Phillies Eliminated from Playoffs for 8th Straight Season

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

"Red October" returning for Philadelphia Phillies fans at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia will have to wait at least one more year. For the eighth straight season, the club will not appear in the postseason and compete for their third World Series championship in franchise history.

The Phillies were officially eliminated from the 2019 postseason after falling 4-1 to the Washington Nationals in the first of Tuesday's doubleheader at Nationals Park.

The only teams with a longer postseason drought than the Phillies are the Chicago White Sox (11 years), San Diego Padres (13), Miami Marlins (16) and the Seattle Mariners (18), notes the Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber.

Just six games remain for the Phillies this season, their first with notable All-Star-caliber players Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, among others. The Phillies must win at least half (3) to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2011, their last postseason appearance which resulted in a first-round, NLDS exit.

Former Phillies Prospect Chace Numata Passes Away at 27

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Former Philadelphia Phillies catching prospect Chance Numata passed away on Monday at the age of 27, after being injured in a skateboarding accident early Friday morning.

Numata, who was native to Pearl City, Hawaii, was drafted by the Phillies out of high school in the 14th round of the 2010 amateur draft. Most recently playing for the Detroit Tigers' Double-A Erie SeaWolves, Numata was hospitalized on Friday after Erie police officers found him at approximately 2:15 a.m., bleeding from the head.

Through 10 minor-league seasons with the Phillies (2010-17), New York Yankees (2018), and Tigers (2019), Numata slashed .251/.316/.336 with 90 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs, 214 RBI, 172 walks and 273 strikeouts spanning 575 games and 2,119 plate appearances.


Phillies Remain in Control of Postseason Fate with 5 Weeks Left in Season

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

It has been a long time since the Philadelphia Phillies qualified for the postseason eight years, in fact.

Since then, we have seen the departure and rearrival of 2008 World Series-winning manager Charlie Manuel to the coaching staff; a front office overhaul that included Matt Klentak replacing Ruben Amaro Jr. as general manager; a new, analytics-based way of thinking throughout the organization you name it.

The Phillies have tried to shake things up, considering they have not finished better than third place in their division since the franchise-best, 102-win season in 2011 that resulted in a disappointing NLDS series defeat to the eventual-champion St. Louis Cardinals and a career-devastating injury to first baseman Ryan Howard.

One of the Phillies' more recent efforts to "right the ship" was signing a new left-handed slugger perennial All-Star and MVP-candidate Bryce Harper this past offseason to a then-record-breaking contract.

And while signing Harper at first appeared to not have "pushed the needle" any closer to a Phillies postseason berth, Harper and the team overall have completely turned things around in recent weeks  including winning seven of their last 10 games, scoring an average of 6.3 runs per game.

While the Phillies' chances to win the division title appear slim, being 10 1/2 games out with 34 games left to play, the Phillies continue to be right in the thick of a Wild Card race.

The only thing that remains in the Phillies' way of clinching their first postseason berth since 2011 considering their favorable remaining schedule is themselves.

Continue reading "Phillies Remain in Control of Postseason Fate with 5 Weeks Left in Season" »


Phillies Injury Updates: Arrieta, Quinn, Robertson

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Prior to Saturday's game, the Philadelphia Phillies provided injury updates on three of its players: one starting pitcher, one outfielder and one relief pitcher.

  • Jake Arrieta has been shut down for the remainder of the 2019 season, and will undergo surgery later this month to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. The Phillies expect Arrieta to be ready by spring training 2020.
  • Roman Quinn, who exited Friday's series opener early, has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right groin strain. As a corresponding move, recently acquired relief pitcher RHP Jared Hughes has been added to the 25-man roster.
  • David Robertson had Tommy John surgery on Thursday, and is expected to miss the next 14-16 months, meaning the entire 2020 season. The Phillies signed the long-time New York Yankees reliever to a two-year, $23 million deal this past offseason; they will get just 6 2/3 innings from Robertson over that contract.

Arrieta and Robertson join a long list of Phillies players not expected to return to action in 2019, joining Tommy Hunter, Adam Morgan, Victor Arano, Odubel Herrera and Andrew McCutchen, among possibly a few others.


Eflin Rejoins Rotation as Phillies Seek Season-High 5th Straight Win

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies (64-58) will play for their season-high fifth straight win in the second of a three-game series Saturday evening against the San Diego Padres (56-65) at Citizens Bank Park.

RELATED | Phillies Power Past Padres, Tied for Second NL Wild Card Spot

Right-hander Zach Eflin will make his first start for the Phillies since July 27, replacing injured RHP Jake Arrieta (bone spur, right elbow). Eflin will oppose RHP Dinelson Lamet, who will make his 29th career start and first at Citizens Bank Park.

In Friday's 8-4 opener victory, the top three spots in the Phillies starting lineup — Roman Quinn, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto — combined for six hits, three home runs (one each), six RBI and five runs scored. Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez (W, 5-7) threw a solid 5 1/3 innings; while two outs shy of a quality start, the right-hander allowed only three runs on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts en route to a winning decision. Recently signed 1B Logan Morrison went 2-for-4 with a single and double in his first start with the Phillies; he filled in for Rhys Hoskins (sore hand), who is back in the lineup on Saturday.

RELATED | Phillies Injury Updates: Arrieta, Quinn, Robertson

Quinn exited the game early due to right groin tightness, and on Saturday was placed on the 10-day injured list; recently acquired RHP Jared Hughes has been added to the 25-man roster as a corresponding move.

With 40 games to go, the Phillies are tied with the Chicago Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot. The Cubs will start southpaw Jon Lester in their Saturday road matinee against the Pittsburgh Pirates and fellow LHP Steven Brault.


Starting Pitching Matchup:

San Diego Padres (56-65) Philadelphia Phillies (64-58)
RHP Dinelson Lamet RHP Zach Eflin
(1-2, 3.86 ERA) (7-11, 4.49 ERA)

Continue reading "Eflin Rejoins Rotation as Phillies Seek Season-High 5th Straight Win" »


Phillies Power Past Padres, Tied for Second NL Wild Card Spot

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies (64-58) have reclaimed a postseason spot.

In addition to defeating the San Diego Padres (56-65), 8-4, in Friday evening's three-game series opener at Citizens Bank Park, the Chicago Cubs lost their fourth straight game — helping the Phillies advance into a tie with them for the second National League Wild Card spot, with 40 games to go.

The top three spots in the Phillies starting lineup order — Roman Quinn, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto — combined for six hits, three home runs (one each), six RBI and five runs scored in the win. Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez (W, 5-7) threw a solid 5 1/3 innings while making his 40th career start at Citizens Bank Park; while two outs shy of a quality start, the right-hander allowed only three runs on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts en route to a winning decision.

The Phillies are now 4-0 with Charlie Manuel as hitting coach.

Continue reading "Phillies Power Past Padres, Tied for Second NL Wild Card Spot" »


Phillies Vie for 4th Straight Win Without Hoskins

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Having won three straight games, the Philadelphia Phillies (63-58) will look to continue their momentum into Friday evening's three-game series opener against the San Diego Padres (56-64) and rookie RHP Chris Paddack (7-5, 3.26 ERA) at Citizens Bank Park.

Paddack will be opposed by Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez (4-7, 4.30 ERA), who owns a perfect 0.00 career ERA and a solid 0.346 career WHIP against the Padres over 17 1/3 innings.

Absent from Friday's lineup will be Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who took a pitch off his hand in the ninth inning of Thursday night's game. Hoskins stayed in the game, and later scored on Bryce Harper's thrilling walk-off grand slam against the Chicago Cubs.

Hoskins, optimistic, had his X-ray results return negative and will be available off the bench. Ten-year veteran Logan Morrison will make his first start at red pinstripes, in Hoskins' place.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

San Diego Padres (56-64) Philadelphia Phillies (63-58)
RHP Chris Paddack RHP Vince Velasquez
(7-5, 3.26 ERA) (4-7, 4.30 ERA)

Continue reading "Phillies Vie for 4th Straight Win Without Hoskins" »


Hitting Season: Phillies Stun Cubs Behind Harper's Walkoff Grand Slam

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

For the first time this season, the Philadelphia Phillies have swept an opponent with a winning percentage greater than .500.

Down 5-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth, and 5-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, a comeback against the Chicago Cubs in Thursday's series finale seemed surely improbable.

But it wasn't.

RBI singles by Corey Dickerson, Brad Miller and Roman Quinn over the two frames all preceded perhaps Bryce Harper's best play thus far of his career: a walkoff grand slam. Down in the count 0-2, fouling two sinkers off, Harper evened the count to 2-2 before launching the game-winning and series-sweep-clinching blast.

"That was sick, WOW. ... I don't even know what to say right now," Harper told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Gregg Murphy after the game. "That was one of the coolest moments that ever happened in my life."

Thanks to their sweep of the Cubs, the Phillies are now tied with the Milwaukee Brewers and sit just one game out of the second National League Wild Card spot.

Continue reading "Hitting Season: Phillies Stun Cubs Behind Harper's Walkoff Grand Slam" »


Phillies, Smyly Search for Sweep of Cubs as Dickerson Returns to Lineup

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies (62-58) will look for their third straight win and a series sweep of the Chicago Cubs (64-56) Thursday evening, as veteran southpaw Drew Smyly makes his third home start in red pinstripes. Smyly will oppose four-time All-Star RHP Yu Darvish. Phillies LF Corey Dickerson (hand) will return to the Phillies' starting lineup in the series finale, batting cleanup; he sat Wednesday after taking a pitch off his left knuckles on Tuesday, avoiding serious injury.

The Phillies offense came alive in their 11-1 win opposite their former 2008 World Series MVP LHP Cole Hamels on Wednesday. Bryce Harper (3-3, 2 HR) and J.T. Realmuto (2-4, 2B, grand slam) led the way, respectively improving their season slash lines to .253/.374/.485 and  .277/.330/.471. While Hamels earned the loss, allowing eight runs through two-plus innings, Phillies current ace RHP Aaron Nola earned his 11th win of the season, yielding just one run through seven innings. 1B Logan Morrison (0-1) made his Phillies debut as a pinch-hitter.

Prior to Thursday''s finale, the Phillies transferred RHP Edubray Ramos (right shoulder) from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list, and claimed RHP Jared Hughes off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. Hughes, 34, posted a 1.94 ERA and 1.017 WHIP spanning 72 appearances last season; in 2019, he has logged a 4.10 ERA and 1.241 WHIP over 47 appearances. Ramos will not be eligible to return until mid-September, although he could be out the rest of the season.


Starting Pitching Matchup:

Chicago Cubs (64-56) Philadelphia Phillies (62-58)
RHP Yu Darvish LHP Drew Smyly
(4-6, 4.43 ERA) (2-6, 6.96 ERA)

Continue reading "Phillies, Smyly Search for Sweep of Cubs as Dickerson Returns to Lineup" »


Charlie Manuel Returns to Phillies Coaching Staff as Hitting Coach

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

For the first time since being let go as manager in August 2013, the Philadelphia Phillies' all-time winningest manager Charlie Manuel has returned to the coaching staff.

Manuel has replaced John Mallee as hitting coach, as first reported by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

The Phillies released the following press release:

"The Phillies have relieved hitting coach John Mallee of his duties, the club announced today. Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been named the team's hitting coach. Manuel, who currently works as senior advisor to the general manager, will assume the position for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Previously, Manuel, 75, served as hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians from 1988-89 and 1994-99. From 1994-99, his second tour as hitting coach, Cleveland led the American League in runs three times (1994-95, 1999), led the league in home runs twice (1994-95) and set a franchise record by hitting 220 homers in 1997."

Malle's dismissal may not be the only move from Phillies ownership; according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury, more changes to the staff are "still being discussed."

Currently, the Phillies rank 19th in runs scored, 24th in batting average, and 22nd in OPS.

Mallee was named Phillies hitting coach on Nov. 10, 2017, after previously serving in a similar role for the Chicago Cubs from 2015-17. Under Mallee in 2016, the World Series Champion Cubs ranked second in the majors in OBP (.343) and third in runs scored (808). Also with the Cubs, Mallee coached the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year and 2016 NL MVP (Kris Bryant), and guided both Anthony Rizzo and current-Phillie Jake Arrieta to NL Silver Slugger Awards in 2016.

Malle was also hitting coach for the Florida/Miami Marlins in 2010-11, and the Houston Astros in 2013-14. From 2002-10, he worked as minor league hitting coordinator for the Marlins, before being promoted to interim major league hitting coach in June 2010. The Phillies selected Mallee in the 12th round of the 1991 draft; he went on to play two seasons in the minor league system for Martinsville (1991) and Spartanburg (1992).

Currently, the Phillies sit nine games out of the division (fourth place), and two games out in the National League Wild Card.