Phillies

Phillies 8, Mets 3: Amid so many pitching issues, Aaron Nola's brilliance has returned

Phillies 8, Mets 3: Amid so many pitching issues, Aaron Nola's brilliance has returned

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NEW YORK — The Phillies finished off their first half with a big first inning, another gem from Aaron Nola and a series win.

The Phils beat the Mets Sunday, 8-3, to improve to 9-4 this season in the head-to-head series.

At 47-43, the Phillies are on an 85-win pace at the All-Star break — fewer wins than most expected and not enough to result in a playoff berth. There's still 44.4 percent of the season for them to change that outlook.

Nola is on fire. Over his last four starts, he has allowed just two earned runs in 29⅔ innings, a 0.61 ERA. The rest of the Phillies' rotation has a 7.58 ERA over that span. 

Pitching like an ace

For the second time in 10 days, Nola no-hit the Mets through five innings. The no-no was broken up with one out in the sixth on Pete Alonso's two-run homer, his 30th of the season. 

Nola's last four starts have looked like this: 29⅔ innings, 14 hits, 2 earned runs, 8 walks, 34 strikeouts.

In just those four starts, he has lowered his season ERA from 4.89 to 3.74.

Nola is 8-2 and the Phillies are 12-7 in his starts.

Early offense aplenty

For the second time in four games, the Phillies scored four runs in the first inning. This time, they hung on to win. 

They began the afternoon with five hits in their first six at-bats against Zack Wheeler, who is typically a tough customer and did settle in to retire nine in a row in innings 3-5. 

Rhys Hoskins blooped a ball to right-center where there was no outfielder to drive in the first run with a double. J.T. Realmuto followed with a two-run double down the line and Jay Bruce added an RBI knock.

Nola had a four-run lead before even taking the mound, which sure looked like enough given how well he's pitched the last three weeks.

Bruce continues to rake

Bruce later added a two-run homer and a solo shot, giving him 10 home runs as a Phillie and 24 overall this season. 

He's homered once every 10.3 at-bats as a Phillie and is slugging .641.

Hoskins added a solo shot in the ninth inning, his 20th of the season.

Harper's uber-aggressiveness

Gabe Kapler said two weeks ago that Bryce Harper plays harder than any superstar he's ever been around, and most who have followed the Phillies this season can understand why. Whether it's leaving his feet in the field, taking extra bases or wanting to play every inning of every game, Harper's approach to his craft is the kind Philadelphia fans love. In that way specifically, he could not have ingratiated himself more to the fan base in this first half.

But the aggressiveness has hurt the Phillies at times, too. Harper was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the second inning Sunday. It was the eighth time this season he has been thrown out on the basepaths, tied for most in the majors. (This does not include times he was caught stealing.)

Still, it would be inaccurate to point to those eight outs and determine Harper has been a negative on the bases. He has added a handful of doubles by busting it out of the box, and he's taken at least two bases 35 percent of the time that he's been on first or second and a single has been hit.

Up next

It's the All-Star break. The Phillies resume play on Friday against the Nationals.

Coming out of the break they have three at home with the Nats and four at home against the Dodgers. Not an easy task, especially considering the Nationals can use all three of their top starters in that series.

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Phillies lose hot-hitting Corey Dickerson for remainder of the season

Phillies lose hot-hitting Corey Dickerson for remainder of the season

ATLANTA – The Phillies will be without one of their hottest hitters for the final 14 games of the season.

Corey Dickerson was placed on the 60-day injured list Tuesday afternoon because of a broken left foot. He was replaced on the active roster by reliever Edubray Ramos. 

Dickerson was acquired from Pittsburgh in July and he quickly became a valuable bat for the Phillies. He drove in 34 runs in his first 33 games with the club.

Dickerson fouled a ball off his foot Sept. 4 in Cincinnati. He aggravated the injury last week and was diagnosed with a bone bruise. Subsequent tests revealed a fracture.

Dickerson is a free agent at the end of the season.

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Phillies official calls Tom Glavine protege Ethan Lindow 'a special pitcher'

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Phillies official calls Tom Glavine protege Ethan Lindow 'a special pitcher'

Ethan Lindow will be rooting for the Phillies when they open a three-game series in Atlanta against the Braves on Tuesday night.

A few years ago, he would have been pulling for the Braves. He might even have done the tomahawk chop. Why not? He grew up in the Atlanta area.

“I am a Braves fan, yeah,” Lindow said during a visit to Citizens Bank Park over the weekend.

He caught himself.

“I was a Braves fan,” he said with a laugh.

Lindow changed his allegiance to the Phillies after being selected by the club in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Locust Grove High School in the Atlanta area. He passed on a chance to pitch for the University of Alabama-Birmingham and does not regret the decision. In two years, he has become one of the Phillies’ most intriguing pitching prospects.

“He’s a special pitcher,” said Josh Bonifay, the Phillies director of player development.

How so?

“He attacks the strike zone. He mixes all his pitches in the zone. He limits hard contact. That's hard to do at a young age,” Bonifay said. “He's able to spin the fastball where it gets above the barrels. He's able to put hitters away with his off-speed pitches.”

Lindow, a 6-foot-3 lefty, pitched at two levels of Single A ball this season and recorded a 2.52 ERA in 110 2/3 innings. He was in Philadelphia over the weekend to pick up the Paul Owens Award as top pitcher in the Phillies minor league system.

“It’s a great honor,” the 20-year-old Georgian and former Braves fan said.

Lindow spent the majority of the season in the South Atlantic League, where he recorded a 2.66 ERA in 94 2/3 innings for Lakewood. He finished the season in the Florida State League and shined for Clearwater. He made three starts and gave up just three earned runs in 16 innings. He struck out 16 and walked just two over that span.

For the season, Lindow struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.8 per nine.

“Definitely my command,” he said when asked about his biggest improvement since the time he was drafted. “Being able to go out there and throw strikes. I really pride myself on going out and being able to attack the zone and being able to throw all my pitches for strikes.”

He throws a fastball, changeup, cutter and curveball. His fastball has touched 94 mph and there might be more in there as he gets what they call his “man strength.”

“He was able to command all of his pitches really well,” Bonifay said. “Once he got to Clearwater, I think he got a boost of energy from being called up to another level. He continued to pitch extremely well there and his strike percentage stayed the same.

“When you're at that age, the ability to command is very difficult. His ability to command all of his pitches is special at that age.”

As a teen, Lindow got some mentoring on the importance of command from one of the best command artists ever — Braves Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. Lindow played travel ball with Glavine’s son, Peyton.

Lindow has never lived down his first meeting with the elder Glavine.

“We were at a tournament,” Lindow recalled. “He was in the dugout. He was dressed as a normal guy, not like a Hall of Famer like you’d expect. So I’m asking, I asked his son, actually, I was like, ‘Who’s this guy sitting in the dugout?’ He’s like, ‘It’s my dad,’ and I’m like, ‘Really, Tom Glavine?’

“That’s been a joke with everybody since then. I did not realize it was him.”

Tom Glavine took a liking to Lindow — those lefty command guys stick together — and became a bit of a mentor.

Lindow recalled Glavine telling him: “Go out there, don’t worry about trying to throw so hard, hit your spots, work off of your movement.”

Of course, Glavine offered some pointers on throwing the changeup.

“He tweaked the fingers on my grip a little bit, trying to figure out what was best for me and it clicked,” Lindow said. “Besides that, I just picked his brain on what his game plan was going into games, stuff like that, and I think that helped a lot from a mental standpoint of pitching. Him sharing knowledge with me was a confidence booster.”

As a youngster, Lindow attended Braves games at Turner Field and SunTrust Park, the Braves’ shiny new home. He was a big fan of Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones and, of course, Glavine, who was easier to recognize with a tomahawk on his chest than he was in street clothes.

Lindow still has miles to go in his development. He projects to be back at Clearwater at the start of next season. But if all goes well on the development trail, he could find himself pitching for the Phillies against the Braves in Atlanta in coming seasons, and that …

“Would be a dream come true,” Ethan Lindow said.

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