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Nationals 5, Phillies 1: First impressions after another grim performance

Nationals 5, Phillies 1: First impressions after another grim performance

BOX SCORE

Aaron Nola’s Cy Young chances took a hit in the Phillies’ latest loss Wednesday night. Nola lasted just five innings and gave up four runs, three on a pair of homers, in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, who swept the three-game series.

Nola’s ability to keep the ball in the yard had been impressive for most of the season. But after allowing just eight homers in his first 27 starts, he has surrendered seven in his last three. Nola is 16-5 with a 2.42 ERA in 30 starts.

Where they stand

Since they topped out at 63-48 and led the NL East by 1½ games on Aug. 5, the Phillies are 11-23. Their record is now 74-71. Incredible as it may seem given where they once were, the Phils might not even finish with a .500 record.

They are still in second place, trailing Atlanta by 7½ games with 17 to play. But they are only a half-game better than third-place Washington.

Hmm

The Phils’ deficit of 7½ games with 17 to play sounds familiar. Oh, yeah, that’s how far they were behind the Mets when they came back to win the NL East in the Jimmy Rollins, “We’re the team to beat,” year of 2007. This team doesn’t look capable of a similar comeback. This team is going in the wrong direction and appears out of gas.

Phillies have a new owner

Actually they don’t, but Stephen Strasburg does own them in the figurative sense. He pitched seven innings of one-run ball, walked none and struck out nine, to improve his lifetime mark against the Phils to 12-2 in 24 starts.

Not much offense

Manager Gabe Kapler praised his hitting coaches before the game (see story). Then the Phils went out and had just five hits. J.P. Crawford had three of them with an infield single, a bloop single and a homer.

Time to see some kids

Kapler said he would continue to play lineups that give the Phillies the best chance to win, but with their playoff hopes all but faded he is likely to get a look at some of the team’s younger players. The exercise started Wednesday night when Crawford started his first game at shortstop since June 18. Crawford got the Phillies on the scoreboard with a solo homer against Strasburg in the fifth inning.

Another young player, Roman Quinn, could be ready to return to the starting lineup as soon as Friday. He has been out since suffering a broken toe last week.

Kapler is consistent in strategy

The Phils trailed, 4-1, after Crawford’s homer in the fifth. Jorge Alfaro was then hit by a pitch. Nola was on his way out of the game, but it was possible he could have stayed around to try to move Alfaro to second with a bunt. Kapler instead sent Justin Bour to the plate to pinch-hit. That was no surprise because all season Kapler has made it clear that he will play for big innings and you do that by swinging the bat. Bour struck out. Cesar Hernandez struck out. Rhys Hoskins popped out to the catcher. Alfaro never advanced past first base and the Nats added a run on a solo homer by Juan Soto in the top of the sixth.

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Phillies add Adonis Medina and 2 others to 40-man roster, avoid losing them in Rule 5 draft

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Phillies add Adonis Medina and 2 others to 40-man roster, avoid losing them in Rule 5 draft

The Phillies on Tuesday added three minor-league prospects to their 40-man roster, thus protecting them from being selected by another club in next month’s Rule 5 draft.

The team added right-handed pitchers Edgar Garcia and Adonis Medina as well as middle infielder Arquimides Gamboa.

Garcia, a 22-year-old reliever, split the 2018 season between Double A and Triple A and recorded a 3.64 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 52 games. He struck out 72 batters and walked 27 in 64⅓ innings and held opposing hitters to a .206 batting average. He could push for work in the Phillies' bullpen sometime in 2019.

Medina, 21, is one of the organization’s top starting pitching prospects. He went 10-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) for Single A Clearwater in 2018. He struck out 123 and walked 36 in 111⅓ innings. He projects to pitch at Double A in 2019.

Gamboa, 21, is a talented defensive shortstop who could eventually be pushed to second base as top prospect Luis Garcia rises. A switch-hitter, Gamboa batted just .214 with a .304 on-base percentage in 114 games at Clearwater in 2018. He struck out 111 times.

Among those left unprotected were outfielder Jose Pujols and catcher Deivi Grullon.

Pujols, who turned 23 in September, was the Florida State League player of the year in 2018. He hit .301 with 18 homers, 58 RBIs and a .887 OPS in 95 games at Clearwater. He struck out 127 times in 352 at-bats.

Grullon, a rugged 22-year-old, hit .273 with 21 homers, 59 RBIs and a .825 OPS in 90 games at Double A Reading.

The additions left the Phillies’ 40-man roster at 38. Justin Bour remains on the roster even though multiple sources say he has cleared waivers. The next important roster date arrives on Nov. 30, which is the deadline for offering a contract to a salary arbitration-eligible player.

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Phillies to hold 3 retirement ceremonies for Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard

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Phillies to hold 3 retirement ceremonies for Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard

Phillies fans should prepare for another nostalgic year at the ballpark. 

Prior to games in May, June and July, the Phillies will hold retirement ceremonies for Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Rollins' ceremony will take place Saturday night, May 4, when the Phillies host the Nationals at 7:05.

Then comes Utley's night, Friday, June 21 against the Marlins at 7:05.

Howard will be honored Sunday, July 14, when the Phils face the Nationals at 1:05.

Rollins never officially retired but hasn't played since June 2016 with the White Sox. 

Howard retired the first week of September, and Utley hung up his cleats once the playoffs ended. 

In many ways, 2018 was the final chapter in the book of the 2008 Phillies. Jayson Werth also retired in late June after his situation with the Mariners didn't work out. Carlos Ruiz hasn't officially retired but did not find a team in 2018.

Cole Hamels and Ryan Madson, though, are still going strong as the final two active members of that championship team.

Fans interested in making it to all three ceremonies can do so with the six-game Phillies Legends Ticket pack, which includes the three retirement nights along with any other three games.

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