Phillies

Questionable calls, miscues set stage for walk-off HR in Phillies' extra-inning loss to Mets

Questionable calls, miscues set stage for walk-off HR in Phillies' extra-inning loss to Mets

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NEW YORK – The New York Mets don’t have much to feel good about this season other than Jacob deGrom and Brandon Nimmo.

Those two did a job on the Phillies on Wednesday night.

DeGrom held the Phillies scoreless over eight innings and Nimmo came off the bench to slug a three-run home run against Mark Leiter Jr. in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Nimmo’s homer, the 13th of his breakout season, lifted the Mets to a 3-0 win on a night when the Phillies also received an excellent effort from their starting pitcher, Vince Velasquez (see first take).

“Super tough loss, but I thought Vinny went toe to toe with one of the best pitchers in baseball and held his own,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “Not just held his own but he was simply dominant.”

Velasquez, who spent the previous 10 days on the disabled list after taking a line drive off his right forearm, gave up just two hits over six scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out three. He threw a very economical 85 pitches.

DeGrom gave up just five hits, walked one and struck out seven. He lowered his ERA to 1.68 – the best mark in the majors.

“We had a hard time getting the offense going off one of the best pitchers in baseball,” Kapler said. “You have to tip your cap to their pitchers. They did a good job of shutting down our offense. And that really is the story of the game.”

The Phillies ended up splitting the four-game series with the Mets. The Phils are 51-40, tied for first place with Atlanta in the NL East, heading into Baltimore for a makeup game with the Orioles on Thursday.

Despite being shut down by the Mets’ pitchers, the Phillies had some chances. They had a replay challenge on a catch/trap in centerfield go against them in the seventh inning, erasing what would have given two men on base and one out against deGrom.

And in the top of the 10th inning, Andrew Knapp ran into the third out on the bases. Knapp got too aggressive rounding second on an infield hit by Cesar Hernandez. Third baseman Jose Reyes did not make a throw on the play and caught Knapp rounding second. If Knapp doesn’t get caught, the Phillies would have had runners at first and second with one out for Rhys Hoskins.

“I was trying to be aggressive,” Knapp said afterward. “I didn't think it was a for-sure hit play. I thought he would make a throw to first base. I saw the arm go. I was really trying to get to third base so Rhys could just get a nice base hit and we could score a run. Just a little bit too aggressive.”

Kapler supported Knapp.

“It certainly stung,” Kapler said of the play. “We teach aggressiveness and in many ways that play was aggressive. Knappy is coming around second base, he's looking for the ball moving towards first base. If it goes towards first base, which is what he is expecting in his mind, he stands on third base and we're in a great position to score on a passed ball. He wasn't able to see the ball out of hand. He just saw the arm and made an aggressive play. I stand behind him.”

Knapp, the Phillies’ catcher, was in the center of it all again in the bottom of the 10th after Leiter allowed a two-out double to Amed Rosario and a full-count walk to Jose Reyes to bring up Nimmo, who did not start the ballgame but is having a big year with an OPS of .894.

The Phillies’ dugout believed that Reyes swung at Leiter’s full-count changeup. The umpires ruled that Reyes checked his swing and Nimmo came up and ambushed a first-pitch curveball for the win.

“I thought he went, yeah,” Knapp said of Reyes’ check swing. “I think a lot of guys go, just from my point of view. But, yeah, it's such a judgment call. That umpire thought he didn't go.”

Leiter, dejected after the loss, was not sure whether Reyes swung or not.

“Maybe he went,” he said. “But that’s part of it and I have to get the next guy. Didn’t get it. You have to give Nimmo credit. That was a great swing. Good for him. Good job by him.”

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Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

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Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

Phillies officials begin an important work week Monday, one that will have a significant impact on the team's future.

On Monday, the club will host Joe Girardi at Citizens Bank Park in a second interview for the team's open manager's job.

Girardi met with team officials last Monday in the New York metropolitan area. He is the third candidate to receive a second interview for the position. Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter visited Philadelphia for second interviews on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The Phillies have a narrow focus in their search for a new skipper; they are seeking someone with previous big-league managerial experience. Girardi, Showalter and Baker, with 53 combined years of big-league managing experience and seven manager of the year awards, are the only candidates for the position and it is possible the team could make a hire this week. Thursday could be a target for an announcement as the World Series pauses for an off day between Games 2 and 3.

The Phils could make another important announcement this week. Multiple sources around baseball say the Phils have completed their search for a new amateur scouting director and that Brian Barber is the guy they are locked in on. Barber is a highly regarded national scout for the New York Yankees. His hiring by the Phillies could be announced this week. Barber will replace Johnny Almaraz, who last month stepped down as the Phillies' director of amateur scouting.

Of course, Barber isn't the only man with Yankees roots in the Phillies' sights. Girardi won four World Series rings with the Yankees — three as a player and one as a manager — and is believed to be the Phillies' preferred candidate for manager. 

In addition to having a wealth of experience in running a game with his instincts and intuition, Girardi is well versed in the use of analytics in roster building and game management. Phillies ownership has committed millions to building an analytics department and the club is looking for a manager who can blend a traditional approach to running a game and a team with an approach that uses data and analytics. Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008 to 2017 and in that time the team became an analytics powerhouse.

Girardi is also a candidate for the New York Mets managerial opening. It is not clear if the Mets are prioritizing previous big-league managing experience like the Phillies are. The Mets have interviewed Girardi as well as a number of candidates who have not managed in the big leagues, such as Carlos Beltran and Eduardo Perez.

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It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

Jeopardy has been home to some great moments regarding Philadelphia sports in the past.

 I wish this was another one of these moments ... but it's not.

 It turns out, the show's host host Alex Trebek isn't a big fan of the Phillie Phanatic ... I know, I'm hurt too.


 The Phillies are in disbelief, we all are.
 
 Of course, fans had quite the reaction to the video that surfaced on social media. After all, the Phanatic is the best mascot in all of sports (totally unbiased, of course).




 

I don't even want to know what he thinks about Gritty.

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