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

BOX SCORE 

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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Taryn Hatcher has a whirlwind experience at 41st Annual PAL softball game

Taryn Hatcher has a whirlwind experience at 41st Annual PAL softball game

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher had an interesting night at the 41st Annual PAL softball game.

She put the ball in play, boosted team spirit and ... stole the trophy.

Check out her eventful evening at Citizens Bank Park in the video above.

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As trade deadline approaches, Phillies GM Matt Klentak to get firsthand look at much-coveted Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd

As trade deadline approaches, Phillies GM Matt Klentak to get firsthand look at much-coveted Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd

The Phillies began an important week in the schedule with a 2-1 victory in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Despite scoring just three runs in the final two games, the Phillies took two of three from the Pirates to remain entrenched in the National League wild-card race as next week's trade deadline (and big decisions for the front office) steams toward us.

And, this year, it's a real trade deadline. There are no more August waiver deals, the kind that once brought the Phillies Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs and the Houston Astros Justin Verlander in 2017, two months before they won the World Series.

The Detroit Tigers traded Verlander to the Astros in August 2017. Two years later, the Tigers, who entered Monday tied with Baltimore for the worst record in the majors, remain in a rebuild and they have several trade candidates that intrigue contending teams.

The Phillies will get a good look at one of them — maybe more — over the next couple of days when they travel to Detroit for a quick, two-game interleague series on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak will join the team in Detroit for the series and will no doubt have his eyes trained on Tuesday night's Detroit starter, lefty Matthew Boyd.

Though Klentak would surely prefer otherwise, it's possible he could also get a look at Shane Greene, the Tigers' All-Star closer. Outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and lefty starter Daniel Norris are also on Detroit's trading block.

The Phillies have big needs in the starting rotation and at the back end of the bullpen. Sources say the Phils have had conversations with the Tigers about all of their available players, particularly Boyd and Greene. Both are the type of pitcher the Phillies would like to acquire in that they are talented and under contractual control beyond this season. In other words, they are not rentals. Boyd has three years of control after this season and Greene is under control through next season.

Now, here's the rub: That type of control raises the price tag on these pitchers and by all accounts, the Tigers are looking for a huge score — as they should.

One baseball executive familiar with the Tigers' thinking said the club was looking for four young players for Boyd — "two with star potential and two more with a chance."

The Tigers are in position to seek a huge score not only because Boyd has so many years of control remaining but also because the market for starting pitchers heavily favors sellers. Toronto's Marcus Stroman (the Phillies have scouted him recently) and Boyd are the top two controllable pitchers on the market. It remains unclear if Arizona will deal lefty Robbie Ray, who is under control for another season, or Zack Greinke because the Diamondbacks are still in the wild-card chase. The D-backs could hold on to both and look to deal them in the offseason if they desire. The market for Greinke will be limited, now and in the offseason, because he is owed over $80 million through 2021 and he has a no-trade clause. The Phillies have plenty of money and would prefer to use that over prospect capital, but even they would have reservations about taking on that amount of money for a guy who will pitch at 36 and 37 the next two seasons and has Philadelphia on his no-trade list.

Madison Bumgarner is another pitcher that the Phils have long liked, but his availability is now complicated by the fact the Giants have gotten hot and are now in the wild-card race. (Surely, teams with available starters like Toronto and Detroit love that.)

In the end, Bumgarner might not be quite as attractive for a team that is more than one piece away from a title because he will be a free agent at season's end. The Phillies, just four games over .500 and with multiple holes, have to consider the prospect cost of a rental player because they just don't appear to be good enough to make a significant October run.

Can we beat the Dodgers by adding just one player, or are we better off hanging onto our prospects? That's a question teams like the Phillies have to ask themselves. It is a question they have already asked themselves.

For someone like Boyd, the Tigers would probably ask the Phillies for a package that would include position players such as Alec Bohm, Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley, or pitchers Adonis Medina, Spencer Howard and Francisco Morales. The Phils might part with a couple of these guys — hey, they're going to need pitching next season, too — but their current place in the standings would suggest that they will also be very protective of this group, especially Bohm and Howard.

Nonetheless, it should be interesting to watch Boyd pitch against Aaron Nola on Tuesday night in Detroit. Boyd is 6-8 with a 4.13 ERA in 20 starts for the lowly Tigers. He walks under 2.0 batters per nine innings and strikes out an even 12.0. He pitches a little like J.A. Happ, unafraid to go after hitters up in the zone with a sneaky fastball and complement it with a good changeup. He'd be a nice pickup for the Phillies, for now and beyond, and Matt Klentak will be watching. Is he willing to pay the price? Tick, tick, tick. The trade deadline is nine days away.

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