Fitting end to win No. 80 as Phillies outlast Marlins in 15

Fitting end to win No. 80 as Phillies outlast Marlins in 15


With nothing else to play for, the Phillies kept their hopes of a winning season alive when they rallied for a 5-4 win over the Miami Marlins in 15 innings on Friday night.

The Phils won it on a bases-loaded error by shortstop Miguel Rojas on a ground ball by Adam Haseley. Rojas was trying to start a double play at the plate, but lost the handle on the ball.

Both bullpens were excellent. Seven Phillies relievers combined on 11 walk-free scoreless innings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Phillies had done that since 1893, when the current mound distance from home plate was established.

The win snapped a six-game losing streak.

The victory gave the Phils an 80-80 record with two games to play. They must win them both to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2011.

The game ended at 12:15 a.m.

Small ball

Manager Gabe Kapler loves to play for the big inning. That often results in his passing on a chance to move a runner with a sacrifice bunt and taking his chance on a hitter driving the ball in the gap without giving up an out.

Sean Rodriguez bunted after Cesar Hernandez led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. Bryce Harper quickly delivered Hernandez from third with the tying run.

After the game, Kapler said Rodriguez put down the sacrifice bunt on his own.

“He’s a baseball player,” Kapler said.

In the 15th, Andrew Knapp got down a sacrifice bunt after failing to do so two innings earlier.

Velasquez’ night

Vince Velasquez allowed seven hits and four runs over four innings in his final start of the season.

The enigmatic right-hander had another one of those seasons. He tantalized with his talent. He frustrated with his inconsistency.

Velasquez pitched 117 1/3 innings and had a 4.90 ERA. He more often than not struggled to get through the middle innings, but he racked up 130 strikeouts.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Velasquez this winter. As a second-year arbitration player, he won’t be overly expensive and he still has a tremendous arm so it’s likely he returns unless he is used in a trade. But Velasquez’ inconsistency makes it difficult to count on him in the rotation. His future still might still be in the bullpen. Either way, he will turn 28 in June. It’s way past time for him to put it together.

Excellent bullpen work

The Phillies’ bullpen came up huge with 11 scoreless innings, three each by Cole Irvin and Ranger Suarez.

Irvin has quietly strung together a very nice month. In eight September appearances, he has given up just one run in 12 1/3 innings.

Kingery exits

Scott Kingery started at shortstop but left the game with blurry vision in the fifth inning. After the game, Kingery did not seem alarmed, but he said he might need to get his eyes checked. It was not immediately clear if he would play Saturday night.

Rodriguez finished at shortstop and made a contribution with his sacrifice bunt in the fifth.

Harper’s night

It was interesting. He tripled home a run in the first inning, doubled in the third and drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. In between, he airmailed a cutoff man on a play that cost the Phillies a run in the third inning.

Harper is up to a career-high 111 RBIs. He has 71 extra-base hits.

Up next

Zach Eflin (9-13, 4.16) makes his final start of the season Saturday night. He will pitch against Miami lefty Caleb Smith (10-10, 4.31).

The Phillies will use a cast of relievers to get through Sunday’s season finale.

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Sources: Phillies to interview Buck Showalter on Monday

Sources: Phillies to interview Buck Showalter on Monday

The Phillies are quickly getting into their interview process for a new manager.

According to multiple sources, Buck Showalter will interview for the position on Monday. The meeting between Showalter and Phillies officials will take place in the metropolitan New York area, where Showalter is currently working as an analyst for the YES Network.

It is believed that Phillies officials will also speak with Joe Girardi while they are in the New York area on Monday. Girardi lives in that area.

Veteran skipper Dusty Baker is also on the Phillies' list of candidates, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday. A source confirmed that and said Baker would interview with the Phillies later this week.

At a news conference on Friday, Phillies officials would not definitively say what they were looking for in their new manager, but it is believed that they would prefer to hire someone with big-league managerial experience and that has made Girardi and Showalter the presumed frontrunners.

Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008 to 2017. His Yankees team beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series, prompting Phillies owner John Middleton to famously say, "I want my bleeping trophy back."

Showalter has managed the Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. He is a three-time American League manager of the year and has ties to several people in the Phillies front office, including club president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and assistant general manager Ned Rice. MacPhail led the Orioles baseball operations during part of Showalter's time in Baltimore and Klentak and Rice both worked in the front office. Rice, in fact, worked closely with Showalter during their time in Baltimore.

The Phillies fired Gabe Kapler last week and are one of eight teams with a managerial opening.

At Friday's news conference, MacPhail said Klentak would lead the search for a new Phillies skipper. 

"I don't think there's a relationship more important in a baseball organization than the manager and GM," MacPhail said. "If those two aren't simpatico, you really have issues. I believe it's John's and my goal that Matt go out and start the search. At the end, he's going to have to have the approval of John and I, just like with Gabe. John or I could have vetoed Gabe; we chose not to. But I can't imagine us hiring somebody that Matt is not fully on board with. John and I will have some influence on the guys that fit that criteria who we think might be the best fit, but it's got to emanate from the GM."

Showalter managed the Orioles though 2018 and is eager to manage again. Sources say he is intrigued by the Phillies job and has done homework on the roster.

Girardi interviewed with the Chicago Cubs last week and the New York Mets plan to interview him this week. He will manage somewhere in 2020.

Baker has 22 years of big-league managerial experience and is a three-time NL manager of the year. He last managed the Washington Nationals in 2017 and led that club to 97 wins and the NL East title.

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Source: Phillies set to interview Dusty Baker, one of Bryce Harper's former managers

Source: Phillies set to interview Dusty Baker, one of Bryce Harper's former managers

The Phillies will interview Dusty Baker for their managerial opening later this week, a source confirmed. The news was first reported Sunday by the Chicago Tribune.

Baker, 70, is currently a special advisor to the CEO for the San Francisco Giants.

He has 22 years of managerial experience and is almost universally well-liked. He's a player's manager who is 227 games over .500 in his career. He managed Bryce Harper in 2016 and 2017; the Nationals won 95 and 97 games those years but Baker's contract was not renewed after a pair of NLDS losses. It was a surprising move.

Baker is one of several prominent veteran managers on the market. Joe Girardi, Joe Maddon and Buck Showalter are also prime candidates to claim one of the eight available jobs. Maddon has been linked heavily to the Angels, while Girardi has been linked heavily to the Mets.

The Phillies will interview Showalter Monday in the New York area, according to multiple sources.

At Friday's press conference, Phillies GM Matt Klentak spoke of the organization's desire to have its next manager believe in their core baseball principles. It will likely be a manager who utilizes more of a blend of data and gut-feel. Baker has more than two decades of big-league experience and this would be the most analytically-driven organization he's ever been a part of. The fit is still worth exploring.

It makes sense for the Phillies to cast a wide net in their search. Managing partner John Middleton referenced Craig Counsell on Friday as the kind of high-quality manager whose value can be uncovered during this sort of process.

For more on other potential Phillies managerial candidates, look here.

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