Phillies

Phillies allow 7 homers as club thrashed by Nationals

Phillies allow 7 homers as club thrashed by Nationals

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The Phillies absorbed a hellacious beating at the hands of the Washington Nationals on Friday night. The Nats ambushed starter Nick Pivetta for seven runs in the first two innings, ran out to an 11-run lead and powered their way to a 17-7 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The weather was steamy — hittin’ weather as Charlie Manuel used to say — and the Nationals did a lot of that against Pivetta and Hector Neris. The Nats hit a pair of two-run homers in the first inning (Trea Turner and Juan Soto) and a three-run homer (Anthony Rendon) in the second against Pivetta, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings.

The Nats got another homer — a three-run shot — from Bryce Harper in the fourth inning in building an 11-0 lead. The homer, against Yacksel Rios, was Harper’s NL-leading 20th.

Things got ugly in the ninth inning when Neris gave up three home runs and was serenaded by boos after finally getting the third out.

The Nats hit seven homers in the game. Entering the game, they had hit just 12 in the entire month of June.

The loss left the Phillies at 43-37. They are a game better than Washington (42-38) in the NL East standings. Atlanta leads the division.

June was considered to be a tough test for the Phillies. Friday night’s loss means the Phils will not finish the month with a winning record. They are 12-14 with one game to play in the month. It still has been a solid month for the Phillies with series wins over the Rockies, Brewers, Cardinals and Nationals last week. With two games left against the Nats this weekend, there is still time to win this series, but the Phils will need better starting pitching from Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrieta.

Pivetta fell to 4-7 with the loss and his ERA swelled from 4.06 to 4.71 in 17 starts.

The 25-year-old right-hander opened the season as one of the team’s bright spots. He went 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA in his first 10 starts. Since then, he is 0-5 with a 7.09 ERA in seven starts.

Despite being down 11-0, the Phillies battled back and managed to at least make the game interesting with a 10-hit attack that included home runs from Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery and Carlos Santana.

Hoskins has homered in three straight games, giving him 14 on the season and eight since coming off the disabled 19 games ago. He has 22 RBIs over that span.

Hoskins’ home run in the fifth inning against Washington starter Erick Fedde was pretty impressive. It came on a full-count splitter on the 14th pitch of the at-bat and after Hoskins had fouled off seven straight pitches. Hoskins fouled off eight pitches in all in the at-bat.

That was about the extent of the Phillies' highlights on a forgettable night.

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

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Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

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