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82 Games? Here's How the Phillies Fared in 2019 After 82

As Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association begin to work towards an agreement to resume play, it appears likely that the baseball season will be somewhere around 82 games.  Just a tick over half of a major league season, the number of games might make for a very different outcome for teams like the Phillies.  We turn back the clock just under a year ago to consider what 82 games meant in 2019 and what they might mean in 2020.

The Standings at 82 Games in 2019

Game 82 took place for the Phillies on June 28.  Here is how the Phillies fared in the National League East after all teams played 82: 

NL East Division Table
Tm W L W-L% GB
ATL 48 34 .585 --
PHI 43 39 .524 5.0
WSN 41 41 .506 6.0
NYM 37 45 .446 11.0
MIA 32 50 .388 16.0
 
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/26/2020.

The Atlanta Braves had a sizable lead against the Phillies.  However, the Phillies were still ahead of the Washington Nationals, the eventual World Series Champion.  But would the Nationals have made the playoffs at all?  Would the Phillies?

Under the 2019 MLB Playoff arrangement, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago Cubs would have been division winners.  The Phillies, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Colorado Rockies would have been the Wild Cards:

NL Overall Table
Tm W L W-L% GB
LAD 55 27 .671 --
ATL 48 34 .585 7.0
CHC 44 38 .537 11.0
COL 43 39 .524 12.0
PHI 43 39 .524 12.0
MIL 43 39 .524 12.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/26/2020.

That means there would have been no playoffs for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Nationals, the eventual World Series Champions.

Under some proposals, the playoffs could expand to 14 teams, with four Wild Card berths in both leagues.  That would mean that the San Diego Padres would be the fourth and final wild card at 42-40.  The Washington Nationals would have missed out at 41-41.

Advantages for the Phillies: Rotation Health

Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta did not make it through the entire 2019 season.   On June 25,  Arrieta pitched for the last time.  At that point, he was still pitching every day.  Arrieta would have closed the regular season 7-6 with a 4.33 earned run average.  That might not have been stellar, but it would have been helpful for him.

Arrieta would make eight more starts for the Phillies, though there was a clear decline.  When pitching until at least the sixth inning, the Phillies had a much better chance to win.  However, Arrieta was not the same during the month of July and into August, when his season ended.

Rhys Hoskins Would Not Have Slumped Badly Yet

At the 82-game mark, first baseman Rhys Hoskins was batting .266.   At that point, Hoskins had 18 home runs and sported an OPS of .921.   Hoskins would hit .161 in August and .170 in September, contributing the Phillies fading out of the playoff race.  Hoskins batted .244 in July, where he would not have had as big of a falloff.

Jay Bruce in his Prime

When Jay Bruce joined the Phillies, he went on a home run tear.  Bruce played 19 games beyond the 82-game mark, and they were some of his most productive, before heading to the injured list after July 16th's game.  The Phillies would have ridden Bruce's hot bat into the playoffs.

Aaron Nola Was Becoming Dominant Again

It's easy to remember that Phillies ace Aaron Nola struggled out of the gate.  A devilish 6.66 earned run average for Nola was out of character.   But Nola would be strongest in July and August, in which he had a consistent 2.52 earned run average each month.  Nola's first July start was arguably his most dominant; he went eight innings against Atlanta, not surrendering a run.  Could that have been the first playoff game for the Phillies? 

Segura Awoke from a Slump

Much was made about how Phillies shortstop Jean Segura struggled after the injury to Andrew McCutchen.  Segura felt badly about it and at the same time lost a dynamic leadoff hitter in front of him.  But July was a different story for Segura.

Segura's most productive month was July, when he batted .346.   With the Phillies season reaching its 82nd game after June, this would have been the right time to get hot.

The Bullpen

The Phillies ended up piecing together a bullpen down the stretch, adding Mike Morin, Blake Parker and Jared Hughes.   The Phillies often had rookies Edgar Garcia and J.D. Hammer pitching in big moments.  But the Phillies had the emerging Jose Alvarez and Adam Morgan was still pitching well in the bullpen.  That said, there was little beyond Hector Neris.  It's hard to say that the Phillies were better-suited in the bullpen after 82, but it might have been a wash.

Summary: 

Had the season in 2019 ended at 82 games, the Phillies would have been a Wild Card winner.  With Aaron Nola pitching the Wild Card game, there's a real chance that the Phillies could have won a one-game playoff.  However, would the Phillies have stumbled down the stretch?  Were the struggles related to the aforementioned issues or was it the leadership?

The Phillies ultimately fired Gabe Kapler after 162 games. Would they have fired him if there were 82? It's fun to think about.

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NHL Takes Steps Toward Phase 2 of Return

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

While the rest of us were enjoying the holiday weekend, the NHL was hard at work taking the next steps to a return to play and there is now a concrete step that would allow players to begin training again.

The NHL released a memo on Monday that detailed the steps of Phase 2 in a return to play. The 29-page memo states targeting an early-June date for a move to Phase 2. In Phase 2, teams will be allowed to open practice facilities and permit a maximum of six players at one time to engage in individual training. For NHL players specifically, this would include ice time. All ice time would feature players only with no coaches or other personnel allowed on the ice.

Continue reading "NHL Takes Steps Toward Phase 2 of Return" »


Flyers Greatest Moments: Firsts and Lasts of the Spectrum

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

In 1966, the city of Philadelphia was granted a franchise in the NHL as part of the expansion era. With hockey coming to Philadelphia, Ed Snider needed a home for his new franchise and ground broke on June 1, 1966 on the Spectrum.

Just over a year later on Sept. 30, 1967, the Spectrum was open for business, hosting its first event, the Quaker City Jazz Festival. The two-day concert took place on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and the first night of the event was delayed by 55 minutes due to traffic tie-ups in the parking lots. The last act of the night finished at 3 a.m. as a result. The next day, a crowd of 17,500 fans attended the Quaker City Jazz Festival, marking the largest indoor audience in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania history.

Continue reading "Flyers Greatest Moments: Firsts and Lasts of the Spectrum" »


YWT: The Philadelphia Flyers Podcast - YWT #80 - Playoff Hockey?

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The newest YWT podcast episode is out and finally, there is some news about a possible return for the NHL.

Host Kyle Collington and Kevin Durso provide insight into the latest regarding a return to play, including the 24-team playoff format that was approved by the NHLPA on Friday and what it could mean for the Flyers. They also look at some discussions regarding the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year and talk about the current "Greatest NHL Team of All Time" bracket, which reached the Final Four this week.

You can listen to this episode of the podcast below and be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Podbean

You can also watch the latest episode of the YWT Podcast on YouTube and subscribe to the channel to see future shows.

As always, we want you to follow the podcast on Twitter @YWTpodcast, follow Mike Giletto Sr. on Twitter @MikeFromSJersey, follow Kevin Durso on Twitter @Kevin_Durso and follow producer Mike Giletto Jr. on Twitter @Mike_Giletto.


Jason Peters Could Still Be Valuable Addition For Eagles, But At What Cost?

Embed from Getty Images

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

On Tuesday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson gave a vote of confidence for Andre Dillard to be the starting left tackle, saying he has "a ton of confidence" in the second-year man.

In fact, All-Pro center Jason Kelce gave the former first-round pick some support of his own, saying that Dillard's only slight weakness in 2019 was power and he will improve on that for 2020.

Still, despite Dillard's massive potential and his solid showing at left tackle in 2019, Pederson also told reporters that the team has remained in contact with 16-year veteran Jason Peters.

Continue reading "Jason Peters Could Still Be Valuable Addition For Eagles, But At What Cost?" »


NHLPA Approves 24-Team Playoff, Authorize Further Negotiations

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The NHLPA Executive Board had a call on Thursday to discuss the proposed 24-team playoff structure for the NHL’s return to play. On Friday, the NHLPA officially announced approval of the 24-team structure and authorized further negotiations with the NHL in pursuing the return to play.

"The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup. Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play," the NHLPA said in a statement released on Friday night.

There were a number of issues presented during what was described as “spirited if not raucous” by TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Among the issues that brought about such great emotion were testing, player safety, players leaving their families, pay and the belief that this issue should be a full-player vote and not just the Executive Board, where each team has one representative. Despite the passion, which made the call heated at times according to McKenzie, the vote was nearly unanimous to move ahead with the format, resulting in a 29-2 vote.

Continue reading "NHLPA Approves 24-Team Playoff, Authorize Further Negotiations" »


Phillies Reportedly Will Train in Philadelphia for Resumed Season

2018-07-25 14.19.33

On Friday, news broke than Pennsylvania might be ready to move to the "Yellow" phase of the COVID-19 guidelines by June 5.  Could baseball return to South Philadelphia soon thereafter?  It might not be too much longer, at least in Spring Training form.

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Phillies appear ready to choose to train at home in Philadelphia rather than return to Clearwater:

It is likely that the Phillies will train in Philadelphia, according to multiple sources. Nothing is certain because there are still many big-picture details to work out, but that is the plan being discussed.

MLB, provided it reaches agreement with the union on safety and salary matters, and receives approval from government and health officials, would like to start the season in early July. The general consensus is that players would need three weeks to get ready. That means camps would open in the neighborhood of June 10-15. Of course questions would remain about how that would work. Salisbury notes that teams can use both clubhouses to spread out further.  Other rooms not currently in use for other purposes of course could be converted to places for players to keep their belongings.  The Phillies could even use facilities at FDR Park, First Energy Field in Reading and Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

Spring Training games could be played against the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, and New York Yankees - provided they are training at home.

But much is left to be worked out, including an agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Read Salisbury's full piece here on NBC Sports Philadelphia.


Was Sam Hinkie a Good GM?

94.1 WIP is putting to rest a few debates this week and I believe it's a genius strategy for a time like this. In this podcast, I look at Sam Hinkie's tenure with the Philadelphia Sixers and voice my opinion on if I believe he did a great job or not. Spoiler alert, he did a FANTASTIC job. Acquiring superstar talent to get out of the 8th seed. Bravo Sam, that's EXACTLY what you did! Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are pieces to build around for years to come. 50+ win seasons and consistent playoff runs. That's what the goal of the process was. It's not about "winning the championship or it's a failure." That's silly. It's about having a chance to win it.

 

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Draft profile: Kentucky's Immanuel Quickley

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Next up in my draft profile series is someone who will most likely be a target in the second round instead of the first. That player is Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley. 

Quickley is a sharpshooting guard who burst onto the scene in his second season at Kentucky. As a sophomore he tripled his scoring and rebounding numbers, and almost increased his three-point percentage ten points from when he was a freshman. 

This year Quickley averaged 16.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.9 APG. On top of that 42.8% from deep on just under five attempts a game. 

There is a lot to like about his game. His shot is smooth from deep, he is great at moving around the floor without the ball, and he has a nice enough handle to put the ball on the floor when teams have chased him off the three-point line. 

Quickley has no problem getting his shot off in any kind of situation. He is most lethal when he is catching and shooting but also can get his shot off the dribble when needed. 

The biggest weakness of Quickley would have to be his size. Currently he sits at six foot three and weighs 188 pounds. He would be considered undersized coming in, but at soon to be 21 years old he could still grow and will put on weight when he has the availability of an NBA training staff.  

Immanuel Quickley is a name the Sixers should have underlined, circled, and highlighted on their draft board. His fit on the Sixers’ roster is almost perfect. He is the exact kind of player that the team needs to be putting around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. 

We saw in recent years how well JJ Redick thrived in the Sixers’ system and was able to have some of the best scoring seasons of his entire career. Now imagine getting a 21-year-old player who can play just like him and still has the potential to grow his game more, that is what they could be getting in drafting Quickley. 

He could be a guy that is flying down the wings with Ben Simmons and hitting threes in transition, and he could also be a guy that Joel Embiid could kick the ball out to when he is double teamed in the post. 

Shooting is an area that the Sixers need to improve badly. To lock a guy up like Quickley on a rookie deal would be a steal for them as they have little cap room to work with moving forward. Hopefully, the Sixers do the right thing and address their biggest issue in this draft. 

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