Phillies

Phillies miss big opportunity to gain ground in NL East race with latest loss to Nationals

Phillies miss big opportunity to gain ground in NL East race with latest loss to Nationals

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The Phillies opened an important six-game homestand with a poor display of fundamentals on Monday night.

The result was a 5-3 loss to the Washington Nationals in front of a smallish crowd of 21,261 at Citizens Bank Park.

At a time when they need to be playing well to stay in contention and possibly catch the first-place Atlanta Braves, the Phillies are coming up very small. In fact, they look like a team running out of gas (see story). The loss was the team’s seventh in the last nine games and 13th in the last 20.

Defense has been a season-long issue for the Phillies and it was again in this game. Starting pitcher Zach Eflin and leftfielder Rhys Hoskins both made defensive blunders that directly led to a pair of runs as the Nationals broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the fourth inning.

The Phillies entered the game with 99 errors, second most in the majors, and they ranked last in the majors with minus-101 defensive runs saved, according to Fangraphs data.

Trailing 5-2 in the sixth inning, the Phils appeared to be putting something together when Wilson Ramos and Asdrubal Cabrera both singled with no outs. Cabrera’s single went to right field and Ramos tried to go first to third on the play. Ramos probably would have made it hadn’t he simply downshifted into a jog after rounding second base. It’s possible that Ramos felt a twinge in one of his sore hamstrings (see story), but he did not leave the game. Nonetheless, his running into an out hurt the Phils in that situation.

Eflin did not pitch all that well. He gave up eight hits and five runs (two unearned) over 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and gave up a solo homer to Matt Wieters in the second inning. The home run gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead. They had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning on three straight hits in the first inning. Two of those hits went through the infield as the Phillies were using a shift.

Odubel Herrera has poor career numbers against Stephen Strasburg, so he did not start. Roman Quinn started in center field and batted leadoff with Cesar Hernandez filling the No. 3 hole. They both drove in a run against Strasburg in the third inning, Quinn with a triple and Hernandez with a single.

The Phillies did not score again until the eighth when Hoskins belted a solo homer, his 27th, to make it a two-run game.

The Phillies entered the game ranked 27th in the majors with a .238 batting average. They ranked 29th in the majors in hits (1,045) and were able to add just six to that total. Strasburg pitched six innings of five-hit, two-run ball for the win.

The Phillies are 70-61, 3½ games behind idle Atlanta in the NL East.

The Phils have a tough assignment Tuesday night as they face Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and the majors’ leader in strikeouts. Scherzer is 16-6 with a 2.13 ERA. The Phillies will counter with Aaron Nola, who out-pitched Scherzer last week in Washington. Nola is 15-3 with a 2.13 ERA. 

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It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

Jeopardy has been home to some great moments regarding Philadelphia sports in the past.

 I wish this was another one of these moments ... but it's not.

 It turns out, the show's host host Alex Trebek isn't a big fan of the Phillie Phanatic ... I know, I'm hurt too.


 The Phillies are in disbelief, we all are.
 
 Of course, fans had quite the reaction to the video that surfaced on social media. After all, the Phanatic is the best mascot in all of sports (totally unbiased, of course).




 

I don't even want to know what he thinks about Gritty.

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Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Right around the time the Washington Nationals were clinching their World Series berth this week, a guy who left that team to come play in Philadelphia posted a cute photo to his Instagram story with his baby son. It included the caption, "cuddle time is the best time."

I made light of the juxtaposition of that photo with what Nationals players were currently doing in a tongue-in-cheek tweet, but it's hard not to think about Bryce Harper during this Nationals run.

We know exactly how Nationals fans down in DC feel about their former favorite slugger who departed DC for big time bucks. They won't stop telling us.

But what was Harper feeling? Thanks to a one-on-one interview Harper did with Jayson Stark of the Athletic, we now have a glimpse into Harper's mind during this unique time.

Stark says Harper was effusive in his praise of the city of Philadelphia during their chat. And the majority of Harper's answers are very savvy in a public relations sense. Harper is good at saying what you think he's supposed to say. But it doesn't come off as disingenuous.

Stark asked Harper if he was feeling any jealousy watching his old pals spray champagne in the locker room and his answer comes off as pretty honest. From the Athletic ($):

“No,” he said again, without a millisecond’s hesitation, “because like I said, I made my decision, and that was my decision. And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn’t good. For me, it’s about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude towards anybody else.

“I think it’s about being able to be the person that I am,” he went on, “and not saying to myself, `Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m not a National.’ Or, `Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they’re doing. I can’t believe it. I’m so jealous.’ No. I’m so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”

There's plenty more to the piece worth diving into. Stark also spoke with former National/Phillie Jayson Werth, who knows a thing or two about both cities/clubs and also what it's like to play alongside Harper.

The Nationals' opponent in the World Series is yet to be set, but whether it's the Nationals, New York Yankees or Houston Astros who are spraying champagne at the end of it, you won't see Harper doing that. Unless he and his little baby pop up in his Instagram stories getting wacky.

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