Phillies

Phillies bats deliver for Charlie Manuel; now if they can do it 42 more times ...

Phillies bats deliver for Charlie Manuel; now if they can do it 42 more times ...

Charlie Manuel wanted them to have more fun.

And they did.

In the stands. On the field. In the dugout. It was that kind of night for the Phillies and their fans. The Phils got a terrific outing from their staff ace and 13 hits, including three homers, from the offense on their way to an 11-1 win over Cole Hamels and the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night (see observations).

Abbondanza!

No.

Char-lie! … Char-lie! … Char-lie!

That’s what the fans were chanting on Manuel’s first night as the team’s (very successful so far) hitting coach.

“It was an incredible energy in the ballpark and rightfully so,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Charlie has earned that kind of adulation over a long period of time. He certainly adds to that loose, relaxed vibe. He's laid-back. He believes in our hitters. I think he's going to make sure our hitters know that.

“Our hitters looked like they believed in themselves today. It's no surprise. Charlie’s a great influence on our group.”

J.T. Realmuto, hitting .305 (47 for 154) with 14 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 27 RBIs in 42 games since June 24, doubled and belted his second grand slam in less than a month.

He also gunned down a runner at second for the 26th time this season.

Bryce Harper had his second multi-homer game in the last week and drove in three runs. He has six homers and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.

Harper had fun bonding with Manuel during spring training. He had more fun with Big Chuck after hitting his second homer of the game, a second-deck shot in the sixth inning.

“I took him a cup of water,” Harper said with a smile. “He was working so hard and everybody was cheering his name. I think Charlie’s never seen a homer he didn’t like. It’s fun to have him.”

Manuel moved from front office adviser to hitting coach after the team fired John Mallee on Tuesday. This was Manuel’s first time back in the dugout in exactly six years. He was fired from the Phillies manager’s job six years earlier to the day.

Manuel was brought in to try to spark a group of underperforming hitters over the final 43 games of the season. Phillies hitters have pressed mightily in recent weeks. Before the game, Manuel said he wanted to see the hitters get back to having some fun (see story).

They followed his coaching.

“The vibe in the dugout was loose and relaxed,” Kapler said. “We're going to be confident and loose and relaxed even through the hard times. It's an initiative of ours. We're going to stay loose through this.”

Of course, getting a pitcher as good as Aaron Nola two runs in the first, two in the second (Nola had an RBI hit against Hamels in that inning) and six in the third will ease the tension on any team.

“When you score two runs for Aaron Nola, you start to get the sense you have a good chance to win the game,” Kapler said. “It's not like you're doing the math or anything in the first inning, but you know giving Aaron Nola a cushion gives you a good chance to win. That certainly relaxes the group.”

Nola delievered seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball. He is 6-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 16 starts at home this season.

Nola was the Phillies’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft.

Hamels was the team’s first-rounder 12 years earlier. This was his first time pitching as an opponent at Citizens Bank Park and it did not go well. He was hammered for nine hits and eight runs and did not get an out in the third inning.

“Give credit where credit’s due,” he said, referring to the Phillies' offense.

He added: “It’s nice to be back. This is a great place. Great memories.”

This outing won’t go down as a great memory for Hamels.

But Nola sure liked his.

Especially his RBI single against Hamels in the second inning.

“I have to call Cole about that one and tell him I'm sorry,” Nola said with a laugh.

The Phillies haven’t swept a series since late June.

Maybe they can have some more fun Thursday night and pull one off.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Opinions on Bryce Harper after a year in Phillies pinstripes

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Phillies Talk podcast: Opinions on Bryce Harper after a year in Phillies pinstripes

Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman got together for a lil' Phillies Talk on the one-year anniversary of the Bryce Harper signing. Aside from their opinions and big-picture takeaways from Harper's first year with the Phillies, the guys discussed Zack Wheeler's imminent debut, Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen.

• Zack Wheeler debuts Saturday — what are we looking for?

• Some Phillies hitters thrilled to not have to face Wheeler anymore.

• Why so much Jean Segura at 3B early in camp?

• Defensive upgrades in the infield.

• Where is Andrew McCutchen? How does the knee look?

• Recalling the buzz in Phillies camp when Harper signed.

• The overlooked aspect of Harper's first season in Philly.

• How many Phillies records can Harper set?

• Honesty from J.T. Realmuto about Phillies pitchers, coaching changes and disrespect from the outside.

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Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19 / YouTube

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A way-too-early look at how high Bryce Harper could climb on Phillies all-time leaderboards

A way-too-early look at how high Bryce Harper could climb on Phillies all-time leaderboards

Can you believe it’s been a year since the Phillies signed Bryce Harper?

In most years, the final day of February will be the anniversary. Not 2020 because it’s a leap year, but here we are on Feb. 28, some 365 days after the afternoon splash that left Phillies fans delirious for months. 

Harper had a strong first year with the Phils. An overlooked component of it was his durability. He played in 157 games, the second most of his career. The Phillies will need him to be on the field that much to reach their ultimate destination. Perhaps at some point during his contract the rest of the roster will be good enough to contend even if he’s at less than 100%, but that time isn’t now.

Days left

Today marks 365 days down and 4,268 to go in Harper’s Phillies contract.

That 4,268 figure could be off by a few days but you get the point. It assumes the 2031 World Series ends on Halloween.

Dingers

Harper enters 2020 with 219 career home runs — averages of 27 per season and 33 per 162 games.

If he averages just over 35 home runs for the next eight seasons, he would hit his 500th home run toward the end of the 2027 season. Factoring in future time missed to injury and the fact that so far, he’s exceeded 35 only in his 2015 MVP season, 2028 is more realistic. Maybe even 2029.

Schmidt more than safe

Harper could hit 35 homers every year for all 13 years with the Phillies and still be 93 shy of Mike Schmidt.

Harper does have a decent chance to reach second on the Phillies’ all-time list. Ryan Howard occupies that spot with 382. Harper would need to average 29 longballs a year over the next dozen to surpass The Big Piece.

Schmidt had 11 seasons of 35+ home runs. No other Phillie had five. Harper is a safe bet to do so. 

Howard had four, Chuck Klein three, and Greg Luzinski and Jim Thome had two. 

The only other 35-homer seasons in Phillies history belong to Harper, Jayson Werth (2009), Pat Burrell (2002), Dick Allen (1966) and Cy Williams (1923).

Schmidt averaged 68 extra-base hits and 102 walks per 162 games in his career. 

Harper has averaged 69 extra-base hits and 102 walks per 162 games in his.

Which Phillies records could Harper set?

This should show how difficult it is to set franchise records when you don’t begin your career with that franchise. The longevity of Schmidt (18 seasons) and Jimmy Rollins (15) will make it difficult for Harper to reach higher than second in several categories. 

Harper would need to average just over 117 walks per season to break Schmidt’s mark. Highly unlikely.

Doubles? Harper hit 36 in 2019. He would need to average 37 a year over the next 12 to break Jimmy Rollins’ mark of 479. 

He’d need 180 hits per season to surpass Rollins. 

Sifting through careers, the best chance at a big offensive Phillies record for Harper would be seasons with 100+ RBI. He had 114 last year. Schmidt had the most seasons in Phillies history of at least 100 RBI with nine. Can Harper do it nine more times in 12 years?

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More on the Phillies