Phillies

At The Yard Podcast: J.T. Realmuto Phillies' MVP so far? What happens now in CF?

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USA Today Images

At The Yard Podcast: J.T. Realmuto Phillies' MVP so far? What happens now in CF?

On this edition of At The Yard, Corey Seidman and Jim Salisbury say J.T. Realmuto has more than lived up to the reputation of baseball's best catcher. He might also be the team's MVP so far, which one teammate predicted.

The Phillies have some questions in center field and Odubel Herrera may not be the answer.

Is the NL East now a two-team race?

Also, Jim shares some of his favorite Cole Hamels memories as the lefty prepares to face the Phillies for the very first time.

0:30 — J.T. Realmuto has been better than advertised.
4:30 — Why Realmuto shouldn't focus on hitting home runs.
6:00 — Jean Segura "punches the ball in the nose." What does that mean?
7:30 — Phillies need to figure out their CF situation.
13:00 — How much has CF position changed over the years?
15:30 — Bryce Harper's defensive impact a surprise?
17:30 — Phillies killing it during their tough stretch.
21:30 — Is the NL East a two-team race?
25:00 — Has Hector Neris turned a corner?
29:30 — Fondest Cole Hamels memories, non-2008 edition.

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Phillies 6, Braves 5: Scott Kingery keys uplifting win after 2 injuries and short start from Aaron Nola

Phillies 6, Braves 5: Scott Kingery keys uplifting win after 2 injuries and short start from Aaron Nola

BOX SCORE 

ATLANTA — What was shaping up to be a second straight painful loss for the Phillies was instead an invigorating win.

After they lost two starters to injury (Jay Bruce, J.T. Realmuto) and watched their ace struggle through just 4⅓ innings, the Phillies fought back in the top of the ninth to come back and beat the Braves, 6-5. 

Scott Kingery, the star of the night for the Phillies, keyed the ninth-inning rally with a leadoff single. He went 3 for 3 with a two-run double and a walk and is hitting .347 on the season with a 1.058 OPS.

Braves closer Luke Jackson threw wide of first base on Sean Rodriguez's sacrifice bunt after Kingery began the ninth with a single. Cesar Hernandez followed with the decisive two-run single, and Hector Neris pitched a clean ninth for the save 24 hours after a nightmarish outing.

This was a big-time win. The Braves had won eight straight games and had all the momentum after walking the Phillies off Friday and coming back from an early deficit again Saturday. The Phillies made six straight outs in the seventh and eighth innings and looked like a defeated team.

Instead, they evened the series and go for the improbable series win tomorrow afternoon. At 39-31, the Phils are 1½ games behind the Braves in the NL East. The vibe of this series turned in a hurry.

What is up with Nola?

Walks, home runs, an extremely deliberate pace ... forget 2018, Nola right now isn't even the guy he was in 2017, when he had a mid-3.00s ERA.

Nola has a 4.89 ERA and has already allowed as many home runs in 15 starts as he allowed in 29 starts last season. He has the second-slowest pace in between pitches in all of baseball to Yu Darvish, and his control has been erratic. Nola has walked 4.0 batters per nine innings this season. Prior to this year, he walked 2.5 per nine.

Nola's season has had a very 2009 Cole Hamels vibe to it. 

The Phillies' only reliable starting pitcher this season has been Zach Eflin. That is a problem. This team might not be able to wait until mid- or late-July to add a difference-making starting pitcher.

More injuries

Bruce left the game in the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness, which likely occurred during his sprint around the bases on Kingery's two-run double. Bruce was called out at the plate on the play.

Jean Segura, Kingery and Odubel Herrera have all spent time on the IL this season with hamstring injuries.

In total, 15 different Phillies have been on the injured list this season. Somehow, six teams have had more players on the IL and 12 teams have had more player games lost to injury than the Phillies.

Bruce's injury could expedite Roman Quinn's return to the majors. Quinn was held out of a rehab game Saturday night as a precautionary measure after he was hit by a pitch on the shoulder Friday (see story).

In the fifth inning, Realmuto took a foul ball to the groin and was on the ground for close to five minutes. He was in visible pain the rest of the frame and exited an inning later.

The drop-off from Realmuto to Andrew Knapp is massive. Hopefully for the Phillies, this was just a one-night thing.

Scary moment

Braves lefty Sean Newcomb was removed from the game in the top of the third after being struck on the neck by a Realmuto line drive that left the bat at 102 mph.

Here's footage of the scary play.

Up next

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at 1:20. The Phillies have not yet named a starter but will face tough righty Mike Foltynewicz, who is off to a slow start this season (1-5, 6.02).

More on the Phillies' options for Sunday's start here

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Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb leaves game vs. Phillies after being struck on neck by line drive

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USA Today Images/Jason Getz

Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb leaves game vs. Phillies after being struck on neck by line drive

ATLANTA — Scary, scary moment in the third inning Saturday night in Atlanta. J.T. Realmuto crushed a line drive back up the middle that hit Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb on the side of the head/neck area so hard that it ricocheted all the way from the mound into the Phillies' dugout.

The play was scored a ground-rule double, but that's not what matters, what matters is Newcomb's health. He was examined by the Braves' training staff and quickly removed from the game. Touki Toussaint took over.

Newcomb was wide-eyed as Braves trainers checked on him. He walked off the field under his own power.



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies