Phillies

Marlins 5, Phillies 3: After Gabe Kapler ejected for first time as manager, Phillies lose sixth straight game

Marlins 5, Phillies 3: After Gabe Kapler ejected for first time as manager, Phillies lose sixth straight game

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The Phillies’ losing streak swelled to a season-high six games in a 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Saturday that was marked by manager Gabe Kapler’s first ejection.

The Phillies have lost two in a row to the National League’s worst team.

The Phils’ bullpen gave up four runs in the late innings in squandering a 3-1 lead.

The Phillies’ offense generated a pair of solo homers (Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins in the third inning) but only five hits in the first eight innings. The Phils left the bases loaded in the ninth.

Three weeks ago, the Phillies were 10 games over .500 and led the NL East by 3 ½ games.

They are now just two games over .500 and in danger of falling 5 ½ games back, depending on the outcome of the Atlanta-Washington game. Atlanta leads the division. Third-place Washington entered Saturday just two games behind the second-place Phillies.

Bullpen blues

Adam Morgan, in his first appearance since missing nearly a month with a sore elbow, was charged with three runs in the seventh as the Marlins turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. The Marlins took the lead on a two-run double by Wilkin Castillo. The double came on the first pitch thrown by Edubray Ramos after Morgan had exited.

Castillo’s hit was his first hit in the majors in 10 years. The 35-year-old journeyman catcher has been in the minors for the past decade. He was called up on Friday.

Vinny Velo impresses

You never know what you’re going to get from Vince Velasquez.

On this day, the Phils got the good Vinny Velo.

Pressed back into starter’s duty after nearly a month in the bullpen (he was used once as an “opener”), Velasquez gave the Phils five innings of one-run ball. He allowed just one hit, a solo homer to JT Riddle. Velasquez walked none, struck out five and left with a 3-1 lead.

Harper’s day

Harper smacked a solo homer in the third inning and drove in a run with a one-out, beat-the-shift single in the fifth. Harper once again got too aggressive on the bases and was thrown at second base. It was the seventh time this season that Harper has made an out on the bases, tying him for the major-league lead.

Harper wasn’t the only offender on the bases. Cesar Hernandez did not run hard on what should have been a double in the eighth inning. He ended up on first and was erased in a double play.

A first

Kapler received the first ejection of his managerial career in the fourth inning.

Kapler argued vehemently with home plate umpire Chris Guccione after Scott Kingery struck out. Kingery appeared to be hit by the pitch, but first base umpire Mike Everett ruled that he had swung at the pitch.

During the argument, Kapler waved his arms and pointed his finger at both umpires. He kicked dirt in their direction after the ejection. Kapler could face discipline from MLB for that.

As blowups go, it wasn't quite Larry Bowa quality, but it was notable considering how Kapler has kept his emotions in check during his season-and-a-half as Phillies manager. The crowd loved Kapler's emotional outburst and he left the field to a big ovation.

Up next

The series concludes on Sunday afternoon. Enyel De Los Santos will come up from Triple A and make the start against Miami right-hander Jordan Yamamoto.

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Phillies finally add to bullpen by agreeing to deal with Drew Storen

Phillies finally add to bullpen by agreeing to deal with Drew Storen

The Phillies finally added a reliever, agreeing this week to a minor-league deal with former Nationals closer Drew Storen, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Storen had some really good seasons with the Nationals at the beginning of the decade. From 2010-15, he had a 3.02 ERA in 355 appearances, most of which were high-leverage.

He had an unceremonious exit from D.C. after two poor postseason showings. He allowed the game-tying and game-winning runs to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS, and allowed a game-tying run in the 2014 NLDS as well.

When the Nationals acquired Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies for Nick Pivetta in the summer of 2015, it led to the narrative that Storen's confidence was shaken and he was never the same.

Storen was traded to Toronto a calendar year after the Nats got Papelbon, and he's since spent time in the organizations of the Blue Jays, Reds and Royals. He underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2017 and has barely pitched the last two seasons, making just nine appearances in the minors with the Royals, all at Double A.

Storen is a classic buy-low reliever. Maybe things click in spring training and he makes the team and can provide the Phillies another quality right-handed relief option. The odds are probably against it, but the Phillies do have plenty of open roles in their bullpen.

The big wild-card in the Phils' bullpen is Seranthony Dominguez, who missed most of last season with arm injuries but could be a much-needed and useful weapon if he can revert to his 2018 form.

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J.T. Realmuto will fight for future generations in salary arbitration case against Phillies

J.T. Realmuto will fight for future generations in salary arbitration case against Phillies

More than once last summer, J.T. Realmuto expressed his affection for Philadelphia and said he’d one day be up for signing a long-term contract extension with the Phillies.

The specter of his upcoming salary arbitration hearing hasn’t changed his outlook.

“Not at all,” he said before the 116th annual Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet Monday night. “Anybody who knows about the arbitration process knows it’s business. It’s not necessarily me against the Phillies right now. There’s definitely not going to be any hard feelings there. So I feel like we’re at the same place we were two or three months ago as far as with the contract extension.”

Before the two sides go to work on a long-term contract extension, Realmuto is likely to play the 2020 season on a one-year contract. Barring an unlikely settlement, Realmuto will have his 2020 salary decided by an arbitration panel next month. He is seeking $12.4 million. The Phillies’ arbitration offer is $10 million. The arbitration panel will hear arguments from both sides then pick one number or the other.

Realmuto knows the game. He went to arbitration with the Miami Marlins two years ago and lost.

“I have a good understanding of the process,” he said. “I know it’s not the Phillies trying to slight me. It’s more the system. There are no hard feelings there.”

Realmuto, who turns 29 in March, is coming off a season in which he solidified himself as baseball’s best catcher while making $5.9 million. He was an All-Star. He was the catcher on the inaugural All-MLB team and he won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in the National League. He led all big-league catchers in hits, RBIs, total bases and extra-base hits while swatting a career-high 25 homers. He threw out 37 runners trying to steal, the most in the majors.

Realmuto’s 2019 season put him in a good position to win his arbitration case.

But he made it clear that this is about more than just himself.

"It’s not me against the Phillies,” he said. “It’s the system that we’re trying to fight right now.  I’m trying to go out and set a precedent for future catchers in the game and I feel like I had a season worthy of doing that so I’m going to fight for that.

"This is not because the Phillies didn’t give us a chance to come to an agreement. We’re fighting for a cause, fighting for the rest of the catchers. Historically, catchers have not been treated well in the arbitration process and we feel like this is an opportunity to advance that for the catchers. Just being able to fight for those guys is something I take pride in. I believe in fighting for future generations and I’m excited to do it."

Once Realmuto’s 2020 salary is established in mid-February, the Phillies are expected to initiate talks on an extension that would begin at the start of the 2021 season. Those talks should commence during spring training. A contract extension is expected to cover up to five seasons with an average annual value of over $20 million.

Realmuto, who was honored as the PSWA’s Athlete of the Year for 2019, was joined by new Phillies manager Joe Girardi at the banquet.

“I’m really excited to play for him,” Realmuto said. “I feel like he’s got a lot of feel. He knows exactly what he wants to do as a manager and has a lot of confidence and he’ll be able to instill that confidence in us.”

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