, Lenny takes a running dive across a table at Morgan. It's rather impressive. And hilarious.

Perhaps the best part about the whole thing: Lenny is wearing a shirt that simply says "GET PAID" on the back.

Indeed. Get paid, Lenny.

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