Phillies

John Kruk unknowingly texted George Brett for a year about ... ribs

John Kruk unknowingly texted George Brett for a year about ... ribs

Two of the most entertaining former Philly athletes to listen to in their post-playing days sat down for a podcast this week and the resulting 45-minutes or so do not disappoint.

Phillies legend John Kruk joined Super Bowl champion Chris Long on his Green Light podcast (language NSFW) to talk all things related to MLB restarting during a pandemic — Kruk likes pitchers having to face three batters, doesn’t care for the DH — but of course they mixed in some classic Kruk tales.

All-time baseball great George Brett came up in the conversation for … curious reasons (you just have to listen to get the full context).

“George Brett and my dad are buddies,” Long said. “I had no idea, I had a little signed baseball from him, I thought he was the nicest guy in the world. Apparently, he just [pooped his pants] all the time. What’s up with that?”

“Maybe he was just really proud of his bowel movements,” Kruk joked. “I love George.”

Pretty weird! But then Kruk tells a hilarious story about the Royals’ legend.

I got this buddy in Kansas City that does ribs. So every time I come to Kansas City he brings me ribs, in the booth or wherever. He said, ‘Hey next year when you come, I’m not going to be in town but I’ll have my guy George bring you some stuff.’ So I’m texting this guy George for almost a year. So we go back to Kansas City the next year, and I get a text. ‘Hey, I’ll be up, I got some ribs for you. We also caught some salmon we smoked for you, we made a dip out of it, I’ll bring you some crackers, etc.’ I said, ‘Shoot, that’s great.’ I asked him if he needed credentials to get in the announcers booth. He said, “Nah, I think I’m good.’ I was texting George Fricking Brett for a year and didn’t know it. Now every time he texts me, he says, ‘This is George, Mitch’s [the rib guy] partner.’

It's good to be John Kruk and have Hall of Famer's as your rib connect.

Long also asked Kruk his thoughts on the unwritten rules in baseball and how his opinion may have changed from his playing days to now.

“I hated it when I played," Kruk said. "But I came up in an era when you had Nolan Ryan and Pedro Martinez, guys who weren’t afraid to throw at your head when you did something stupid. But I started talking to more pitchers the last few years — I was always against the pimping a home run — the pitchers are like, ‘if he hits it good, I don’t really care.’ So I started thinking if the pitchers don’t care, why should I? Some of them are pretty comical, the bat flips and the whole deal. The only thing I don’t like is if a guy hits a home run and he wings his bat over towards the other team’s dugout. If he just stands there and watches it, flips the bat, I could give a rats’ ass anymore.”

They finish off with a lightning round of questions where Kruk admits back in the day, he could probably polish off 30+ beers in one sitting. That is a lot.

You can listen to the whole thing here.

Bryce Harper shakes off the embarrassment of the Birds, lifts Phillies to 'huge' win

Bryce Harper shakes off the embarrassment of the Birds, lifts Phillies to 'huge' win

After being swept in a three-game series by a team that lost 108 games last season, the last thing the Phillies — or their justifiably impatient fans — needed was another sloppy, late-inning loss on Friday night.

They avoided one when Bryce Harper stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and delivered Roman Quinn from second base to earn a 6-5 win over the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

From poor defense to poor baserunning to hanging off-speed pitches and a blown save by Hector Neris in the top of the ninth, the Phillies did a lot of things wrong in this game.

But they walked off the field after an umpires' review of the final play at the plate with a victory and that eased a lot of tension on a team that had just lost three in a row to Baltimore.

"We went out there and started off this series right," Harper said. "That's a big win for us after the embarrassment we put up against the Baltimore Orioles. That was pretty terrible. So to be able to start this series off against the Mets on the right foot was huge for us."

The win was just the Phils' second in the last seven games. It snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Phils are 6-9 at the quarter-mark of the 60-game sprint.

An intriguing pitching matchup between Jacob deGrom, winner of the last two National League Cy Young Awards, and Spencer Howard, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, did not materialize. DeGrom was scratched with a stiff neck and Howard exited in the fourth inning with a blister on his right middle finger.

Howard gave up back-to-back homers in the third and trailed, 4-2, when he left the game. The Phillies took the lead in the fifth on a three-run homer by — who else? — J.T. Realmuto. He now has eight homers and 20 RBIs.

The Phillies' bullpen, of course, is the worst in the majors. It came into the night with an ERA of 10.13. Asking it to get 17 outs was a tall order, but it did a pretty good job. Jose Alvarez, Blake Parker, Adam Morgan and Tommy Hunter all put up zeroes until Hector Neris blew the save with two outs in the ninth.

The Phillies came back to the dugout after blowing the lead. Harper described the scene.

"I told them, 'Get me up, give me a chance,'" Harper said. "I love those opportunities when I can come through for my team. We never quit. We never die."

Quinn and Andrew McCutchen started the rally off with a pair of hits against Seth Lugo. Harper delivered his game-winning hit to right field with one out. The ball was hard-hit so Michael Conforto had a chance to throw out Quinn. Third base coach Dusty Baker waved his arm and Quinn circled the base with a wide turn. He eluded Wilson Ramos' tag with a nifty headfirst slide.

Players from both teams huddled on the field while the umpires checked the safe call on replay.

Ninety seconds later, the call was verified.

"I was a little worried," Harper said. "But once he said, 'Safe,' everybody was excited and happy. That's one of the weirder walk-offs I've had, for sure."

Girardi said the early sloppiness was "frustrating," but he cited the bullpen — 5⅔ innings, one run — and some good work on defense late in the game as being positives.

"That was a really important win for us," he said.

Neither Girardi nor Howard was alarmed about the 24-year-old pitcher's blister. Howard called the exit "precautionary," and said he expected to make his next start. The Phillies have an off day Monday so they will have some flexibility in giving Howard extra time before that start if need be.

Harper likes what he's seen of Howard so far.

"The stuff is there," he said. "He just needs to hone it, calm it down a little. Long balls happen. He's going to be a dude for us for a long time."

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Clutch hits from Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto and elusiveness from Roman Quinn key Phillies' walk-off win

Clutch hits from Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto and elusiveness from Roman Quinn key Phillies' walk-off win

Bryce Harper's base hit in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Roman Quinn from second base and lifted the Phillies to a dramatic 6-5 win over the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.

Hector Neris blew a one-run lead with two outs in the top of the ninth. It was Neris' second blown save this week.

The winning run came with some drama. Mets rightfielder Michael Conforto made a strong throw to the plate, but Quinn, who had taken a wide turn at third, got his hand to the plate. The play was reviewed and the Phillies shouted in triumph when the verdict was rendered.

The Phillies played over a slew of early miscues in winning for just the second time in seven games and snapping a three-game losing streak.

The Phils are 6-9.

The Mets are 9-12.

Prospect exits early

Right-hander Spencer Howard left his second big-league start in the top of the fourth inning with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.

Howard was not sharp. He allowed seven hits and two walks in 3⅓ innings. He gave up four runs, one of which was unearned. Howard had trouble locating his off-speed stuff. He hung a changeup to Dominic Smith and a breaking ball to Robinson Cano and they hit back-to-back homers in the third inning to put the Mets ahead, 4-2.

Neither Phillies manager Joe Girardi nor Howard was alarmed about the 24-year-old pitcher's blister. Howard called the exit "precautionary," and said he expected to make his next start. The Phillies have an off day Monday so they will have some flexibility in giving Howard extra time before that start if need be.

Unacceptably sloppy

The Phillies, who lost a game to Baltimore earlier this week on two late and ugly misplays, made a host of miscues early in the game.

Shortstop Didi Gregorius botched the transfer on a potential double-play ball that cost Howard a run in the first inning. They misplayed three balls in the outfield. J.T. Realmuto made a throwing error that set up a run. They also made two baserunning mistakes in scoring position.

Somehow, they managed to win the game.

Ironically, another potential miscue turned into an important defensive play for the Phillies in the top of the eighth. Billy Hamilton swiped second base and the ball squirted away from second baseman Jean Segura as he tried to make the tag. Gregorius alertly retrieved the ball and made a perfect throw to Alec Bohm at third to nail Hamilton.

Just Terrific

Realmuto's three-run homer in the fifth gave the Phils a 5-4 lead. It was his eighth of the season. He has 20 RBIs.

Bullpen

The Phillies' much-maligned bullpen — it entered with an ERA of 10.13, worst in the majors — did the job for most of the night. Lefty Adam Morgan got one of the biggest outs of the game when he retired dangerous Pete Alonso (53 homers last season) on a fly ball to the wall in center to strand two runners and protect a one-run lead in the top of the sixth. 

Morgan entered with one out and inherited a runner at second. He got the second out then walked lefty-hitting Conforto to set up a potentially uncomfortable duel with Alonso and his right-handed power stick. Morgan's fastball has lacked zip so far this season. He muscled up and threw a first-pitch fastball, 93 mph, and Alonso hit it well but not well enough.

Tommy Hunter got five big outs late in the game. He started a huge double play in the seventh by knocking down a Wilson Ramos smash with his bare hand.

Jose Alvarez and Blake Parker both pitched a scoreless inning.

Neris allowed a hit and a walk to open the ninth and Robinson Cano tied the game at 5-5 with a two-out hit.

Though that run hurt, the Phils' bullpen was able to pitch 5⅔ innings of one-run ball.

Bohm contributes

Rookie third baseman Bohm singled home the Phillies' first run. It was his first big-league RBI. He also made a nice running grab of a foul ball down the left-field line to help Morgan preserve a one-run lead in the sixth.

With Bohm at third, Jean Segura has moved to second base and Scott Kingery to a utility role. Kingery spoke about the slump that cost him his starting job, and some nagging injury issues, before the game.

Up next

Aaron Nola (1-1, 2.79) opposes Mets lefty Steven Matz at 6:05 p.m. Saturday night.

Nola has allowed two runs over 14 innings in his last two starts against the Yankees and Braves, respectively. He has racked up 22 strikeouts and walked just one over that span.

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