Phillies

Vince Velsaquez deals but Phillies' scoreless stretch reaches new low

Vince Velsaquez deals but Phillies' scoreless stretch reaches new low

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies’ offense has disappeared in the famous San Francisco fog.

The Phils suffered a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park Saturday night. It was the second straight game in which the Giants have shut out the Phillies, who need a win Sunday afternoon to avoid being swept in the three-game series.

Less than a month ago, the Phillies were riding high thanks to a four-game sweep of the Giants in Philadelphia.

Now, the Phillies are 6-9 in their last 15 games and 31-25 on the season. They have scored just four runs in their last four games — and one of them should not have counted because Maikel Franco missed the plate.

Rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez, who entered Saturday night’s start with 5.65 ERA, held the Phillies scoreless over seven innings in his eighth big-league start. Suarez gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out five. Relievers Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland handled the rest.

Phillies starter Vince Velasquez pitched well but got no support from the offense. The only run he gave up came in the sixth inning after Joe Panik smacked a leadoff double. Panik moved to third on a ground ball then scored the game’s first run on a chopper to shortstop Scott Kingery. The Phillies had the infield in for Andrew McCutchen. Panik broke on contact and was able to slide in ahead of Kingery’s throw to catcher Jorge Alfaro. Kingery had to charge the ball and throw on the run. He did not get a lot on the ball. A firmer throw might have gotten Panic. The play was reviewed but umpire Jerry Meals’ safe call held up.

McCutchen drove in both of San Francisco’s runs. His sacrifice fly to center in the ninth padded the Giants’ lead.

The Phillies had just three hits on the night and one was an infield single. They did not draw a walk.

The Phillies came up empty on a couple of good scoring chances early in the game. Alfaro stroked a one-out triple in the third inning and was stranded on third. McCutchen, the Giants’ right fielder, made sure Alfaro died on third as he made a sensational running grab on a drive-by Cesar Hernandez to the huge alley in right-center. Hernandez’ drive would have been out of most parks.

In the fifth, the Phillies had runners on the corners with one out, but Suarez struck out Alfaro and Velasquez to get out of trouble.

Velasquez allowed five hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. He walked just one and struck out nine. He has allowed just four earned runs in his last four starts.

J.T. Realmuto feeling 'blessed' as he heads into arbitration showdown with Phillies

J.T. Realmuto feeling 'blessed' as he heads into arbitration showdown with Phillies

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto will participate in Tuesday’s workout before taking a flight to Phoenix for Wednesday’s salary arbitration hearing.

Realmuto is dreading the long flight, not the hearing.

“One way or another, I’m going to be playing baseball in Philly this year,” he said. “I’m going to either be making $10 million or $12 million, and I’ll be happy either way. I’m blessed to get to do what I do for a living for a lot of money so either way, I’m happy.”

Realmuto is actually seeking $12.4 million. The Phillies have filed at $10 million. The arbitration panel will select one figure or the other. There is no middle ground (more details here).

Realmuto, who made $5.9 million last year, is in his third and final year of arbitration and is scheduled to become a free agent after this season. To date, the highest-paid catcher in that class was Matt Wieters, who avoided a hearing with Baltimore and made $8.275 million 2015. Catcher Mike Napoli actually made more — $9.4 million — in a negotiated settlement with the Texas Rangers in 2012, but he was in his fourth year of arbitration because of his Super-Two status with the Anaheim Angels in 2009.

So, no matter how the arbitration panel rules, Realmuto’s 2020 salary will be a record for an arbitration-eligible catcher.

Once Realmuto’s 2020 salary is established, the Phillies will turn their attention to negotiating a long-term contract extension with him. Realmuto is expected to seek in the neighborhood of $23 million per season, matching Joe Mauer’s record salary for a catcher, over a five- or six-year deal. 

The Phillies would like to get a deal done by opening day to avoid any potential distractions. Would Realmuto negotiate during the season?

“We haven’t gotten there yet,” Realmuto said. “I’ll talk with my agent and we’ll communicate with Matt (Klentak, the general manager) and let him know.”

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Joe Girardi asks Phillies players to give him their hearts — and their trots

Joe Girardi asks Phillies players to give him their hearts — and their trots

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Joe Girardi officially opened his first Phillies spring training camp by telling the players to give him their hearts.

“He knows if he can get our heart, he’ll get our best on the field,” J.T. Realmuto said.

Both Girardi and managing partner John Middleton stressed that the goal was to play deep into October. The Phillies have not been to the postseason since 2011.

Middleton reminded the players of the passion that Philadelphia fans have and urged them to give back to the fans by playing the game hard and respecting it.

Girardi roamed the fields of Carpenter Complex during the workout. He lightened the mood at the end of a base-running drill by asking a group of players, including Jean Segura, to show off their home run trots.

“Just to have some fun,” Girardi said after the workout.

The home-run trot "drill" came with some instructions.

“Make sure you run hard before you know it's out,” he told the players. “The big thing is if you run hard to first, there is a great chance it'll be out by then. Then you don't get caught on first base or caught on second base when you should be a base ahead. Just run hard.”

Phillies pitchers will begin throwing live batting practice during Tuesday’s workout.

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