Phillies: 2022’s Priority for July

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While the Philadelphia Phillies faithful decide if their club is a winner, a loser or a .500 team, they are the same every season whether they’re atop the division, in the pack’s middle, or near the basement. They’re all three!    

 

Deadline Acquisition:

For Phillies fans, there’s now and there’s then. And they’ll change their thinking based on whether it’s April 1 or July 20 even if their positions are diametrically opposite. Regardless, some locals will demand top talent despite the exec’s yardstick: the standings and July’s record.  

Put Another Way:

“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead.” - Jackie Robinson

At this point, many believe the Fightins are a disappointment with the New York Mets comfortably atop the National League East, but they’ll need more than Pete Alonso for power. And they have rotation injuries again. So, either the Phils and/or Atlanta Braves could topple them or effectuate a three-club race. 

During March, the signings of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Costellanos were fuel for wishful thinking. And many wanted Didi Gregorius and Alec Bohm off the squad despite the additions. In fact, some may believe they’ll fail and confirm their preseason suspicions.     

The humidors have affected the power of many sluggers, but warmer weather will correct this issue until September. And selling low on Bohm and eating Gregorius’ contract  have proven patience is a front-office asset. But imagine the howls if Bohm was hitting .300 for another franchise.  

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Bryce is Back! Brycer Harper Returns to the Phillies Lineup


Bryce Harper
Photo: Ian D'Andrea/Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Philadelphia Phillies lineup is out for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Bryce Harper’s name is back in the lineup. Harper will bat third  and DH for the Phillies.  

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Harper received a PRP injection in his injured elbow on Sunday in Los Angeles and was expected to miss two-games but that bled into the Padres series and the first game against LA. 

 The Phillies offense has gone anemic during the five-game Harperless stretch.  The Phillies are 1-4 since Harper left the lineup. 

MV3's return to the lineup a welcome occurance. 

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No Bryce Harper, MV3 Out of the Lineup Again

Bryce HarperPhoto: Ian D'Andrea/Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Philadelphia Phillies lineup is out for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Bryce Harper’s name is once again absent.  

Harper received a PRP injection in his injured elbow on Sunday in Los Angeles and was expected to miss two-games. Tonight will mark the fifth game he’s missed since the injection.  The Phillies are 1-3 in the previous four games.  

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Mickey Moniak Set to Begin His Rehab Assignment

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By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Mickey Moniak had a Spring Training to remember, the first overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft slashed .378/.378/.973 with 6 HRs, 4 2Bs, a stolen base, and 11 RBIs.  It looked like he was finally going to live up to the #1 overall pick pressure but life threw him another curveball.  

Moniak was set to make the big league roster and then broke his hand in a pointless Grapefruit League game at Tropicana Field. The injury put a stop to his red hot Spring and sent the 22-year old outfielder to the DL for the foreseeable future.  Now, Moniak is set to begin his road back to the big leagues with a rehab assignment in Clearwater, the Phillies announced on Friday afternoon. 

 

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How Dave Dombrowski Will Structure the Bullpen

Dave Dombrowski
Photo: Arturo Pardavilla III/Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use

The Phillies bullpen will always be a polarizing topic and for good reason. Corey Knebel and Jeurys Familia helped blow a two-run lead on Sunday against the Dodgers. 

There’s also the infamous Thursday night where James Norwood was a disaster against the Mets leading to a clearly not-ready Knebel, eventually blowing a six-run ninth-inning lead.  

However, there are a couple of clear themes the bullpen is going to have under President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski’s watch and not all of them are bad. 

Here are three important themes we can identify about how the Dombrowski is going to structure the bullpen. 

Velocity is Everything

Dombrowski has made it very clear through his actions that he loves power pitching. Even if he will trade for Ian Kennedy and sign Brad Hand every once in a while, most of his acquisitions have been to acquire power pitching. 

In December of 2020, Dombrowski traded for José Alvarado, one of the hardest-throwing lefties in the sport. 

To begin 2021 he acquires Sam Coonrod, another upper 90s arm. This off-season he added Jeurys Familia, Nick Nelson, and James Norwood who all throw more than 95 miles per hour. 

Phillies as an entire pen rank fourth in fastball velocity, only behind known power pitching teams like the Yankees, White Sox, and Royals. 

While they have sprinkled in a few guys with less velocity, Dombrowski wants to give his bullpen as much upside as possible. 

Since they haven’t shown a willingness to pay big money for a top closer, they will have to try and mold one themselves. Acquiring pitchers with velocity and hoping they mold into strike throwers isn’t a bad strategy at all. 

If none of the names I mentioned work out, he and the front office is probably going to try and find more high-velocity replacements.

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Take Advantage! Mets’ Ace Max Scherzer out 6-8 Weeks

Max Scherzer
Photo: All Pro Reels/Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Now would be the ideal time for the Philadelphia Phillies to go on a run and make up ground in the National League East race.  The Mets, who have a 6-½ game lead over the Phillies, have announced pitcher Max Scherzer will be on the DL for the next month-and-a-half or so due to an oblique injury.  

The Mets have been bitten by the injury bug as of late.  In addition to Scherzer, pitchers Jacob deGrom (stress fracture) and Phillies killer Tylor Megill (biceps) are also on the DL.  The Mets have been forced to roll out Taijuan Walker, David Peterson, Chris Bassitt, and former Phillies farmhand Carlos Carrasco.  

That’s not exactly a lights out rotation.  Again, it would be the perfect time for the Phillies to take advantage of the Mets misery.  Lookin' at you Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto!  

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Bryce Harper is Your National League Player of the Week

Bryce HarperPhoto: Ian D'Andrea/Wikimedia Commons

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Major League Baseball has bestowed its National League Player of the Week award to Phillies’ designated hitter Bryce Harper.  This is Harper’s seventh career NL Player of the Week award but his first since joining the Phillies.  

Just how good was Harper last week?  The stats are mind boggling.  

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Powder Blue Podcast: Phillies Thrive Out West; Have They Turned a Corner?

Logo Mosher Klose

In the latest Powder Blue Podcast, Geoff Mosher and Frank Klose break down the West Coast Phillies road trip and discuss:

  • The Phillies go 5-2, but it could have been 6-1 had they gotten one more out.  Is that worth worrying about?
  • Are the Phillies starting staff and lineup settling in?
  • Bryce Harper, his UCL tear, and what it means for the future

All this and more! 


2022 Phillies, MLB: Humidor-delayed Hittin’ Season

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While Philadelphia Phillies and other baseball supporters dwell on offensive deficiencies, this designed situation could come from the lords of Major League Baseball. And it means the campaign may be broken into three pieces but two parts. Ergo, it bases a fifty-fifty split on the weather: cold ends and hot middle.    

 

Uncharted Territory:

If you see just one month of standings and sluggers’ power stats, you’re missing the old-fashioned element in April and September influencing the entire 162. My best guess: Players cannot swing for the fences until June and must play small ball to win in April, May and September. Habit-forming, no?             

Put Another Way:

“Don't look at the hole in the doughnut. Look at the whole doughnut.” - Branch Rickey

In Arizona and Colorado, those organizations had installed humidors, and it slowed the homer barrage for those National League West clubs. Now, the MLB has humidors in every big league stadium. And –surprise!-- bombs are down and many are noticing.  

While veteran outfielders are going to the wall judging by the swing and the sound, stars have disbelieving faces when the ball just dies well shy of the fence. And, sometimes, the outfielder must move quickly forward to the grass for the catch. Yes, outfielders and hitters are misjudging flies in 2022 they didn’t during 2021.   

Translation: Balls going to the warning track now will land in the stands in June, July and August. And teams wanting to win now must play good old-fashioned baseball, or they’ll lose. So, will they resort to only the long ball during the hot three months or score both ways into October? 

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