Phillies

Phillies stumble again, return for home opener with 1-4 record

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Phillies stumble again, return for home opener with 1-4 record

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Those walks will kill you.

So will those triples over the rightfielder’s head.

The Phillies are off to a 1-4 start after suffering a 4-2 loss to the New York Mets at blustery Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon.

Amed Rosario, the Mets’ No. 9 hitter, broke a 2-2 tie with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning when he drove a two-run triple over rightfielder Nick Williams’ head. The triple scored Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores, both of whom had walked against right-hander Drew Hutchison.

Williams was playing extremely shallow against the right-handed hitting Rosario. Had Williams not been positioned so shallow, he might have been able to run down the ball for the third out (see story).

It was the second straight game in which the Phils were burned by their own defensive alignment. In the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s game, they failed to turn a double play because they were in an infield shift (see story). The Mets then scored two runs in the inning en route to a 2-0 win.

The Phillies have lost three in a row as they head back to Philadelphia for the home opener against Miami on Thursday afternoon (3:05 p.m./NBC10).

The Phils have scored just four runs in those three losses. Their hitters struck out 15 times Wednesday for a total of 26 in the two games in New York.

Aaron Nola survived a rocky first inning in which he threw 32 pitches, walked two and served up a two-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes on his way to five innings of two-run ball. He was at 87 pitches after five innings and manager Gabe Kapler went to his bullpen.

The Phillies scored both of their runs in the third inning, breaking a 19-inning scoreless drought that stretched back to the first inning in Atlanta on Saturday night. Nick Williams plated one of the runs with a ground out and Carlos Santana scored the other on a swipe of home when Rhys Hoskins got snagged in a rundown between first and second.

The Phillies had just five hits. Shortstop J.P. Crawford is one of several Phillies scuffling in the early going. He was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Overall, he is 1 for 15 with five strikeouts and one walk.

Odubel Herrera did not start for the second time in five games. He was 1 for 17 lifetime against Mets starter Noah Syndergaard.

In health news, reliever Pat Neshek, on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, had an MRI. It showed no significant injury. However, Neshek will remain shut down for another two weeks before he starts throwing.

Meanwhile, Mark Leiter Jr. has been cleared to start a throwing program. He is on the DL with a strained flexor muscle in his right arm.

Nick Pivetta gets the ball in Thursday’s home opener. He will face Miami lefty Caleb Smith.

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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Phillies manager update: Dusty Baker has second interview, Buck Showalter on tap Friday, Joe Girardi still to come

Phillies manager update: Dusty Baker has second interview, Buck Showalter on tap Friday, Joe Girardi still to come

Interviews continued Thursday for the Phillies’ vacant manager’s job.

According to multiple sources, Dusty Baker spent a second straight day in Philadelphia meeting with club officials. Baker went through a first round of interviews on Wednesday.

Buck Showater and Joe Girardi met with Phillies officials on Monday in the New York metropolitan area, according to multiple sources.

Showalter has been working as an analyst for the YES Network in New York during the postseason. Sources say he pulled out of his scheduled assignments for Thursday and Friday nights because he will be in Philadelphia for a second round of interviews on Friday.

Girardi is expected to have a second round of interviews early next week.

Though it’s possible more candidates could emerge, the Phillies are currently focused on just these three candidates.

“They want major-league experience,” a person with knowledge of the Phillies’ thinking said earlier this week.

Baker, Showalter and Girardi have a combined 53 years of big-league managing experience and they have won a combined seven manager of the year awards and 13 division titles. Girardi led the New York Yankees to the World Series title in 2009. His club beat the Phillies in six games.

Girardi may very well be the Phillies’ preferred candidate because of his experience working with a front office that values the use of analytics in building a roster and running a game. The Yankees are one of baseball’s analytic powerhouses. Girardi, however, is a former catcher who also relies on instinct and feel in running a game. That balance would be attractive to the Phillies.

Girardi is also being pursued by the New York Mets and they have geography going for them as Girardi lives outside the city.

With the second round of interviews underway, it's possible the Phils could name a manager as early as next Thursday, between Games 2 and 3 of the World Series.



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