Phillies

Nick Pivetta turns in strong outing before Phillies' offense comes alive late in victory

Nick Pivetta turns in strong outing before Phillies' offense comes alive late in victory

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PHOENIX — The Phillies have gotten good starting pitching all season but lately they’ve taken it to another level.

Nick Pivetta pitched six shutout innings to lead the Phils to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Pivetta scattered five hits, walked one and struck out six to improve to 7-9. It was his second straight strong outing and the Phillies’ NL-leading 59th quality start.

The bullpen got the final nine outs, surviving some sloppy defense and two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Phils’ middle infield turned a big double play behind Victor Arano to get out of the eighth inning. The Phils also turned an important double play behind Luis Garcia to get out of the seventh when it was still a one-run game (see story). Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.

Offensively, the Phils got a solo homer from Nick Williams in the third inning against Zack Greinke, who gave up just that one run in seven innings. The Phils took that 1-0 lead into the eighth inning, when they rallied for four runs, two of which were unearned. Cesar Hernandez bunted and circled the bases for the Phillies’ first run in that inning after the Diamondbacks made two throwing errors. Asdrubal Cabrera had a two-run double and Jorge Alfaro an RBI single in that inning. All the runs were charged to Jake Diekman, the former Phillie.

The win improved the Phillies to 64-49. They lead the NL East by 1½ games over Atlanta.

The Phillies, who squandered eight shutout innings from Jake Arrieta in a 3-2 loss in 14 innings to Arizona on Monday night, will look to win the series on Wednesday afternoon.

Pivetta has put together two straight strong starts. Over that span, he has given up just two runs in 12 innings, while registering 13 strikeouts and walking just one.

Phillies starters have been outstanding over the last eight games. They have allowed just nine earned runs in 55 1/3 innings over that span for a 1.46 ERA. The Phils are 6-2 over those eight games. Both of the losses were by one run, in 13 and 14 innings, respectively.

Crawford almost ready
After playing 14 innings and dipping deep into the bullpen on Monday night, the Phillies added pitcher Enyel De Los Santos from Triple A before the game. Outfielder Dylan Cozens was sent back to Triple A and the Phillies played with a three-man bench. The Phils could have a deeper bench by the weekend as infielder J.P. Crawford could be activated any day now. He has been on the disabled list since June 20 with a broken left hand.

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Mets' Jacob deGrom wins NL Cy Young Award as Phillies' Aaron Nola comes in 3rd

Mets' Jacob deGrom wins NL Cy Young Award as Phillies' Aaron Nola comes in 3rd

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was the landslide winner of the National League Cy Young Award when the results were announced on Wednesday night.

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals finished second in the voting and Phillies ace Aaron Nola placed third.

DeGrom received 29 of a possible 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, received one first-place vote.

Nola received 27 third-place votes, two fourth-place votes and one fifth-place vote to easily outdistance Colorado's Kyle Freeland, the fourth-place finisher in the NL.

DeGrom, 30, had just 10 wins, fewest ever by a Cy Young-winning starting pitcher in a full season, for a Mets club that finished eight games under .500. However, he led the majors with a brilliant 1.70 ERA.

Nola, 25, was the Phillies’ first-round draft pick in 2014. He blossomed into an ace in his fourth season in the majors in 2018. He finished second in the NL in ERA (2.37) and third in innings (212 1/3) and WHIP (0.97).

Scherzer, 34, led the majors in innings (220 2/3) and strikeouts (300) in 2018 while recording  a 2.53 ERA, the second best of his career.

Nola became the first Phillie to finish in the top 10 of the NL Cy Young voting since Cole Hamels placed sixth in 2014. The last Phillies to finish in the top three were Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who finished second and third, respectively, in 2011. Halladay won the award in 2010.

Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell won the American League Award over Houston’s Justin Verlander and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber.

Here's the breakdown of the National League voting, courtesy of BBWAA.com:

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Phillies promote Chris Young to replace Rick Kranitz as pitching coach

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USA Today Images/AP

Phillies promote Chris Young to replace Rick Kranitz as pitching coach

The Phillies have made a change in their coaching ranks.

Chris Young has been promoted to head pitching coach, said a baseball source, confirming a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Young replaces Rick Kranitz, who served as the team’s head pitching coach in 2018.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak was not immediately available for comment on the sudden and surprising change.

A baseball source with knowledge of the move said it was made after Young had received an offer to become head pitching coach with another major league team. It is customary for teams to allow coaches to move on to greater roles or retain them with promotions. In this case, the Phillies promoted Young from assistant pitching coach to head pitching coach so that they could retain him.

Kranitz, 60, remains under contract with the Phillies and could conceivably return to the organization in another role. However, that is doubtful. Kranitz had previously served as a head major-league pitching coach with Miami, Baltimore and Milwaukee and should have no trouble hooking on with another organization.

Before becoming the Phillies’ head pitching coach last season, Kranitz was the team’s bullpen coach and then assistant pitching coach under Bob McClure. McClure and Kranitz were both instrumental in the grooming of Aaron Nola, who will finish in the top 3 of the National League Cy Young voting when the results are announced on Wednesday night.

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, big data, deep matchup study, etc.) that many teams, the Phillies included, are now taking toward coaching, game preparation and execution. 

Earlier this offseason, the Phillies hired Josh Bonifay, another former member of the Astros organization, to be their director of player development. Joe Jordan, the Phillies' previous director of player development, resigned over philosophical differences with the front office in September.

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