If you still care, Phillies are this close to their first winning season since 2011

If you still care, Phillies are this close to their first winning season since 2011


Bryce Harper continued to swing a hot bat and Zach Eflin tossed a gem as the Phillies rolled over the Miami Marlins, 9-3, in Game 161 of the season Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies have beaten the lowly Marlins two nights in a row to put themselves over the .500 mark with one game remaining in the season. The Phils are 81-80. A win in Sunday’s season finale would give them their first winning season since the days of Jimmy, Chase, Ryan, Doc, Cole and Big Chuck back in 2011. A loss would give the Phillies their eighth straight non-winning season.

Eflin shines

After seven relievers picked up 11 innings on Friday night — and with a bullpen game on tap Sunday — the Phillies needed Eflin to go deep into the game. He did just that. He scattered six hits over 7 2/3 innings and allowed just three runs, two of which came on a homer by the last batter he faced, Neil Walker, in the eighth. The homer came on Eflin’s 108th pitch.

The Marlins are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, ranking last in the majors in OPS (.673) and last in the NL in runs per game (3.80). Eflin capitalized by going right at the Marlins hitters. He threw 74 strikes (12 resulted in swing and misses) and allowed just three hard-hit balls. He continued to use his sinker the majority of the time, but also featured his slider, changeup, curveball and four-seamer.

Eflin’s season took a positive turn over the final five weeks as he began throwing his sinker more. He recorded a 2.83 ERA in 41 1/3 innings over his last seven starts.

The Phillies expect Eflin to hold down a rotation spot next season.

Harper’s hot bat

Harper has shown no let up as the season has moved toward the end. He doubled, tripled and drove in two runs in Friday night’s win. He smacked a three-run homer in this one. It was his 72nd extra-base hit of the season and his 35th homer. He has a career-high 114 RBIs.

Harper’s 35 homers are the most by a Phillie since 2009, when Ryan Howard had 45 and Jayson Werth 36.

Fifteen of Harper’s homers this season have come against left-handed pitching. The only lefty hitter with more homers against lefty pitching is Cody Bellinger with 18.

Also contributing …

Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco both homered for the Phillies and rookie catcher Deivy Grullon had an RBI double for his first big-league hit.

Hernandez and Franco could both be playing their final games with the Phillies on Sunday.

Power month

The Phils have hit 44 home runs in September. That ties the team mark for most in a month. The Phils hit 44 homers in June 2004.

Examination for Kingery

Scott Kingery’s offseason will begin with an eye exam on Monday. He’s been experiencing vision problems.

Up next

The Phillies and Marlins pull the curtain down on the 2019 season at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The Phillies will use a cast of relievers to get through the game. The Marlins will start right-hander Sandy Alcantara (5-14, 3.95).

The Phillies added right-hander Enyel De Los Santos to the active roster for the final two games.

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What Alec Bohm's arrival means for struggling Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery

What Alec Bohm's arrival means for struggling Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery

Alec Bohm is here and he's going to play. 

The Phillies didn't call up Bohm, their top offensive prospect, to get him a few at-bats here and there. He'll be a regular in the lineup, Phillies GM Matt Klentak said Thursday shortly after Bohm was added to the roster.

Bohm will mainly play third base, where he was Thursday in his debut against the Orioles. When Bohm is at third, it will shift Jean Segura to second base, where he played last season. Scott Kingery will again be a utility player. Kingery could see some time in center field with Adam Haseley (wrist sprain) placed on the 10-day IL Thursday. That was the corresponding move to make room for Bohm on the active roster.

"The plan is that he's going to play regularly," Klentak said. "That's been the case for a while now. If we're going to call up a player like Alec, we want him to play every day. With Adam Haseley going on the IL today, that opens up some regular reps for us. Obviously, it'll be up to Joe (Girardi) to write out the lineup every day. But I think what you're going to see today is pretty indicative of what the next week or so will be like. Alec will play quite a bit at third. Segura will move over and play some second. 

"Kingery now will help us in a variety of different spots, but notably, he may need to take down some reps in center field. ... We still view Scott as an everyday player. Whether that’s at second base or some other position, but right now given his offensive struggles, given Bohm coming up, and given the need for an extra capable defender in center field, I think this makes sense for the team right now.

"We want Alec to play regularly. We think he's that kind of player. It really highlights the importance of guys like Segura and Kingery being able to play multiple positions. You can have an injury to a left-handed hitting outfielder and call up a right-handed hitting infielder and the pieces can still work."

Bohm can also play first base. With the early-season struggles of Rhys Hoskins, Kingery and Segura, there are multiple lineup combinations which include Bohm that might be able to give the Phillies a boost.

Hoskins, Kingery and Segura have hit a combined .165 this season (20 for 121). Their lack of offense is the major reason Bohm is here now. The extra infield bat certainly puts some pressure on Hoskins and Kingery to perform. Teams don't have time to wait out prolonged slumps in a 60-game season. Friday will be the Phils' quarter-pole of the season.

Hoskins has hit .190 this season with one RBI. He has not homered in his last 109 plate appearances dating back to last season. The walks are nice and the source of his .404 on-base percentage but the Phillies need Hoskins to do more than walk. They need him to hit for power. And they need Kingery to catch up to fastballs. Against fastballs 93 mph or harder this season, Kingery is 0 for 9 and has swung-and-missed more than one-third of the time.

Hoskins and Kingery were both out of Thursday's lineup. Neil Walker started at first base with Segura at second.

"He's a hitter," Klentak said of Bohm. "We think he can help our lineup. Our lineup thus far — and I'm mindful of the fact that we're only 13 games in and even those 13 games have been somewhat disjointed — has had several players really off to fast starts from the very beginning and others that have struggled. Adding another quality bat into that mix can only help us. That's the way we're looking at it."

Bohm ends up debuting before ever playing a game at Triple A. Had there been a minor-league season, it's where he would have opened.

"This guy has done everything he can do in the batter's box at the minor-league level," Klentak said. "It's not his fault that there was no official Triple A season this year. But he's done everything he can. He's really worked very hard on his defense. That's come a long way for him in the last year and a half. On top of that, he's also added the versatility of being able to slide over to first base, which we won't see tonight, but we could see that at some point this year too. 

"As much as anything, we think he's earned it. Now that our roster allows for him to come up and play every day, we think it's a good opportunity for him."

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Phillies lineup: Alec Bohm debuts, bats 6th

Phillies lineup: Alec Bohm debuts, bats 6th

Alec Bohm bats sixth and plays third base in his MLB debut this afternoon.

The Phils promoted Bohm, their top position player prospect, ahead of Thursday's series finale against the Orioles. Adam Haseley was placed on the 10-day injured list with a wrist sprain to make room for Bohm on the 28-man roster.

Rhys Hoskins, who grounded into three double plays Wednesday and is hitting .190 with one RBI on the season, sits. So does Scott Kingery, who is 4 for 40. 

Neil Walker is at first base and Jean Segura is at second.

1. Andrew McCutchen, DH
2. Jean Segura, 2B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Alec Bohm, 3B
7. Jay Bruce, LF
8. Neil Walker, 1B
9. Roman Quinn, CF

Jake Arrieta, SP

Right-hander Tom Eshelman, the Phillies' 2017 minor-league pitcher of the year, starts for Baltimore.

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