Phillies

Phillies strike out nonstop but J.T. Realmuto picks them up in narrow win

Phillies strike out nonstop but J.T. Realmuto picks them up in narrow win

BOX SCORE

The Phillies struck out nonstop but mustered just enough offense thanks to J.T. Realmuto to win the first of a six-game homestand, 4-2, over the Cubs.

Realmuto scored the Phillies' first run and drove in their next two with a two-out solo home run in the fifth inning and a two-out RBI double in the seventh. The final run of insurance came on Roman Quinn's two-out RBI triple in the eighth.

The home run was Realmuto's 16th. He has not reached the higher offensive gear some expected he would in his first season as a Phillie, but Realmuto is still on track to surpass his career high of 21 home runs.

Realmuto has hit .310/.359/.530 since June 29 with 11 doubles and six homers in 145 plate appearances (see story).

Jason Vargas kept the game close but did not factor into the decision. 

Blake Parker, Mike Morin and Hector Neris combined for three scoreless innings to protect the win, which prevented the Phillies from falling to just a game over .500 for the first time since they were 39-38. Instead, the Phils are 61-58. 

It was not an inspiring offensive performance — the 15 strikeouts were the Phillies' most in a nine-inning game this season and they didn't even bat in the ninth — but they are so desperate for wins that right now, the end result matters so much more than how it was achieved.

Can't hit Q

Jose Quintana entered Tuesday's game with a strikeout rate similar to Jake Arrieta's. Quintana is a contact pitcher who relies on hitting the corners and generating groundballs.

Yet somehow, the Phillies made him look like Justin Verlander. In just six innings, Quintana set a career high with 14 strikeouts, five of which were looking. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins were a combined 0 for 6 against Quintana with five strikeouts, four looking.

It's not a good look when a pitcher who has averaged 6.75 strikeouts per nine innings since May 1 punches you out 14 times in six innings. Some of the strikeouts were the result of deep counts that ended with a good pitch. Some were just really bad at-bats.

The only earned run allowed by Quintana came on a solo home run from Realmuto, moments after a section of Phillies fans in left field began chanting, "We want Charlie."

The Phillies missed a chance for early runs when Harper grounded out on the first pitch with runners on second and third and two outs in the second inning.

The Phillies are last in the National League with a .213 batting average with runners in scoring position since the All-Star break.

Vargas does his job

For the second time in three starts as a Phillie, Vargas kept his team in the game, allowing two runs over six innings.

Vargas has a 4.15 ERA in his three starts, which sadly represents a massive upgrade for any Phillies starting pitcher not named Aaron Nola.

Vargas didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. He struck out only one but got 12 outs on the ground or on infield flies.

Ouch

Corey Dickerson, the Phillies' hottest hitter, was forced out of the game in the third inning after taking a pitch to the hand.

Dickerson swung through a 91 mph sinker but on the swing, his hand made direct contact with the ball. After being examined for a few minutes, Dickerson took a practice swing and came out of the game. He was replaced by Sean Rodriguez.

Dickerson was diagnosed with a hand contusion and is considered day to day. If he's forced to miss time, it could be Nick Williams again getting the call-up from Triple A. Williams has been optioned to Lehigh Valley four times and recalled three times already this season.

As a Phillie, Dickerson is 9 for 30 (.300) with a triple, three homers, nine RBI, no walks and 10 strikeouts.

Hittin' season about to begin?

New hitting coach Charlie Manuel will arrive Wednesday to assume the role for the season's final 43 games. 

If Manuel can work his magic, create some looseness in the clubhouse and conjure more confidence for the Phillies' hitters, he can make an impact (see story).

Up next

The much-anticipated Nola-Cole Hamels matchup takes place Wednesday night at 7:05 on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Nola is 10-3 with a 3.67 ERA. Hamels is 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA but is coming off of one of his worst starts. He allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits over three innings in Cincinnati last Thursday.

Hamels was out from June 29 until Aug. 2 with an oblique strain. This will be his first-ever start at Citizens Bank Park as a visitor.

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Bryce Harper's headband collection continues to grow with latest design for his son

Bryce Harper's headband collection continues to grow with latest design for his son

Since his time in Philadelphia began just shy of one year ago, Bryce Harper has embraced the city with open arms from the moment he arrived.

One thing that Harper is known for, outside of crushing dingers and having a monster arm in right field, is his vast headband collection that was seen throughout the season.

It’s something that he carried over from his time in Washington, but let’s be honest — the ones that he has worn here have been way cooler.

Who can forget the iconic Phanatic one, that had just about every fan running to the closest team store or taking to their phones to place an order for their own.


(Image credit: USA Today Images)

Harper truly took a liking to the Phanatic (who wouldn’t?) and even embraced the mascot via socks and cleats. Notice the details in the laces? They’re fuzzy. Seriously, who designed those? Give that person a raise.



(Credit for Images: USA Today Images)

And let’s just hope the whole Phanatic ordeal gets settled before the start of the season, so Harper can continue repping his biggest supporter.

Let’s get back to the main reason for this post — headbands.

There were many other ways he sported his new team last season, including a headband in army green, one to match the Phillies’ home uniforms and even one with stars.



(Credit for images: USA Today Images)

His latest one though, looks to be a custom design from JunkBrands.com. It’s personalized with Harper’s number but more importantly, his son’s name, Krew.


(Image credit: John Clark/Twitter)

We’re not sure how Harper is going to top last year’s lineup … but he’s off to a pretty great start.

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Realmuto feeling ‘blessed’ as he heads into arbitration showdown with Phillies

2020 Phillies spring training pitching probables: Battle for 5th starter begins this weekend

2020 Phillies spring training pitching probables: Battle for 5th starter begins this weekend

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The battle for the Phillies' fifth starter's job will get off to a quick start.

Manager Joe Girardi on Tuesday announced his starting pitchers for the first three Grapefruit League games.

Nick Pivetta will start the exhibition opener against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday in Lakeland.

Presumed opening day starter Aaron Nola will get the ball Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Clearwater.

Vince Velasquez will get the nod Monday against the Baltimore Orioles in Clearwater.

Girardi was not ready to announce any other pitching plans.

On paper, the top four spots in the Phillies' rotation appear set with Nola, Zack Wheeler, Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin. Pivetta and Velasquez will vie for the fifth spot with pitchers like Ranger Suarez, Cole Irvin and prospect Damon Jones also getting a look.

"I think it's important that all these guys that are competing for the last spots get a ton of looks and we can afford to do that," Girardi said. "We have a number of games, we have split-squad games. We'll look at people. I think it's important that we do that, that we're fair to everyone because it's fair to the team that way.

"As we go forward, each start gets a little bit more important, but I think it's not fair to evaluate start 1 and start 2. That's the buildup stage."

Girardi, his staff and the front office will use a couple of factors in picking a fifth starter. Obviously, there is performance in spring training. In addition, Girardi said, the team will consider who might profile best in the bullpen. Suarez opened eyes in the bullpen last year. Velasquez and Pivetta both spent time in the rotation and the bullpen last year. One of them appears to be ticketed for the rotation and the other for the bullpen.

"The bottom line is we're going to want our 13 best pitchers to go with us and we have to kind of put that puzzle together," Girardi said.

New pitching coach Bryan Price has mentioned that a starter transitioning to the bullpen can benefit from some adjustment time because relieving is "a learned craft." In a perfect world, the Phils will identify who starts and who goes to the bullpen before the Grapefruit League schedule ends so the adjustment period can commence.

"We would like to do that," Girardi said. "That doesn't mean it will happen. If they make our job really difficult, it might get drawn out longer. And you can make it difficult two different ways — they're all pitching good or they're all scuffling."

Girardi hopes they're all pitching good.

In Price's view, a starter transitioning to the bullpen should not view the move as a slight.

"There's an emotional hurdle of not starting that has to be cleared," he said. "Some guys look at it as a demotion when it can really be something that stimulates a career and greatly impact the ballclub."

No team gets through a season with five starters. So today's reliever might be tomorrow's starter. 

"Just because we pick a fifth starter at the end of March doesn't mean things couldn't change," Girardi said.

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