Seranthony Dominguez's top competition for All-Star Game

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Seranthony Dominguez's top competition for All-Star Game

Barring some sort of unforeseen collapse over the next month, Aaron Nola will be representing the Phillies in the All-Star Game on July 17 in D.C.

Could the Phillies have another All-Star?

With Odubel Herrera's recent slump and a surplus of quality outfielders, he seems unlikely at this point. Herrera is down to .283/.345/.429 on the season after going 13 for his last 84.

Jake Arrieta (2.97 ERA, .302 opponents' OBP) has been good, but there are 10 NL starting pitchers with lower ERAs. And with every team needing a representative, a pitcher like San Diego's Tyson Ross (3.43 ERA, 9.2 K/9) could move ahead of Arrieta as well.

The Phillie other than Nola with the best chance to make it to the Midsummer Classic might be Seranthony Dominguez. 

In just 15 appearances, Dominguez has become one of the best relievers in the National League. He's allowed seven hits and a walk in 19 innings with 22 strikeouts. He has a 1.42 ERA and 0.42 WHIP and that's after allowing runs in two of his last three outings.

Last summer, six NL relievers made the All-Star Game — five closers and Pat Neshek. In the AL, only three relievers made it — Craig Kimbrel and setup men Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.

Let's work under the assumption that the NL will again carry six relievers on the roster. Where does Dominguez fall on the list?

Milwaukee's Josh Hader is a lock. Teammate Jeremy Jeffress seems to be as well. Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will be there. St. Louis' Bud Norris has been effective in a variety of roles this season and should be in consideration. If Ross isn't the Padres' representative, lefty closer Brad Hand will be. 

After that? Nobody clearly ahead of Dominguez. Not Brad Boxberger or Archie Bradley, not Brandon Morrow, not Raisel Iglesias or Jared Hughes.

To put in perspective how valuable Dominguez has been already, he's behind only eight NL relievers in WAR despite making half as many appearances.

Not that he'd be used for multiple innings in an All-Star Game, but Dominguez's versatility and ability to record more than three outs should factor into his All-Star résumé.

One other reliever who could stand in Dominguez's way is Braves 28-year-old revelation Dan Winkler, who has a 1.03 ERA with 37 strikeouts and seven walks in 26⅓ innings. Despite being up all season and making twice as many appearances as Dominguez, Winkler has pitched just eight more innings.

The fact that this is even a conversation, though, is pretty cool. Especially when you consider that Dominguez wasn't on the radar of many coming into the season. He wasn't supposed to be this good this fast.

If he does make it, Dominguez would be the first Phillies rookie to make the All-Star team since Jimmy Rollins in 2001.

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This win as wild as it gets for Phillies ... with tons of questions, too

This win as wild as it gets for Phillies ... with tons of questions, too


No doubt, there will be a lot of Tuesday morning quarterbacking after this one.

And arguments can certainly be made that the Phillies need a legitimate ninth-inning closer — did you notice that the Washington Nationals traded for a good one in Kelvin Herrera on Monday? — and that maybe it’s simply time to give Seranthony Dominguez a sustained look there.

But if you think about it, the bullpen really wasn’t the problem Monday night. Sure, Adam Morgan and Jake Thompson gave up big hits, but that was after the game should have been over, after the Phillies should have already been in the clubhouse with the music blaring, the lights flashing and the fog machine turning the room into something that resembles the inside of Jeff Spicoli’s VW bus.

What was looking like a terrible, inexcusable loss for the Phillies turned into a dramatic, 6-5, walk-off win over the St. Louis Cardinals when Aaron Altherr drilled a two-run double to left with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning (see first take).

Altherr’s hit got a lot of people off the hook. The offense scored four runs in the first inning then got nothing, and just two hits, before the extra inning. Morgan, who gave up a game-tying base hit in the ninth, and Thompson, who gave up a go-ahead homer in the 10th, benefitted from Altherr’s hit.

But catcher Andrew Knapp was the big beneficiary of Altherr’s clutchness.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, runners on second and third, the Phillies up, 4-2, and Yairo Munoz at the plate, Knapp called for a 1-2 slider from Victor Arano. The pitch was effective. It bounced in the dirt in front of the plate and Munoz swung. Third out. Game over.

Not so quick.

Knapp did not stay down on the ball in the dirt and it passed between his legs for a wild pitch. A run scored and Munoz reached first base safely, keeping the game alive for Kolten Wong to tie it against Morgan and the Cardinals to take the lead on a homer by Tommy Pham against Thompson in the 10th.

“I’ve got to make that play,” Knapp said afterward. “I’ve got to block it. I’ve blocked that pitch a million times. This one just got under my glove. It was a little shorter than I thought it was going to be. I just misplayed it.”

In the dugout, manager Gabe Kapler looked down for a second after Munoz’s swing.

"I thought the game was over,” he said. “But I think that's the natural reaction. I think that's a play that Knappy probably makes 99 out of 100 times. Kind of a fluky thing that happened there and I think if you ask Knappy, he knows he can catch that ball."

If the ball is blocked and the out recorded at first base, Nick Pivetta gets a much-deserved win on a night when he struck out a career-high 13 in 7 1/3 innings. In all, Phillies pitching registered 19 strikeouts, 18 in the first nine innings. Edubray Ramos pitched out of trouble in the eighth and Arano survived a couple of hits and actually had the game over until it wasn’t in the ninth.

“Ramos and Arano, those guys were awesome,” Kapler said.

Dominguez, Kapler’s favorite bullpen weapon, was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches the previous two games.

After the game, Kapler was asked the daily questions about the way he uses his bullpen. In short, he believes he has multiple pitchers who can get high-leverage outs and he praised Ramos and Arano for doing that Monday night. He did not rule out one day using Dominquez as his go-to ninth-inning guy, but did qualify that by saying matchups would be taken into account.

So, basically, you’ll know who is pitching the ninth inning when the bullpen door swings open and Kapler’s choice of the moment runs to the mound.

The Phillies are 38-32 and an NL-best 23-12 at home. They have not won a series against the Cardinals since 2014. They have two games to do it after a win turned into a loss and back into a win again Monday night.

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Phillies get 13 strikeouts from Nick Pivetta, luck in 10th inning for win

Phillies get 13 strikeouts from Nick Pivetta, luck in 10th inning for win


From a terrible and inexcusable loss to a dramatic win ... what a night for the Phillies.

They rallied for a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Aaron Altherr's two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning Monday night.

Altherr's hit got a lot of people off the hook.

The Phillies led, 4-0, after the first inning and had only four hits the rest of the way.

The Cardinals came all the way back in a bizarre ninth inning and went ahead on a solo homer by Tommy Pham against Jake Thompson in the top of the 10th.

The Phillies should have won this one earlier (see story).

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Victor Arano registered the team’s 18th strikeout of the game. It should have ended the game and given the Phils a 4-2 win. The pitch, however, a slider in the dirt, got by catcher Andrew Knapp, scoring a run from third and keeping the inning alive for pinch-hitter Kolten Wong to tie the game with a single against Adam Morgan.

Rhys Hoskins started the Phillies' rally in the bottom of the 10th inning with a single.

The win improved the Phillies to 38-32 and a NL-best 23-12 at home.

The Phils came out of the chute with four runs in the first inning against Miles Mikolas. 

Nick Pivetta struck out a career-high 13 in 7 1/3 innings of work. Right-handed reliever Edubray Ramos picked up Pivetta with runners on second and third and one out in the eighth. With the game on the line, Ramos registered two huge strikeouts to preserve a two-run lead.

Arano was called on to pitch the ninth. He, too, faced a second-and-third jam with one out. He essentially pitched out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts but the one that would have ended the game went for a wild pitch. It gave the Cardinals life and they capitalized.

In case you’re wondering, bullpen ace Seranthony Dominguez was not available after throwing 52 pitches the previous two days.

Pivetta had struggled in his previous three starts this month. He’d lost all three and given up 13 runs in 14 innings.

This one was a different story. The right-hander had dominant stuff from the beginning. He threw 108 pitches and got 21 swinging strikes, 11 on his curveball and seven on his four-seam fastball, which topped out at 97.6 miles per hour.

A day after scoring 10 runs in Milwaukee, the Phillies scored four times in the first inning. Three of the runs came on a home run by Odubel Herrera after Mikolas allowed a leadoff single to Cesar Hernandez and a walk to Hoskins.

Herrera’s bat has really come alive after a hellacious slump that dropped him from a league-best .361 to .283 in a 23-game span. Over his last five games, he has nine hits, including three home runs.

Knapp drove in the Phillies’ fourth run.

Rightfielder Nick Williams was forced to leave the game in the eighth inning when Matt Carpenter’s double clanged off the wall and struck Williams in the face, drawing blood (see video).

Vince Velasquez will look to follow up last week’s gem against Colorado in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.

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