Phillies

Pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez cried when he learned the Phillies had traded him

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez cried when he learned the Phillies had traded him

CLEVELAND — Alec Bohm and Sixto Sanchez were teammates for a day in Major League Baseball’s Futures Game on Sunday.

Had circumstances been different, they might have been teammates for a lot longer than that.

A year ago at this time, Bohm and Sanchez were building blocks in the Phillies’ farm system. Bohm remains and is currently playing at Double A Reading.

Sanchez is also in Double A, but as a member of the Miami Marlins organization. The Phillies traded him, catcher Jorge Alfaro and minor-league pitcher Will Stewart for catcher J.T. Realmuto in February.

Sanchez had initially signed with the Phillies as a 16-year-old in the Dominican Republic in 2015 and the organization was a huge part of his life.

When Phillies front office man Jorge Velandia called to tell him he’d been traded, Sanchez became very emotional.

“It was a little bit difficult, but it wasn’t my decision,” Sanchez said in Spanish. “In the moment, I even cried. 

“I was really surprised. I would have never imagined that they would have traded me. I wasn’t prepared for it. Once I came to terms with it, I said, ‘OK. I’m traded now and I’m going to work hard.’ “

Sanchez missed much of last season with an elbow injury in the Phillies’ system. That was one of the reasons he lost his untouchable status.

The Marlins went slowly with him out of the gate this season, but he is now at Double A Jacksonville, where he is 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts. He still has that great control, just 12 walks to go with 58 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings.

Sanchez is still a babe. He won’t turn 21 until July 29. If he continues to develop, the Phillies will see a lot of him in the National League East in years to come.

“Honestly, I would really like to pitch against them,” he said.

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Phillies 9, Dodgers 8: One of the most dramatic 9th-inning swings of emotions you'll see

Phillies 9, Dodgers 8: One of the most dramatic 9th-inning swings of emotions you'll see

BOX SCORE

The skies opened, the game was delayed for 22 minutes before the ninth inning began, and what followed was a dramatic swing of emotions for the Phillies.

Leading 6-5, the Phillies turned to Hector Neris, who blew another save against the Dodgers. Neris has allowed 10 runs and six homers in his last seven appearances against the Dodgers, including the go-ahead three-run shot to pinch-hitter Matt Beaty Tuesday night.

But the Phillies, who have played poorly and sloppily for the better part of six weeks and were embarrassed, 16-2, on Monday, found a way back against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. They scored three of their own in the ninth to win it, 9-8. The rally was capped off by Bryce Harper's walk-off two-run double.

A wild finish to a game that probably didn't need to be this difficult for the Phils.

The Phillies scored six runs in the first two innings on three home runs off Walker Buehler, including a three-run shot from Harper that traveled 458 feet and nearly broke the sound barrier. It was on a 98 mph fastball.

But the Phillies then went 0 for 18 from the third through eighth innings.

Neris' implosion followed stellar work from three previous relievers — Jose Alvarez, Juan Nicasio and Adam Morgan — who retired all 10 batters they faced.

The Phillies are 49-46 and continue to cling to the NL's second wild-card spot. 


The typical Velasquez experience

Velasquez is what he is. A pitcher who can miss bats and strike hitters out, who can look totally dominant for two or three innings but who too rarely puts it all together for five or six complete innings.

There's no more guessing. Calling him enigmatic is being kind. He is infrequently effective.

On Tuesday, Velasquez looked great for three innings, striking out six Dodgers, including three in a row in emphatic fashion after the Phillies' five-run third inning.

But with a five-run lead, Velasquez could not keep L.A. at bay. The game was broken open for all of two innings before Velasquez was taken deep by Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock and Joc Pederson. He allowed four home runs in all. The first was a 440-foot shot from Max Muncy on an 0-2 pitch.

Velasquez has made 11 starts this season. In them, he is 1-4 with a 4.97 ERA. He's allowed 17 home runs in 61 innings. That's 2.5 home runs per nine innings for the man who entered 2019 with the highest home run rate of any starting pitcher in Phillies history.

Same story, over and over and over again. The Phillies have known for months that Velasquez is not the answer as the fifth starter. They feel they lack better internal options and have not been able to swing a trade yet. It's almost impossible to imagine Velasquez being in this rotation on Aug. 1.

Neris' nosedive

Neris is 0-3 with a 8.48 ERA in his career against L.A.

Beyond that, Neris has really struggled of late. He's allowed 12 runs in his last 11 innings as his season ERA has risen from 1.88 to 4.08. This team has few places to turn for relief.

Another injury

The Phillies lost Jay Bruce in the third inning to an oblique strain. He exited with an 0-2 count. 

If Bruce misses time, here are the Phillies' two most logical options in replacing him (see story).

Up next

Wednesday night at 7:05 — Nick Pivetta (4-4, 5.81) vs. Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.82)

Thursday afternoon at 12:35 — Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.63) vs. Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.65).

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After hot start vs. Walker Buehler, Phillies lose another player to injury as Jay Bruce exits

After hot start vs. Walker Buehler, Phillies lose another player to injury as Jay Bruce exits

Even when things are going right for the Phillies, there's pain involved. Just the way it's gone these last six weeks. With the Phils leading 6-1 in the third inning Tuesday night, Jay Bruce was forced out of the game on an 0-2 count with a strained right oblique.

Bruce has been such an impactful hitter for the Phillies. He entered Tuesday's game hitting .261 with 10 homers, 29 RBI and an .851 OPS in 32 games. He's among the MLB leaders in game-winning hits since joining the Phillies on June 3.

With an oblique injury, that's probably a stint on the IL. Oblique strains tend to sideline a player for three to four weeks. If Bruce does miss time, Logan Morrison could be the next man up. The Phillies signed the veteran left-handed hitter to a minor-league deal over the weekend.

Morrison definitely has power. He hit 38 home runs in 2017 for the Rays and has always been a low-batting-average power hitter with decent plate selection. There's a chance that over the short term, Morrison could make up for some of Bruce's production. 

Keep in mind, too, that we were already seeing the beginning of the inevitable Bruce regression. He is 0 for 14 since the All-Star break.

Nick Williams could be another option to replace Bruce. Williams has been on fire at Triple A, hitting .358 with 10 doubles, six homers and a 1.068 OPS in 120 plate appearances.

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