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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Rhys Hoskins puts on a show at Home Run Derby but runs into some bad luck

Rhys Hoskins puts on a show at Home Run Derby but runs into some bad luck

Kyle. Freakin'. Schwarber.

Rhys Hoskins put on a show in the Home Run Derby Monday night in Washington, D.C., but he, unfortunately, faced off against Schwarber in the second round and Schwarber went off.

Hoskins hit 20 in the semifinal round, which to that point was the most all night. Schwarber started rather slowly, but began cranking jack after jack and hit his 21st just as the four-minute clock expired.

It was a dramatic walk-off from Schwarber, but he actually had 30 more seconds to play with because he hit two homers farther than 440 feet and was awarded some extra time.

In the other semifinal, Bryce Harper beat Max Muncy 13-12. Smh. Harper went on to knock off Schwarber in the final round to claim the Home Run Derby title.

In all, Hoskins hit 37 homers in two rounds, with the deepest two going 466 and 463 feet. He homered on nearly half of his swings.

An extremely impressive first showing in the derby for Hoskins, who may want to return because of the unfinished business.

First round

Leading off the derby, Hoskins cranked 17 jacks to upset 1-seed Jesus Aguilar, who hit 11.

With 17, Hoskins tied Muncy for the most in the first round, though Muncy and Harper stopped before time expired because they had already beaten their opponent.

Hoskins just had a much quicker pace than Aguilar, who took his time between swings, as did his pitcher.

Entering the night, Hoskins was 11/2 to win the derby, per Bovada. Aguilar had the second-shortest odds at 7/2, behind only Harper.

A cool moment occurred midway through the first round when Hoskins called his one permitted timeout and fist bumped with Harper, who was expressing awe at the ease of Hoskins' homers.


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Phillies 1st-rounder Adam Haseley honored after dynamic opening week at AA

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Phillies 1st-rounder Adam Haseley honored after dynamic opening week at AA

Adam Haseley had one heck of a first week in Double A.

The Phillies' first-round pick in 2017 (eighth overall) was promoted to Double A Reading on July 11 and responded by going 5 for 13 (.385) with a double, two homers and two walks in his first four games.

As a result, Haseley was named Eastern League Player of the Week in his very first try.

Haseley has already been promoted four times over the last calendar year. Last summer, he began in the Gulf Coast League, was promoted to Low A Williamsport after three games, then made it to Class A Lakewood by season's end. 

He began this season at High A Clearwater and earned the promotion to Reading after hitting .300 in 354 plate appearances.

All told, Haseley has hit .296/.352/.423 with 27 doubles, seven triples and 10 homers in 616 plate appearances in the minors. 

The 22-year-old University of Virginia product was a more polished prospect than the previous year's No. 1 pick, Mickey Moniak

Moniak, who turned 20 on May 13, has hit .242 with a meager .268 OBP in 75 games at Clearwater this season. The power has been slow to come around, and Moniak has slashed just .247/.290/.350 in 999 plate appearances the last three seasons.

There's still plenty of time for Moniak, but he can't be satisfied with how he's hit to this point, nor can an organization that used the first overall pick in the draft on him. Some baseball people have questioned whether Moniak will grow strong enough to consistently drive the baseball as the quality of pitching he faces increases. 

Rounding out the first-round pick updates, Cornelius Randolph has struggled even more than Moniak. Randolph, drafted 10th overall in 2015, has hit .215 with one home run in 80 games at Double A this season. 

Randolph was drafted for his offense specifically but things haven't clicked yet. He's hit .252/.346/.362 with 17 homers in 1,328 plate appearances since being drafted.

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