Is Mickey Moniak a Mid-September Call-Up?

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The Phillies have been hobbled by a number of injuries.  Most recently, starter Jake Arrieta hit the 10-day injured list.  But in the outfield the Phillies lost Jay Bruce and only recently got Roman Quinn back, and then losing Kyle Garlick to an oblique injury on Tuesday night.  So could Mickey Moniak be the next man up?

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Moniak is joining the Phillies:

What makes this interesting is that Bruce could be nearing a return.

According to Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic, a roster move will not happen today:

So what might the other roster move be if Bruce and Moniak both head to Philadelphia? Could Arrieta hit the injured list and the Phillies carry an extra position player for a few days before they need someone to make the start?  Is J.T. Realmuto hitting the injured list after all?   There will probably be another shoe to drop if both Bruce and Moniak appears.

The Phillies have Adam Haseley and Scott Kingery as reserve outfielders at the moment.  Kingery likely will be playing infield much more without first baseman Rhys Hoskins, and Bruce could be spending his time at first base and not the outfield as well.

Should Bruce not be activated yet, Moniak-for-Garlick could be the transaction.  But perhaps both are headed to Philadelphia today to face Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets.

Moniak batted .256 with 11 home runs for Double-A Reading in 2019.  He was added to the alternate site at the end of August.


Phillies Sign Two Veterans to Minor League Deals

By Greg Hall, Sports Talk Philly Editor

According to multiple sources, the Phillies have signed first baseman Greg Bird, 27, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, 34, to minor league contracts. Both players will be added to the 60-man player pool and assigned the alternative training site in Lehigh Valley.

The signings come just moments before postseason eligibility ended, meaning both players would be available for the playoffs, should the team make it. The Phillies currently occupy the seventh seed, one spot above Gabe Kapler's San Francisco Giants with 13 games to play.

Injuries to incumbents Rhys Hoskins (10-day IL) and J.T. Realmuto (day-to-day) have the Phillies finding themselves needing additional depth for a postseason run. Lucroy, formerly one of the game's best catchers, was released by the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday after just one plate appearance with the club.

Bird is an intriguing, but injury-prone former top prospect from the New York Yankees pipeline. He played for Phillies manager Joe Girardi from 2015-2019 and was most recently designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers in August. While he has not hit over .199 since 2015, Bird does have 32 home runs and 98 RBI for his career.

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Phillies Roundtable

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the Phillies so far but they currently find themselves in a playoff spot with just a few weeks remaining in the regular season. As they head into a very important stretch, the Sports Talk Philly team and I take moment to assess how this season has gone as well as where it is headed. Below is a

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Phillies: Bullpen’s Plan B for 2020

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

As the Philadelphia Phillies games on the schedule dwindle, the calendar says September; and I’m not writing about free agents for 2021, the franchise’s future stars, and the organization’s finances regarding the competitive-balance threshold for next year. Instead, my articles will involve strengths, weaknesses, and possible fixes.

 

On Girardi’s Radar:

Even though the pen has been the Achilles' heel of the Phillies, one pitcher stands out as a potential answer. And, recently, Joe Girardi took his first step in that direction on Sept. 10 when he signaled in the sixth inning for the reliever to face an opposite-side bat (not a pinch hitter). But will this hurler earn high-leverage roles?                

IN OTHER WORDS:

The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.” - James A. Yorke

For relievers, ERAs can be deceptive because a moundsman can have nine solid outings out of ten with one clunker for a 5.00 ERA. But if he’s successful in 8 out of 10 chances, he’s at 80 percent, and his effective rate meets management’s expectations with 75 percent acceptable for a season.  

Girardi has vocalized and demonstrated his survival plans for the bullpen, and it includes his roles from the sixth frame through the ninth with a potential closer and maybe two October relief additions. Unfortunately, many fans block out the skipper’s words with their “dominant” views. Fandom managers, no?                 

Hector Neris has the most important job in Giradi’s relief corps because he enters the game in the last three frames depending on which inning has the toughest outs. So, notice who hits in the seventh, eighth, or ninth frames; and you’ll know exactly when the split-finger pitcher will get the call.      

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Phillies Mailbag: Playoffs, Pitching, Bullpen Woes

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It's time once again for the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag.  Each week we take your questions and then answer them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill, Tuesdays on 97.3 FM in South Jersey.  Send your questions at any time to @FrankKlose on Twitter.

How do the Phillies playoff chances look now?
~Ryan

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Hoskins Will Hit the Injured List; Realmuto Will Not

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The Phillies playoff hopes took a major hit this week in Miami.  While looking at the standings, the Phillies would occupy a playoff spot if the season ended today.  But their hopes took a major hit, both in terms of momentum and in terms of health.

Rhys Hoskins will head to the 10-day injured list.  Hoskins has a UCL injury in his left arm.  In his postgame media availability, Phillies manager Joe Girardi said that he hopes Hoskins will return this season.   "Hopes" of course, was the key word.

News was better for catcher J.T. Realmuto, who will not be placed on the injured list.   Realmuto will be considered "day-to-day" with a mild hip strain, likely to miss the next few days.   The catching duties will have to go to Andrew Knapp and rookie Rafael Marchan in the meanwhile.   With Hoskins out, maybe Realmuto can rest his hip some by playing some first base to get his back into the diminished Phillies lineup.

Scott Kingery did return to the Phillies on Monday, one small piece of good news.  While the Phillies offense was minimal, Kingery did homer in his return.  That should help the Phillies somewhat, but the lineup is still without Jay Bruce and Roman Quinn.

The Phillies have 14 games remaining.  Up until this point, a .500 team was in line for the playoffs.  Could the Phillies win half their games the rest of the way?  If they can, they are probably in.  If not, there's always next year.


Phillies DFA Walker, Activate Morgan, as Wheeler's Finger Aches

Ahead of Friday's double-header between the Phillies and the Miami Marlins, the Phillies made a number of moves.  While those moves were being made, the middle finger injury to starter Zack Wheeler caused great concern to the Phillies.  Here is a rundown of the day's news.

In Phillies manager Joe Girardi's pregame media availability he expressed concern for Wheeler's middle finger on his throwing hand.  Girardi indicated that beyond Friday's scratch, there was some doubt that Wheeler can make his start on Monday.  Wheeler is in danger of losing the nail on that finger.

Wheeler injured the finger on the zipper of a pair of pants.  This is not an injury that happens every day.  Unfortunately for the Phillies they are extra-pressed for starting depth to begin with, with four more doubleheaders in the remaining 17 days.  The Phillies needed a seventh starter beyond Vince Velasquez as it was, and now they are down another.

The Phillies designated for assignment the contract of utility player Neil Walker.  Walker was batting just .231 with an OPS of ..552.  Girardi noted before the game that the reason for Walker being cut was that they were hoping for some more positional versatility from a utility player.  The Phillies are currently with just one real option in center field.

Ronald Torreyes, who had been at the alternate training site in Allentown, will have his contract purchased.  Torreyes can play center field in a pinch.  With only Adam Haseley as a true center fielder, that gives the Phillies another option.   It's also a sign that neither Roman Quinn or Scott Kingery are not close to returning.

Lefty reliever Adam Morgan returned from the injured list.  The Phillies have only had Jojo Romero to be a late-inning left-handed relief option.  Jose Alvarez may not be ready to return during the regular season and Ranger Suarez, though left-handed, is trying to find his footing after missing time with a COVID.

Morgan replaces Connor Brogdon, who was optioned to the alternate training site.  Meanwhile Ramon Rosso is serving as the 29th player during the Friday doubleheader.

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Middle Finger Issues: Starter Zack Wheeler Will Miss Next Start

Once upon a time, former Phillie Adam Eaton injured himself and missed a start.  That was opening a pack of CDs he received in the mail.   These days, Columbia House is no more, but the Phillies apparently have suffered an injury along those lines.  This time, it's not a pack of CDs, but a zipper.

According to Phillies manager Joe Girardi, who spoke to the media after the Phillies lost to the Miami Marlins Thursday night, Zack Wheeler is going to miss a start:

Middle finger.  How appropriate.

The Phillies lost game one of the seven-game series to the Marlins after starter Jake Arrieta rebounded from a putrid first inning.  This time, Phillies reliever Tommy Hunter loaded the bases in the eighth inning.  But as quickly as Hunter loaded the bases, Brandon Workman cleared them to erase a 6-3 Phillies lead.

The Phillies would have had to use the bullpen for one game coming up.  If Wheeler was not bumped back three days to the 14th, that day would have been a bullpen game.   The Phillies could have pitched Spencer Howard and Aaron Nola Friday instead.    The Phillies bullpen probably could not handle an entire game, so a seven-inning game is probably best.  So maybe this actually oddly helps the Phillies.

So hopefully Nola pitches a full seven in one of the two games.  The other one? Anyone's guess. So while Wheeler's middle finger screws up Friday, at least he will be around on Monday to pitch for the Phillies.


How Phillies-Marlins Series Affects Rest of Season

By Greg Hall, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Phillies (21-18) are about to take part in their first seven game regular season series in the team's storied history... one would think.

It turns out that the Phils have played multiple seven gamers in 1930, going 4-8-2 against the Chicago Cubs & Boston Braves in 1930, most recently.

The team travels to south Florida for a series against the Miami Marlins (19-19) over five days that will feature two seven-inning doubleheaders and could propel one of the two teams to the fast track for a playoff spot.

Much about the starting pitching matchups is unknown beyond Thursday's battle between Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.67 ERA) and RHP Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 3.78 ERA).

As of this writing, manager Joe Girardi has not announced any other starting pitchers, but it lines up that every pitcher in the rotation plus Vince Velasquez will take the hill... and that still will not be enough starters.

The teams will play doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday and with Velasquez last pitching in a loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, he will conceivably start one of the two Sunday games. That leaves the Phillies without a starter for the back end of Friday's twin bill and Monday's series finale.

Who are the Phillies best options to fill those spots from the 40-man roster?

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2020 Phillies, NL East: Current National Predictions

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

After the Philadelphia Phillies had dominated at a 90.9 percent clip, they came back to earth because winning 10 of every 11 games isn’t sustainable by any team. And the players don’t expect everything to go their way indefinitely. Unfortunately, some locals believe hot or cold streaks never end, but they always do.   

 

Forecasts Revised:

For Phillies fans, the ups and downs between now and Sept. 27 will be a daily occurrence. Seven contests, though, of the final 21 are with a club on the playoff periphery and one in the cellar: the New York Mets (three games) and the Washington Nationals (four), while the Miami Marlins have seven contests to prove they’re for real. 

IN OTHER WORDS:

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” - Benjamin Franklin

While many locals here are probably having some doubts after the 10-1 run ended, our northern neighbors in the Bronx are a perfect example of fandom’s equivalent of mood swings. Well, the New York Yankees opened the season with an 8-1 mark, and their supporters boasted their Bombers are basically unbeatable.               

World Series champs, no? But after they only had been triumphant in eight of their next 13 games at 16-5, they went 5-15 in their next 20, and their fans are beside themselves: They won’t make the playoffs, fire the general manager, and fire the skipper. For some reason, I remember similar sentiments elsewhere.             

My research includes keeping up with the other 29 organizations also, and ‘20 has multiple injuries every day and not just three or four. No, I’m not alone in noticing a year’s worth in a 60-game schedule not including the COVID-19 cases at the campaign’s beginning. This summer is unlike the usual 162.       

In fact, Yankees manager Aaron Boone has received criticism for giving guys too many days off, but he probably is being overly cautious to keep his team on the field. Realistically, the Bronx Bombers have been a MASH unit in 2019 and 2020. 

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