Phillies

Tuesday night was the NL East in a nutshell

Tuesday night was the NL East in a nutshell

As has been the case much of the season, Tuesday night was not a good one for NL East bullpens. 

All five teams blew a save and three lost in walk-off fashion (Phillies, Braves, Nationals).

For the Mets, Nationals and Braves, it continued a season-long theme of unreliable late relief. The Mets and Nationals have had trouble bridging the gap between their starting pitchers and their elite closers, Edwin Diaz and Sean Doolittle. The setup work has been mostly terrible, with Jeurys Familia struggling in that role for New York and Kyle Barraclough and Wander Suero pitching ineffectively for Washington.

The Phillies, despite injuries to David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos, have statistically one of the better bullpens in baseball. The Phils' bullpen has a 3.84 ERA, third-best in the National League and eighth-best in the majors.

The Nationals' bullpen has a 6.61 ERA, worst in MLB. The Marlins (5.13) rank 26th. The Braves (4.59) are 23rd. The Mets (4.41) are 20th.

Atlanta has not been able to figure out a closing formula. Arodys Vizcaino was the incumbent but he is out for the season with a shoulder injury and was traded to Seattle along with Jesse Biddle for veteran reliever Anthony Swarzak late last week. Luke Jackson had gotten the nod as the Braves' closer but has blown four saves after a strong start. The Braves seem likely to turn to left-hander and former starter Sean Newcomb in that role after several effective outings in relief.

The possibility of Craig Kimbrel also looms. At this point, it's a near lock that Kimbrel will not be signed before the June 3 draft because the signing team will want to avoid forfeiting an early pick for which they've been preparing. All four NL East contenders will be among the teams vying for Kimbrel's services, with the Braves and Phillies more likely to sign him than the Mets or Nats. A reunion in Atlanta just makes too much sense for all parties. (That's where my money would go.)

The Phils last night played with one hand tied behind their back as their top four relievers — Hector Neris, Pat Neshek, Adam Morgan and Seranthony Dominguez — were all unavailable (see story). They'll look for a better result tonight and won't need to turn to Juan Nicasio to protect a ninth-inning lead if they have one.

Neris has been a major reason the Phillies have been able to maintain their first-place standing in the NL East. In 20⅓ innings, he has a 1.77 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with 27 strikeouts and just six walks. 

Neris has made 40 appearances since he was called back up to the majors last Aug. 15. In those 40 appearances, he has a 1.89 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 38 innings. His opponents have hit just .170, going 23 for 135 with two home runs.

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Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

WASHINGTON — Some updates on the wounded Phillies, who not only have eight players on the injured list but also have a shorter bench than usual with two everyday starters banged up.

CF Roman Quinn

Quinn was activated off the IL Monday and will bat sixth in Monday's lineup against tough Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin. Formerly a switch-hitter, Quinn will now bat exclusively from the right side.

Because he has been hurt so frequently, the Phillies will be cautious with Quinn. The tentative plan is to use him off the bench Tuesday as the Phillies pay attention to how he bounces back from the start Monday.

Quinn can still provide value for this team, especially with the collection of injuries to centerfielders.

OF Jay Bruce

Bruce (hamstring) was out of Monday's lineup as a precaution — and also because Corbin was the opponent — but will likely be available to pinch-hit.

C J.T. Realmuto

Realmuto got a second straight day off Monday as he recovers from taking a foul ball to the groin midway through Saturday's game.

Realmuto caught the first 105 innings in the month of June and was due for a day off but didn't want it to come like this.

"We want him to be feeling himself," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Doesn't mean that he's going to feel perfect by the time we put him back in the lineup but we definitely want to be sensitive to the fact that he's still a little bit sore. I don't think it's so much about him re-injuring the area as it is not doing anything else that might cause a problem."

RHP Tommy Hunter

As expected, Hunter (flexor strain) will begin a rehab assignment Monday night with Class A Clearwater. He isn't too far away from making his season debut.

LHP Adam Morgan

Morgan (flexor strain) threw a bullpen session Sunday for the second time in four days. Last week, Kapler indicated Morgan may be able to return this upcoming weekend. There should be more clarity tonight or Tuesday on his status.

RHP Jerad Eickhoff

Eickhoff was placed on the injured list Monday with biceps tendinitis, a day after allowing five runs and two more homers in one inning of relief.

Eickhoff first felt the nagging injury in Milwaukee on May 24 but tried to play through it, as most guys do, for better or for worse.

"Just been something that's been bugging him a little bit and not allowing him to get loose the way he wants to get loose," Kapler said. "Out of respect for one of our hardest workers and most prepared individuals, it makes sense to really pay attention to that and protect him and get him back in his best physical baseball condition."

It's the second Phillies injury this week in which a player tried to play through pain and had to miss some time because of it. Bruce first felt his hamstring tightness "three or four days" before exiting Saturday's game, according to the player.

Would Kapler rather his guys tell him when they first start feeling pain?

"I understand what it's like to be a player and want to play through things that feel nagging," he said. "These guys are professionals, they all want as many opportunities as they can possibly get. We talk a lot about the more communication, the better. I also understand the position our players are in."

OF Adam Haseley

Haseley remains out with a groin injury but is making some progress. He took batting practice and shagged fly balls Monday in D.C.

The next step would be practicing baseball-like movements such as bursting out of the batter's box and simulating a stolen base attempt.

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Odubel Herrera's administrative leave extended through July 1

Odubel Herrera's administrative leave extended through July 1

Administrative leave for Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been extended through July 1, Major League Baseball announced on Monday afternoon. 

Herrera, 27, has been on administrative leave since May 28 after he was arrested last month in New Jersey on a charge of domestic violence. 

Earlier on Monday, the Atlantic City Municipal Court announced that Herrera’s attorney waived an initial arraignment scheduled for today. His next court appearance will be scheduled by the court. 

Herrera could face a suspension without pay from MLB. Discipline in these cases is handed down directly from the commissioner. 

The alleged incident took place at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, according to the police report. The police report also said the victim “had visible signs of injury to her arms and neck that was sustained after being assaulted by her boyfriend, David Odubel Herrera, during a dispute.” 

As the legal process plays out, the Phillies have already removed five banners that featured Herrera’s likeness — four from light poles and one from the concourse at Citizens Bank Park. 

In early June, Phillies vice president of communications Bonnie Clark said, “We don’t believe it’s appropriate to display them while the investigations is going on.”

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