Phillies

Phillies treat 350 employees to virtual pizza party

Phillies treat 350 employees to virtual pizza party

Social distancing has forced people to get creative in the way they bond with friends during the coronavirus health crisis. Virtual happy hours and virtual game nights have become quite popular. Last Thursday night, more than 350 Phillies employees got together for a virtual pizza party.

"It was a lot of fun," one participant said. "A really nice gesture. It was great to see everybody."

The event required some significant planning. Thirty-two employees were designated as "pizza captains." Each captain reached out to a group of employees and received individual pizza orders. The orders were phoned in to each employee's favorite pizza shop for pickup or delivery. Some 280 pizzas were ordered and 180 local pizza shops were supported. A group of high-ranking team officials — the folks at the front of the media guide, as they say — personally picked up the tab for the pizza party, which was hosted by executive VP Dave Buck. 

Employees from 12 different departments from the front office to the playing field participated in the 90-minute party. Folks logged in from 20 different states and the Dominican Republic.

Manager Joe Girardi participated from his home in Florida. Scott Kingery logged in. And there were two special guests — Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Not sure if they were thin-crust or thick-crust guys.

The Phillies' offices have been closed since mid-March. While some teams have cut pay and furloughed employees during the shutdown, the Phillies have committed to paying full-time staff through the month of May. The team has also offered fans the opportunity to seek refunds for April and May games that have been impacted by the shutdown.

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Joe Girardi after sloppy Phillies’ loss: 'In a lot of ways, we gave it away'

Joe Girardi after sloppy Phillies’ loss: 'In a lot of ways, we gave it away'

There were times Tuesday night when the Phillies produced in the clutch.

And there were times when they tripped all over themselves and looked like the Keystone Kops.

In the end, the Phillies could not play over their sloppiness. They played poorly in the field in the late innings and, of course, their punching-bag bullpen (10.19 ERA) coughed it up once again. The result was the craziest and most demoralizing loss of the Joe Girardi era, a 10-9 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park.

“We kept coming back but weren’t able to close out the deal,” Girardi said afterward. “We had our chances. We made some mistakes that really cost us. I thought our guys did a great job offensively battling back. Unfortunately, we were one hit short. It’s just frustrating. That’s a game that I thought in a lot of ways, we gave it away.”

Let’s count the ways that the Phillies gave it away.

Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler could not protect a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning.

Reliever Tommy Hunter came into a tie game in the seventh and allowed three hits and two runs to the first three batters.

The Phillies took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on a pair of homers by Bryce Harper (two-run shot) and Segura (solo shot).

That was clutch.

Hector Neris was called on to close out the one-run lead in the top of the ninth, but he couldn’t do it. He allowed the tying run then was charged with two more when third baseman Segura tripped over the pitcher’s mound while tracking a pop up that would have been the third out.

No problem. Didi Gregorius tied the game at 8-8 with a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth. The Phillies still had life despite Neris' blown save.

Under MLB’s new COVID protocols, both teams started the 10thinning with a runner on second base.

The Orioles scored quickly when Austin Hays — and we’re not making this up — stroked a leadoff, two-run, inside-the-park homer. Phillies centerfielder Roman Quinn tried to make a charging, diving catch on the ball. He missed it and it rolled to the warning track as Hays circled the bases.

The Phils got one back in the bottom of the 10th, but left two men in scoring position.

Not enough.

Painful loss.

Sloppy loss.

The plays involving Segura and Quinn led to four runs.

Segura called off first baseman Rhys Hoskins on Pedro Severino’s pop up in the middle of the infield. It should have been Hoskins’ ball.

“I think that’s probably the inexperience of Jean at third,” Girardi said. “He’s used to being at shortstop and taking charge. It hurt us tonight.

“Hector was a little off. I know he’s frustrated about it. But through all that, we still had a chance. We blew a pop up.”

Hoskins called for the ball. In retrospect, he said he believed he should have yelled louder.

“I heard something from my right and typically those guys take priority over the first baseman,” Hoskins said. “I just need to be louder. I probably called it a little too early.”

In the 10th, Quinn should have conceded the hit to Hays and played the ball on one hop.

“The effort is great,” Girardi said. “But it turns into two runs where you have a chance to only give up one. That’s kind of frustrating.”

Deolis Guerra gave up the inside-the-parker.

Harper witnessed the ball get by Quinn from right field.

“You love the hustle,” Harper said. “You love the effort. You never want to take that away from Q because he plays a great centerfield. But we have to be a little bit smarter. I had to learn that as well when I was playing right field coming up. I’d wanted to get every ball for my pitchers. But that’s a spot, with a guy on second, where you have to keep the ball in front of you and hopefully keep that double play in order so they hopefully score just one run.

“Coulda, woulda, shoulda and we might have been tied going into the 11th. Like I said, I love the effort from Q. But that’s definitely a ball we’ve got to keep in front and I think he knows that.”

Twelve games — or 20 percent — into the 60-game sprint, the Phillies are 5-7.

They have two more with the Orioles in this series. The O’s are 8-7 after losing 108 games last season.

“We’ve got to win games,” Harper said. “This is win or go home, pretty much. With a 60-game schedule, we can’t make mistakes. We’ve got to count on the guys we know we can count on. It’s tough to go into the inning with a lead and lose a ballgame.”

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Phillies lose one of their wildest games in recent memory

Phillies lose one of their wildest games in recent memory

BOX SCORE 

They don't get much crazier than this.

The Phillies lost, 10-9, to the Baltimore Orioles in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.

Baltimore's Austin Hays led off the 10th with a two-run, inside-the-park homer against Phillies reliever Deolis Guerra.

The Orioles, as mandated by MLB's COVID protocols, started the inning with a runner on second.

The Phillies started the bottom of the 10th with a runner on second. Jay Bruce had an RBI single, but the Phils could not push home another run even though they had runners at second and third with one out.

Hays' homer, his first of the season, came on a line drive to center field. Roman Quinn sprinted in and tried to make a diving catch, but the ball got by him and rolled to the warning track as Hays circled the bases.

It was one of the wildest Phillies games in recent memory. The Phillies were at times clutch and at other times sloppy.

They trailed, 8-6, in the bottom of the ninth but tied the game on a two-out single by Didi Gregorius.

The Orioles had rallied for three runs against Phillies closer Hector Neris in the top of the ninth.

The first run came on a one-out single by Renato Nunez.

With two outs, the Orioles scored two runs on an infield pop up that fell in when Phillies third baseman Jean Segura tripped over the pitcher's mound and could not make a play.

First baseman Rhys Hoskins had a bead on the ball, but Segura called him off.

Pedro Severino, who hit the infield pop up, was credited with a two-run single.

It was a dreadful inning for the Phillies, who just moments earlier had taken a one-run lead on a pair of eighth-inning homers by Bryce Harper (two-run shot) and Segura (solo shot).

Starter Zack Wheeler left with the game tied at 3-3 in the sixth. Reliever Tommy Hunter allowed three hits and two runs to the first three batters he faced in the seventh as the Orioles took the lead.

The Phillies had just three hits through seven innings. 

The loss dropped the Phillies to 5-7. Baltimore is 8-7.

The bullpen

Neris blew a save in the ninth. He walked the leadoff man and allowed a one-out double. He then intentionally walked the bases full before giving up a game-tying hit. He struck out the next batter then got the pop up that fell in for two runs.

The Phillies’ bullpen has allowed 40 earned runs in 35 1/3 innings. That 10.19 ERA is the worst in the majors. 

Wheeler’s night

It was pretty good — until the sixth inning. That’s when Wheeler was tagged for three runs and the Orioles tied the game.

Wheeler allowed a double, an RBI single and an RBI double to open the frame. He then gave up the tying hit on a single to Dwight Smith Jr. Phillies second baseman Scott Kingery nearly made a diving play on the ball, but it clanged off his glove.

Wheeler had a good fastball — he topped out at 98 mph — but struck out just two.

Trade candidate

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed three hits and three runs, one of which was unearned.

Cobb used mostly off-speed stuff — splitter and curveballs — in keeping Phillies hitters off balance. He racked up three 1-2-3 innings. He left with the game tied, 3-3, in the sixth and two men on base. Lefty Tanner Scott relieved Cobb. He struck out Gregorius for the second out then walked Segura to load the bases. Scott ended the threat by getting Bruce to ground out into a right-side shift.

Cobb, 32, has a 2.75 ERA in four starts this season. He will get some attention at the trade deadline later this month. However, his $15 million price tag for next season might not make him particularly attractive.

Transactions

The Phillies made several of them as they shuffled the deck in their bullpen Tuesday (see story).

Up next

The Phillies and Orioles play again on Wednesday night. Zach Eflin faces Baltimore lefty Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.91).

Eflin pitched four scoreless innings against the Yankees in his season debut.

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More on the Phillies