Phillies

Who goes to Triple A when Justin Bour arrives — Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford, a reliever?

Who goes to Triple A when Justin Bour arrives — Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford, a reliever?

SAN DIEGO — Justin Bour will be in uniform for the Phillies on Saturday night and Gabe Kapler is thrilled to have him.

“I envision him being a dynamic, power-hitting weapon off the bench,” the Phillies manager said Friday night, several hours after the team acquired the left-handed slugger from the Miami Marlins.

The Phillies cleared room for Bour on the 40-man roster by designating pitcher Jake Thompson for assignment.

Now comes the big question:

Who gets lopped from the 25-man roster to make room for Bour?

The Phillies could trim back their bullpen to seven relievers by sending one of them to the minors.

It’s more likely, however, that they trim from an area of depth. And with J.P. Crawford coming off the disabled list on Friday, the Phils have two middle infielders on their bench in Crawford and Scott Kingery.

The Phils could address their 25-man roster issue by sending one of those players to Triple A before Saturday’s game.

It might make sense simply to send Crawford out to get him some at-bats at an advanced level. He had just 28 plate appearances in the Florida State League before being activated after spending seven weeks on the disabled list with a broken left hand.

But it would also be completely understandable if the Phillies sent Kingery down. The rookie, who signed a landmark, six-year, $24 million contract in spring training, has spent the entire season in the majors but has recently been replaced by Asdrubal Cabrera as the team’s primary shortstop. Overall, Kingery is hitting just .223 with a .588 OPS. He has struck out 99 times and walked just 21. On top of it all, he is mired in an 0-for-20 slump that has coincided with his losing playing time to the recently acquired Cabrera. The Phillies sent Aaron Altherr down to regain his stroke so he could come back in September and be productive. Kingery's situation does not seem all that different — except for the large financial investment the team has made in him.

“We probably won't make any decisions until after we play tonight's game and see if that helps inform our decision at all,” general manager Matt Klentak said of the looming roster decision. “I think we've reached a point in the season where it's about winning baseball games. We've been pretty conscious all year long of trying to be competitive while also promoting development, and I think at this point we need to start focusing on winning baseball games. We're going to do whatever we have to do. If somebody gets sent out in the next three weeks, it's probably going to be only for a short period of time. When rosters expand on Sept. 1, a lot of the guys that are currently in Triple A will be back here. Whatever we end up doing is likely temporary.”

Kapler confirmed before Friday night’s game what has recently become obvious: Cabrera is his shortstop.

“Right now, it looks like Cabrera is going to play a good bit,” Kapler said. “And (third baseman) Mikey Franco has been really good for two months straight. So those guys have earned the opportunity in a playoff run to play quite a bit. So, for now, that’s how we see it.”

Kapler said he would use Bour whenever the game is on the line and a right-handed pitcher is on the mound.

“The longer we save him, the more likely we’re going to get a counter move,” Kapler said. “So we’ve got to pick the time as early as possible where he can do the most damage and deploy him.

“He’s fired up. He’s going to fit right in here. Our guys are excited to have him.”

Bour, 30, hit .227 with 19 homers, 54 RBIs and a .759 OPS for Miami this season. Four of those homers came against the Phillies. Last season, he hit .289 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs.

Bour has put up some big numbers in his career against the NL East. Against Atlanta, he has a .302 batting average, 13 homers, 42 RBIs and a 1.023 OPS. Against the Mets, he has a .276 batting average, nine homers, 29 RBIs and an .870 OPS. Against Washington, he has a .232 batting average with 11 homers, 37 RBIs and a .745 OPS.

The Phillies, who entered Friday leading the NL East by a game over the Braves, have 10 games remaining against the Mets, nine against the Nationals and seven against Atlanta.

“I think it’s worth noting that he’s really hurt the Braves,” Kapler said. “I think that matters.”

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Andrew McCutchen, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich discuss need to transform American policing

Andrew McCutchen, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich discuss need to transform American policing

How should police be held accountable in order to actually trigger change? That was one of the topics addressed by Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen in a USA Today piece co-authored by Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, former NFL Pro Bowler and co-founder of the Player Coalition Anquan Boldin, and New Orleans Saints LB Demario Davis.

"The coronavirus has taught the nation how fragile life is. We all feel deeply the impermanence of our world and realize that the people we cling to for security, stability and for love can disappear in a single moment," the piece began.

"But this realization has long been apparent to Black America, as they’ve watched law enforcement unjustly take the lives of black people for decades, ending futures in an instant. The examples could fill the pages of this news site.

"... And in the past few weeks, these examples have come at hyperspeed."

Accountability was a major theme in the op-ed.

"We cannot wait to change hearts and minds — too many people will die while we try," the authors wrote. "We need to transform American policing now. We need changes that will actually alter behavior, prevent officers from harming people with impunity, and allow officials to hold officers and departments accountable when they do.

"First, police chiefs need to have the ability to get bad officers off the street. When officers are caught using racial slurs, engaging in illegal searches and seizures, fabricating evidence or using severe, unlawful force, they should lose their badges, and lose them immediately. But they don't. A USA TODAY investigation last year found a widespread failure to track problem officers whose testimony had helped charge and imprison thousands of people."

The piece calls for Congress to put an end to "qualified immunity," which shields government officials from being sued for discretionary actions within their official capacity unless their actions violate clearly established federal law or constitutional rights.

"Qualified immunity prevents harmed individuals from receiving compensation unless there is another case, already decided, that involved basically identical facts," McCutchen et al wrote. "The likelihood of this type of similarity between acts of wrongdoing is scant at best. Without it, qualified immunity completely shields officers from civil consequences for their illegal acts.

"When we watch people like George Floyd or Eric Garner get choked to death, it is hard to be filled with anything but the utmost despair. But our anger and frustration will not stop police violence. There are meaningful changes that would allow us to police these officers, not just the other way around. We must ensure that victimizing our fellow citizens brings real consequences."

Check out the full piece for more of the conversation.

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Even Jamie Moyer, King of Clinchers, couldn't lead '08 Phillies to sweep of Brewers

Even Jamie Moyer, King of Clinchers, couldn't lead '08 Phillies to sweep of Brewers

The Phillies went into Milwaukee for Game 3 of the 2008 National League Division Series looking to complete a sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Phils had won the first two games of the best-of-five series at home. Cole Hamels pitched a gem to backbone the Game 1 victory and Shane Victorino led the charge against CC Sabathia in the Game 2 victory.

Looking to clinch the series in Game 3, the Phils had the guy they wanted on the mound.

Jamie Moyer was their King of Clinchers. He had been the winning pitcher in the team's NL East division clinchers in 2007 and 2008.

Anyone for a trifecta?

Not this time.

At age 45, Moyer led the Phillies with 16 wins in 2008. He did it by upsetting hitters' timing with an artful changeup and the ability to locate his pitches with precision.

But in Game 3 of the NLDS that day in Milwaukee — you can watch a complete re-airing of the game Wednesday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia — Moyer lacked command of his pitches and the champagne stayed locked in the back room as the Phillies suffered a 4-1 loss to the Brewers.

"I just couldn't create any consistency,'' Moyer said in front of his locker after that game. "I was erratic early in the game."

Moyer wasn't the only Phillie who struggled that day.

The offense had just one hit in 12 opportunities with a runner in scoring position. A few hits in those situations could have gotten Moyer off the hook and maybe the outcome would have been different. Right-hander Dave Bush, a product of Conestoga High School in Berwyn, got the win for the Brewers. He allowed just one run in 5⅓ innings.

The Brewers had 11 hits on the day and all were singles. They also drew five walks. Three of those walks were issued by Moyer and two of them came in the first inning as the Brewers put up a quick two-spot. Moyer needed 34 pitches to get through that inning and was gone after four. He threw a first-pitch strike to just two of the Brewers' first 11 hitters.

Manager Charlie Manuel did not like home plate umpire Brian Runge's strike zone and let that be known during the game, but Moyer used no excuses.

"Ball one, ball two," Moyer said afterward. "That's not good. And their hitters were patient."

That was the Brewers' game plan with Moyer. Don't chase his tantalizing off-speed pitches off the plate. Make him throw the ball over the plate.

"Sometimes it's easier said than done,'' Milwaukee shortstop J.J. Hardy said after that game. "Every time we face Moyer or guys like him, we try to soften our approach and hit line drives up the middle."

Though Moyer did not deliver the clinching effort he'd hoped to that day in Milwaukee, he was still a major contributor during his four-plus seasons in Philadelphia. He won 56 games for the Phillies. In addition to leading the team in wins in 2008, he tied Hamels for the team lead in starts (33) and finished second behind Hamels (227⅓) with 196⅓ innings pitched.

Moyer was a stalwart down the stretch in 2008. He went 9-1 in is final 15 starts and the Phillies won 12 of those games.

So though it didn't happen for him in Game 3 of the NLDS that season, it still happened for him an awful lot in 2008 and his place on that championship team will always be secure and strong.

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