Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (8-9) at Boston Red Sox (6-17)

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Phillies travel up north to the legendary Fenway Park to play the first of two games against the struggling Boston Red Sox tonight (7:30). Philadelphia sports fans are hoping that this rendition of Philly vs. Boston goes better than last night’s basketball version.

The Phillies are coming off of a timely, yet unprecedented, sweep of the New York Mets. The suddenly hot Phils may have just saved their season this past weekend, as they now find themselves in the thick of the expanded playoff race.

The key to their success over the weekend: starting pitching. The one-two punch of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler gave up just two runs over 13 innings pitched combined. The bullpen even pitched better than they had all season, allowing just three runs over the three games set.

If the bullpen keeps pitching like that, look out. Us Philly fans might mess around and have some confidence.

Continue reading "Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (8-9) at Boston Red Sox (6-17)" »

Preview: New York Mets (9-11) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-9) 8/14

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Phillies are reeling as they play host to the New York Mets tonight (7:05) for the first time this season. The Phillies are coming off of an uninspiring effort against the Orioles, having been swept, and have lost five of their last six games. The Mets come in with two consecutive wins, having split their most recent series with the Nationals.

The Phillies bullpen has continued to give up runs in bushels, and the offense has become extremely reliant on its stars. To say that the season looks bleak at this point in time is an understatement.

With only 46 games remaining in their schedule and currently in last place in the NL East standings, the Phillies need to turn it around. Fast.

As of right now, even with the postseason expanding to eight teams in each league, the Phillies own the second worst winning percentage in the NL. They’ve got some catching up to do, and it starts tonight.

Continue reading "Preview: New York Mets (9-11) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-9) 8/14" »

Baltimore Orioles (9-7) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-8) Preview 8/13

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Yet another tough loss to the Orioles last night means the Phils head into Thursday afternoon’s (4:05 p.m.) contest just trying to avoid the sweep. The Phillies have lost four of their last five games.

The most frustrating part about the last two nights has been that the Phillies could have easily won either game. They just capitalize so infrequently on big opportunities.

Rhys Hoskins hit into three double plays all by himself last night. Honestly, that’s so hard to do that I can’t help but be a tad bit impressed. I’ll talk more about Hoskins later.

At this point, we have enough of a sample size to know what the Phillies are. They’re an inconsistent team that, to put it simply, just does not have that it factor you always hear people talk about in sports.

Sure, they have a couple of great individual ball players. But as a whole? There’s just way too many holes in this team for them to overcome if things don’t change drastically, and fast.

Continue reading "Baltimore Orioles (9-7) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-8) Preview 8/13" »

Baltimore Orioles (8-7) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-7) Preview 8/12

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Last night was embarrassing.

There is no other way to put it. The fans are embarrassed. The team is embarrassed. United States Representative Brendan Boyle is embarrassed.

Through 12 games, the Phils have had some rough losses. Last night’s loss however, stings the most. They could have won the game, they should have won the game. The offense did it’s job. To no one’s surprise, the bullpen did not. The defense in the final two innings more resembled the Bad News Bears than a professional baseball team.

Jean Segura had no right to call off Rhys Hoskins for the pop up that ultimately cost the Phillies the game in the ninth, given that they scored in the bottom half of that inning. Roman Quinn dove for a ball that landed a good five feet in front of him, leading to an inside-the-park homer that scored two runs. These are mistakes that 11-year-old AAU teams don’t even make.

Speaking of 11-year-old AAU teams, Matt Klentak might want to reach out to a few teams in the area to check the availability of some of their pitchers. Maybe they could swing a deal for about seven of them. For those of you who think that may be too harsh, just know that the Phillies bullpen literally cannot get any worse.

Not one Phillies relief pitcher has an ERA under eight. The bullpen’s ERA as a whole is over ten. Not only is that by far the worst in the league, it is statistically the worst bullpen ever. For reference, Major League Baseball began in 1869, four years after the Civil War ended.

Phillies Lineup vs. Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.91 ERA)

1. Andrew McCutchen LF

2. Rhys Hoskins 1B

3. Bryce Harper RF

4. J.T. Realmuto DH

5. Jean Segura 3B

6. Didi Gregorius SS

7. Phil Gosselin 2B

8. Andrew Knapp C

9. Roman Quinn CF

Orioles left-hander Wade LeBlanc will get the start tonight for the Orioles. The 36-year-old has a career 4.50 ERA, so he can be scored on. The Phillies offense has also seemed to hit better against left-handed pitching this season, so expect a good offensive effort again tonight from the Phils offense.

The Phillies bats were pretty dormant through the first seven innings of last night’s game. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Bryce Harper homered to tie the game and Jean Segura gave the Phils the lead with a titanic shot.

In the bottom of the ninth, once again down two, Didi Gregorius tied the game on a bloop two run single with the bases loaded. Try as the might to tie the game in the tenth, yet another two run deficit was too much to overcome. It was just the second time in Phillies history that the Phils lost despite scoring runs in the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings, according to Doug Kern on Twitter.

Needless to say, the Phillies offense has hardly been the problem of late. They scored 13 runs on Monday night and nine runs last night, more than enough to secure victories in both games. They lost last night’s contest, and nearly imploded with a 12-run ninth inning cushion on Monday.

Bryce Harper has been hotter than fish grease to start the season, as he’s hitting a smooth .324 with a .479 on base percentage, four home runs (one in each of the last two games), and ten RBI’s. J.T. Realmuto was 0-3 last night, but he has had a fantastic start to the season as well. Didi Gregorius has been clutch and consistent, and the DH platoon of Jay Bruce and Phil Gosselin has proved to be advantageous. Who knew Bruce would be wearing his PF Flyers this season?

Now let’s get to the other guys. Last week, I said that McCutchen, Hoskins, Segura, and Kingery needed to get going for this offense to be successful.

Segura has started to turn it around with home runs in each of the last two games. Therefore, it’s an easy choice to keep him in the lineup. Just remind him that pop-ups on the first base side of the infield are balls he should not be catching, and he’ll be okay.

It’s time to move McCutchen and Hoskins down in the lineup. They both had hits last night, but in watching their at-bats it is clear that neither one of them are seeing the baseball well. The only reason I say keep them in the lineup instead of an outright benching is because both these guys still find ways to get on base via the walk. They're skating on thin ice.

As much as I want to root for the young man, it was time to take Scott Kingery out of the lineup. He looks so uncomfortable at the plate and has just four hits in 40 at-bats. It was about time to put Phil Gosselin in the everyday lineup until he stops swinging a hot bat. Gosselin is a seamless fit at second base, as he has 98 career games at the position and will get the start there tonight. He is my choice to bat leadoff or in the two hole in place of McCutchen or Hoskins. He’s earned it.

Whether Gosselin starting over Kingery tonight is just a one night thing remains to be seen. Regardless of what the future holds, props to Joe Girardi for making this decision today. If Goose hits tonight the way he has all season, I don’t see a way Girardi can justify putting Kingery back in the lineup.

Orioles Lineup vs. Zach Eflin (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

1. Hanser Alberto 2B

2. Anthony Santander RF

3. Jose Iglesias SS

4. Rio Ruiz 3B

5. Renato Nunez DH

6. Dwight Smith LF

7. Austin Hays CF

8. Chris Davis 1B

9. Chance Sisco C

The Orioles had their second best offensive output of the season last night. They managed to muster up three runs against Zack Wheeler, all coming in the sixth inning. They went on to score seven runs in the final 4.1 innings against the Phillies bullpen. Four of those runs were scored due to atrocious fielding by the Phillies, but I’ve ranted about that enough.

Zach Eflin gets the start tonight for the Phils. In his last, and only, start of the season he pitched four innings and gave up only four hits to go along with five punch-outs. He surrendered two unearned runs. Last week, I said that what the Phillies really need from Eflin is consistency. They don’t need him to be an ace, they need him to be a guy who won’t implode and can get through five or six innings while limiting damage. His first start was a good place to begin.

The better Eflin pitches, the longer he stays in the game. The longer he stays in the game, the less jokers Joe Girardi will be forced to summon from behind the center field wall and on to the mound.

If the Phillies bullpen is called into action before the seventh inning, expect some offensive fireworks for Baltimore.

The Orioles lineup has been extremely under-appreciated through their first 15 games. The top five guys in their lineup are all hitting over .260 (must be nice) and as a team they sport the fourth highest batting average in the league. This is the main reason they are over .500 a quarter of a way through their schedule. The Orioles would find themselves in the expanded postseason if the season ended today.

Second baseman Hanser Alberto has the third highest average in the American League and is tied for second in hits with 24. He is the guy that gets their offense going and I think he is the main guy to watch in this game for the O’s. He collected two hits in six at-bats last night to go along with an RBI.

Another guy to look out for is designated hitter Renato Nunez. He is hitting over .300 and has a team-leading five home runs on the season. He is Baltimore's best power threat by far, and playing in a hitter friendly ballpark like Citizens Bank Park is perfect for him. Nunez went 3-4 last night with two RBI's.

My Prediction

Let me start off by saying that both the Sixers and Flyers also play tonight. It may be in this city’s best interest to watch either of them instead, as I think we all need some space from the Phillies after last night.

That being said, I think the Phils will bounce back tonight. The offense roughs up Wade LeBlanc for five runs in the first five innings, and Eflin puts up six solid frames, allowing three runs. The Phillies turn to their bullpen in the seventh, which ultimately fails them yet again, as they surrender the lead. Not to be discouraged, I think the offense saves the day and continues to hit well against Baltimore’s bullpen.

The Phillies retake the lead in the eighth and Neris holds on in the ninth this time. The Phillies win 7-6, proving once and for all they are the most unpredictable team in Major League Baseball.

Broadcast Information

Time: 7:05 p.m.

TV: COZI TV (Channel 248 on Comcast, 460 on FIOS, and no, I have never heard of this channel in my lifetime either.)

Radio: 94.1 FM WIP & WTTM1680

Online: MLB.TV

Preview: New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies 8/6/2020

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Phillies (2-4) play host to the New York Yankees (9-2) for the final game of a four game set on Thursday night at 6:05 p.m. The Yankees have taken two of three from the Phils, as the two squads split Wednesday’s doubleheader.

While splitting a doubleheader against one of the best teams in baseball may seem like good news on the surface, the Phils squandered a sizable opportunity to sweep the twin bill. I propose that every member of the Phillies bullpen, lineup, and Joe Girardi give Aaron Nola their own handwritten apology for last night’s game.

While both Nola and Zack Wheeler pitched phenomenally in their starts yesterday, I think we’ve all underestimated just how horrid this bullpen is. The Phils ‘pen managed to turn an 11-3 blowout into a save situation for Hector Neris, deeming him “unusable” by Joe Girardi for game two even though he threw just one pitch. In game two, Nola pitched six spectacular innings and left the game with the score tied at one. Then Tommy Hunter came in and didn’t record a single out and gave up two runs.

Don’t worry though, Phillies fans, I have some great news. It’s a home Thursday game, so the Phils will be wearing their stupendous powder blues tonight. So while the bullpen will still let up an astronomical amount of runs tonight, at least they’ll be doing it in style.

They Are Who We Thought They Were

For the sake of driving home a point, here are a thread of tweets that show how unbelievably bad the Phillies bullpen has been.

The worst part about this is what Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia pointed out: there is no real solution in sight. For a team that really only has two legitimate, proven starters, this smells like a disaster waiting to happen that quite frankly, everyone saw coming. Well, except for the people in charge of putting the team together, apparently.

Phillies Lineup vs. Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 1.59 ERA)

1. Andrew McCutchen LF

2. Rhys Hoskins 1B

3. Bryce Harper RF

4. J.T. Realmuto C

5. Phil Gosselin DH

6. Didi Gregorius SS

7. Scott Kingery 2B

8. Neil Walker 3B

9. Roman Quinn CF

Philadelphia will face left hander Jordan Montgomery, who has made just one start so far this season. He gave up only one run to the struggling Red Sox offense over 5.2 innings pitched last Friday night. The 27-year-old Montgomery has 38 career starts and sports a 3.84 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He appeared in just two games last season for New York due to recovery from Tommy John surgery.

The Phillies offense was the best it has looked all season in the first game of yesterday’s double header. The stars shined the brightest, with Harper and Realmuto both hitting home runs and reaching base a combined six times. The offense followed up that breakout performance with a one run, three hit dud. A true Jekyll and Hyde, if you will.

That leads to the question everyone wants an answer for: which offense shows up tonight? Or, better yet, which Phillies offense is the real offense, Jekyll or Hyde? It may be too early to tell, but they have sure leaned more toward their Hyde ego, as they’ve scored three runs or less in three of their six games (all losses). This is extremely frustrating, given how tantalizing their potential is and how much better the offense would be if they could just hit with runners on base.

With a lefty on the mound for New York, the Phils lineup once again skews more right handed. With the left-handed Montgomery on the mound, Philadelphia folk hero Phil Gosselin and his .625 batting average will get the start at DH and bat fifth. If you had told me I'd type that sentence a month ago, I would have laughed in your face.

Furthermore, the lefty on the mound could conceivably lead to some of the righty bats getting going. Andrew McCutchen, Rhys Hoskins, and Scott Kingery have been downright dreadful to open the season. These guys need to get going or this offense is not going to be very good. Much like the assembly of the bullpen, the Phillies really don’t have a lot of good options if these guys don’t turn it around.

Yankees Lineup vs. Zach Eflin (0-0, -.-- ERA)

1. Mike Tauchman RF

2. Luke Voit 1B/p>

3. Aaron Hicks CF

4. Giancarlo Stanton DH

5. Gleyber Torres SS

6. Brett Gardner LF

7. Gio Urshela 3B

8. Gary Sanchez C

9. Tyler Wade 2B

Zach Eflin will look to continue the success that Phillies starters have had in this series. Arrieta, Wheeler, and Nola have combined to surrender just seven runs during the first three games against a potent Yankee offense. As I’ve well documented, the issue in this series has been the Phillies bullpen.

Eflin had an extreme up-and-down season last year, as he started his 2019 season fairly strong, looked awful in the summer months, and finished the season well. The big thing for him in this shortened season will be consistency. The Phillies need him to keep the ball in the park, something he struggled with last season.

Above all else, the organization and the fans just want someone else to trust in this pitching rotation that isn’t named Aaron Nola or Zack Wheeler. Consistency leads to trust, because you know what you're going to get. That can't be said about anyone on this pitching staff other than Nola and Wheeler.

As for the Yankees offense, Aaron Judge and D.J. LeMahieu have continued to smash the baseball. They've combined to go 9-22 in the first three games of this series, including two home runs. It's unclear why Aaron Boone took them out of the lineup tonight, likely just a day off, but the Phillies should be happy that they've dodged two pretty significant bullets. I wouldn't be at all surprised if both of them found themselves in a late-game situation.

As for guys that are actually in the lineup, guys like Luke Voit and Brett Gardner are guys to watch as they've each already left their mark on the series so far. Gardner homered in games one and two, while Voit was responsible for the only Yankee run off of Nola in game three. Another guy to watch is Mike Tauchman, as he had the go-ahead RBI double last night.

My Prediction

I think this game will remain fairly close through the early innings. Eflin and Montgomery match each other in mediocrity, as they each give up four runs through five innings. That’s when the game will be turned over to the bullpens.

As has been the case throughout the series, the Phillies bullpen throws batting practice and the Yankees take advantage of that, while the Phillies look utterly confused at the plate against the Yankees dominant bullpen. LeMahieu comes off the bench and gets a clutch RBI knock, and the avalanche will begin. Meanwhile, the Phils score no more runs once Montgomery leaves the game.

The Phillies lose 8-4, but look sweet doing it.

Preview: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees 8/3/2020

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

It’s been eight days since the Phillies horrid Sunday afternoon loss to the Miami Marlins. Tonight, they will take the field for the first time since that day. After Covid-19 began to ravage the Marlins locker room before and after last Sunday’s contest, the Phillies have been unable to compete for precautionary reasons.

The good news is though, that Phillies baseball is back after two false positive Covid-19 tests. The bad news? They have to play the best and hottest team in baseball right now: The New York Yankees. Playing a team like the Yankees in the midst of a hot streak after not playing for eight days is less than ideal.

While this is not the best case scenario for the Phils, it will be good to have them back knowing that all the players avoided the virus and everyone is healthy.

Oh, and Joe Girardi makes his first return to the Bronx as a manager. Girardi was the Yankees skipper for nine years, guiding New York to six playoff appearances, including a World Series title in 2009 against the Phillies.

Phillies Lineup vs. Gerrit Cole (2-0, 3.09 ERA)

1. Andrew McCutchen LF

2. Rhys Hoskins 1B

3. Bryce Harper RF

4. J.T. Realmuto C

5. Didi Gregorius SS

6. Jean Segura 3B

7. Jay Bruce DH

8. Scott Kingery 2B

9. Adam Hasley CF

After not seeing live pitching for eight straight days, the Phillies have been rewarded with facing one of the best pitchers in baseball: Gerrit Cole. The newly signed Yankees ace has been solid so far after a dominant 2019 season with Houston.

Cole gave up just one hit, one run, and struck out five in his rain shortened victory over Washington on opening day. He then gave up three runs and struck out seven over 6.2 innings pitched as he cruised to his second victory of the year against the uninspiring Orioles.

To say the Phils will have their work cut out for them is an understatement. Even before the mini hiatus, the Phillies offense was on the struggle bus offensively. Through three games against the lowly Marlins, the Phillies were just 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position and left 24 runners on base. Folks, that ain’t good.

Look for the Phils to try and frustrate Cole by doing what they do best: take a bunch of pitches. Rhys Hoskins could annoy Cole all by himself, as he drew eight walks in just three games against Miami.

Also anticipate shortstop Didi Gregorius to continue swinging a hot bat. Didi was one of the lone bright spots offensively in the Phils opening series, as he went 4-11 with two home runs to go along with two walks. Plus, Gregorius will be playing against his former team tonight, and he knows the stadium well. Didi was a sucker for the infamous short right field porch when he wore navy blue pinstripes.

Yankees Lineup vs. Jake Arrieta (0-0, -.-- ERA)

1. D.J. LeMahieu 2B

2. Aaron Judge RF

3. Aaron Hicks CF

4. Giancarlo Stanton DH

5. Mike Ford 1B

6. Gio Urshela 3B

7. Gary Sanchez C

8. Brett Gardner LF

9. Tyler Wade SS

The Yankees offense is hotter than fish grease right now. Through eight games, the Yankees are tied for first in home runs and are first in OPS if you don't include the Phillies and Marlins, who have played just three games. New York lit up the Red Sox pitching staff for 19 runs in three games, including a nine-run output last night.

That's not good news for a Phillies pitching staff that has been...uninspiring, over the past eight years or so. In all seriousness, the handsomely paid Jake Arrieta will take the bump tonight for the first time in 2020. Arrieta had a disappointing, yet predictable 2019 season that saw his ERA balloon to 4.64 as he started just 24 games before undergoing season-ending elbow surgery. The 34 year-old will try to rebound from a rough season against the best offense in baseball. Not exactly the best situation for a first start.

Driving the bus for New York’s offensive assault has been Aaron Judge. The way-too-early MVP front runner has homered in each of the Yankees last five games, and hit two last night. The second blast he hit last night was a titanic shot that gave the Yankees the lead in the eighth inning.

Judge is just a microcosm of the Yankees offensive blueprint. Not a lot of guys in this lineup are going to hit for a high average or try to get on base. Their game plan is to try and hit the ball out of the ballpark. It’s working for them so far, as they have seven wins in their first eight games.

Aaron Boone’s lineup tonight looks a little different than it did during the Red Sox series. The struggling Gleyber Torres gets the day off tonight, as Tyler Wade will start instead of him. Mike Ford, the big left handed hitting first baseman, will get some work in tonight against the right-handed Arrieta.

Meanwhile, guys who are struggling such as left fielder Brett Gardner and catcher Gary Sanchez will get the start tonight despite both guys sporting averages below .100. Facing the Phillies horrid pitching staff may be just what the doctor ordered for the few Yankees that are struggling offensively.

My Prediction

The Yankees offense jumps all over Arrieta early, as he makes it through just four innings. They continue their offensive barrage against the Phillies woeful bullpen. Gerrit Cole dominates the Phillies offense, giving up just one run over seven dominant innings while also recording double digit strikeouts.

Aaron Judge homers for the sixth consecutive game. Rhys Hoskins has a typical Rhys Hoskins game and goes 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and two walks. Gregorius records the Phils lone run, a solo homer in the fifth.

At the end of the day, playing for the first time in eight days against the hottest team on their schedule will be just too much for the Phillies to overcome.

Yankees win, 8-1.

Broadcast Information

Time: 7:05 p.m.


Radio: 94.1 FM WIP, WTTM1680

Online: MLB.TV

Eagles Place Alshon Jeffery on PUP List

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Philadelphia Eagles announced this afternoon that they would place veteran wide receiver Alshon Jeffery on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List.

This move means that Jeffery will not be able to participate in any training camp practices until he is removed from the PUP list. He can be taken off of the list any time before the regular season begins. However, if he remains on the PUP list when the regular season begins, Jeffery must miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

If he were to remain on the PUP list when the regular season begins, the Eagles will have a five-week window to allow Jeffery to begin practice. Once Jeffery begins practicing, the Eagles will have an additional 21-day window where they must decide whether to add him to the active roster.

If Jeffery is not added to the active roster or does not begin practicing within the first six weeks of the season, he will remain on the PUP list for the remainder of the season, rendering him out for the 2020 season.

It is unlikely that Jeffery will miss the entirety of the regular season. I do, however, expect him to begin the regular season on the PUP list.

Jeffery suffered a Lisfranc foot injury in late November. The timetable for recovery for this injury is typically at least nine months. Jeffery appears to be ahead of that time distinction, as head coach Doug Pederson said of Jeffery, “I'm excited with where he’s at.”

After the struggles with wide receiver depth last season down the stretch for the Birds, it is imperative that Jeffery returns when he is fully healthy and stays healthy the rest of the season. With newly acquired receiver Marquise Goodwin announcing he will opt out of the season due to concerns over COVID-19, the Eagles will be starting thin at wide receiver once again.

Jeffery was the subject of trade rumors over the offseason after reportedly causing issues in the locker room coupled with a down season on the field. Jeffery finished 2019 with just 43 receptions, 490 yards receiving and four touchdowns during an inconsistent, frustrating, injury-riddled season.

Previewing the National League East

2020-07-14 15.22.21

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Baseball is finally back. Phillies baseball is finally back. The “this is the year Vince Velasquez finally breaks out” hype train is so back and chugging full steam ahead.

There is going to be a lot to look forward to during this season because everything is so different. Cutouts of fans behind home plate, players sitting in the stands, a game that is known for being a marathon becoming a sprint; this season will truly be one of a kind.

Part of this season’s oddities is the structure of the MLB schedule. The Phillies 60 game season is one of the toughest in baseball. They will be playing 20 games against the always daunting American League East, while their other 40 games will consist of National League East foes.

The NL East projects to be one of, if not the toughest division in baseball this season. The Nationals, Braves, and Mets all finished above .500 last season, with the Nationals winning their first World Series in franchise history. Furthermore, the Phillies struggled mightily against the Marlins last season. The Phillies were actually the only team in the division that the Marlins had a winning record against, as Miami 10-9 against the Phils.

Needless to say, the Phillies will have their work cut out for them in 2020. Let’s further analyze the four other teams in the NL East, and see what is going to make this division so tough.

Continue reading "Previewing the National League East" »

Should The Phillies Trade J.T. Realmuto...And Re-Sign Him?

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Throughout the off-season and now into the summer version of Spring Training, Phillies fans have been vocal about wanting the front office to re-sign catcher J.T. Realmuto.

The Phils swung a trade for the star catcher last off-season in a deal that included one of their most prized prospects, pitcher Sixto Sanchez. In his first season in red pinstripes, Realmuto had the best season of any catcher in all of baseball.

He shined not only in the batter’s box, but behind the dish as well. In 145 games, Realmuto ranked third among qualified catchers in batting average (.275), second in home runs (25), and led all catchers in RBI’s (83), doubles (36), hits (148), and slugging percentage (.493). He did all of this while throwing out 43 runners attempting to steal, which led the league.

The guy who came in second? Yasmani Grandal, who threw out 27 base runners. Realmuto threw out his 27th base runner on July 26th. Really makes you wonder why players kept trying to run on him.

Reportedly, Realmuto is seeking a contract in the $25 million/year range over about five years. According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies are prepared to offer J.T. $23 million over anywhere from 4-6 years.

But what if the Phillies didn’t re-sign him right now?

Continue reading "Should The Phillies Trade J.T. Realmuto...And Re-Sign Him?" »

The 53rd Pick of the NFL Draft: An In-Depth Analysis

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Disclaimer: I wrote most of this article on Saturday morning before rounds 4-7, but I tweaked the analysis to more accurately portray what the Eagles have done since Friday night.

Going into Thursday night, Eagles fans had some high expectations for Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson. After Friday night, I could confidently say that Philadelphia was disappointed, but a productive day three of filling needs with speedy receivers may have changed the fan bases outlook.

Yet, I still think that the Eagles second round pick does deserve a closer look. I think I can safely say that we were all confused. Certainly shocked, at the very least. I can almost guarantee that most Eagles fans were feeling differing levels of anger, too.

Since Roger Goodell read to the world the 53rd overall selection of the NFL Draft, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this decision. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know if I will ever fully understand it. Although the moves made on Saturday did help justify the argument to select a quarterback in the second round a little bit, there are still too many questions left unanswered.

There is still so much that was so confusing about not only the selection itself, but the timing of the selection. This draft choice still needs to be analyzed heavily. There may be more layers to this than you think.

Continue reading "The 53rd Pick of the NFL Draft: An In-Depth Analysis" »