Phillies

A quiet loss, but a successful weekend in Pittsburgh for the Phillies

A quiet loss, but a successful weekend in Pittsburgh for the Phillies

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PITTSBURGH — The Phillies have 28 come-from-behind wins so you could say they had the Pittsburgh Pirates right where they wanted them Sunday afternoon.

Down by three runs, the Phils got the first two runners on base in the top of the sixth inning with the middle of the batting order due up.

The Phils came away with nothing in the inning as Pirates starter Nick Kingham got Carlos Santana to pop up before striking out Nick Williams and Scott Kingery.

And so went the Phillies’ best chance to get something going in what turned out to be a 4-1 loss at PNC Park.

Despite seeing their six-game winning streak come to an end, the Phillies had a pretty successful weekend in Pittsburgh. They won two of three and claimed a share of first place in the NL East as they head to New York for four games with the Mets and a series-opening doubleheader Monday.

Zach Eflin and probable All-Star Aaron Nola will start Monday’s game for the Phillies. On Sunday, the Phillies needed to reach down to Triple A for a starting pitcher. Drew Anderson got the call by virtue of being on the 40-man roster. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed eight hits and four runs over five innings and took a loss in his first major-league start.

Cesar Hernandez was held out of the starting lineup for the second day in a row — he struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth — after taking a foul ball off his right foot Friday night.

Manager Gabe Kapler used catcher Andrew Knapp in the leadoff spot. It was the first time in the live-ball era (starting in 1920) that a Phillies catcher batted leadoff.

Knapp went 0 for 4, but that didn’t make him unique. The Phillies had just four hits on the day. They struck out 12 times and went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Their only run came on a 422-foot solo homer from Nick Williams in the fourth.

Kingham, who had been hit hard in his previous start, a loss in Los Angeles, held the Phillies to four hits and a run over six innings of work. He helped his own cause with a two-out, two-run double against Anderson in the fourth inning.

Roster note

To make room for Anderson on the roster, the Phillies sent reliever Yacksel Rios to Triple A.

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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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