Monday, July 27, 2020

Series Preview: Phillies vs. Yankees

On Monday the Phillies will open up a home-and-home four-game series against the Yankees, with the first pair taking place in Philadelphia and the last pair happening in New York City.

After dropping two of three in their season opening series against the Marlins, the Phils look to bounce back and get on the winning track.  

New Phillies skipper Joe Girardi managed the Yankees for a decade, winning a World Series title against the Phils in 2009. 

Two days shy of the 10-year anniversary of the day the Phillies traded him to Houston in the Roy Oswalt deal, J.A. Happ will start the series opener against veteran Jake Arrieta. 

Read ahead for breakdowns of the pitching match ups and other key stats from this series.

Monday 7/27, 7:05PM.  LHP J.A. Happ (12-8, 4.91 ERA in 2019) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.64 ERA in 2019).  In 30 career appearances at Citizens Bank Park, the 37-year-old Happ sports a 3.87 ERA.  In his career against Happ, Andrew McCutchen is 12-for-28 (.429 avg) with four home runs.  Happ was the Phils' 3rd round draft choice in 2004.  In 11 home starts last year, Arrieta posted a 5-3 record with a 4.36 ERA.  In nine career appearances against the Yankees, Arrieta has notched a 3-2 record with a 3.98 ERA.  Giancarlo Stanton is 3-for-14 (.214 avg) with a homer in his career against Arrieta. 

Tuesday 7/28, 6:05PM.  RHP Gerrit Cole (1-0, 1.80 ERA this season) vs. RHP Zach Eflin (10-13, 4.13 ERA in 2019).  In seven starts facing the Phillies, Cole's got a 4-3 record, a 3.38 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.  Cole has a 5.40 ERA in three career starts at Citizens Bank Park.  J.T. Realmuto is 10-for-14 (.714 avg) with a home run in his career against Cole.  Eflin went 6-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 15 home appearances last year.  In his lone career start against the Yankees, Eflin tossed seven scoreless frames. 

Wednesday 7/29, 7:05PM.  RHP Aaron Nola (0-1, 6.75 ERA this season) vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 6.75 ERA in two MLB appearances last year).  Montgomery was the Yankees' 4th round draft selection in 2014.  In 19 career appearances at Yankee Stadium, Montgomery sports a 7-3 record with a 3.45 ERA.  Nola has not faced the Yankees to date in his career.  In 15 road appearances last season, Nola posted a 6-5 record with a 5.19 ERA. Giancarlo Stanton is 4-for-11 with a double and two home runs in his career against Nola. 

Thursday 7/30, 7:05PM.  RHP Zack Wheeler (1-0, 1.29 ERA this year) vs. LHP James Paxton (0-1, 27.00 ERA this year).  In a pair of starts against the Yankees last season, Wheeler was 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA.  Wheeler has allowed 10 earned runs in nine innings pitched at Yankee Stadium.  Paxton is 0-2 with a 3.27 ERA in a pair of starts against the Phils.  In 15 starts at Yankee Stadium last season, Paxton notched a 7-3 record with a 3.35 ERA and an 11.2 K/9 mark. 

In 37 games at Yankee Stadium last season, Didi Gregorius posted a .196 batting average.  Gregorius is 2-for-20 (.100 avg) in his career against Happ.

First baseman Rhys Hoskins batted .208 in 80 road games last season.  Hoskins is 2-for-12 with a homer in three career games against the Yankees.

In 24 career games against the Yankees OF Jay Bruce has a .103 batting average with a home run.  Bruce has a .098 average in 14 games at Yankee Stadium.  

In 201 career games at Yankee Stadium, slugger Aaron Judge has a .315/.433/.647 slash line.  

Friday, July 24, 2020

Series Preview: Marlins at Phillies, July 24-26

Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd
At long last, it is Opening Day for the Phillies.  The delayed season, a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, gets underway for the Phils and Marlins on Friday, as the two teams open a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

Entering the 2020 campaign with new manager Joe Girardi at the helm, the Phillies hope this is the year they can return to the postseason for the first time since 2011 after under-performing and faltering down the stretch in each of the past two seasons.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced arrangements for an expanded playoff format this year, increasing the amount of post-season teams from 10 to 16.

Coming off back-to-back last place finishes in the National League East division, Miami looks to surprise many and contend for one of those spots.  The Marlins lost 105 games last year.

Read ahead for specifics on the pitching match ups and more from this series. 


Friday, 7/24/20...7:05PM.  RHP Sandy Alcantara (6-14, 3.88 ERA in 2019) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (12-7, 3.87 ERA in 2019). The 24-year-old Miami starter had a 2-0 record with a 1.32 ERA in a pair of starts at Citizens Bank Park last season.  In four career starts against the Phils, Alcantara has a .130 batting average against.  In 13 career starts against the Marlins, Nola sports a 3-6 record with a 3.28 ERA.  Nola possesses a 3.03 ERA and a 10.5 K/9 mark in 65 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park.  This will mark Nola's third straight Opening Day start.  Friday's game will reportedly feature a pregame ceremony in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.  


Saturday, 7/25/20...4:05PM. LHP Caleb Smith (10-11, 4.52 ERA in 2019) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (11-8, 3.96 ERA for the Mets last year).  Smith, who will turn 29 years old next week, had a 5.40 ERA in 15 road starts last season.  In four career starts facing the Phils, Smith has a 1-2 record with a 4.50 ERA.  In 14 career starts against Miami, the 30-year-old Wheeler's got a 1.91 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.  Originally, a 1st round pick (6th overall) of San Francisco in 2009, Wheeler was traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran in 2011 and signed with the Phils as a free agent over this past off-season.


Sunday, 7/26/20...1:05PM.RHP Jose Urena (4-10, 5.21 ERA in 2019) vs. RHP Vince Velasquez (7-8, 4.91 ERA in 2019).  Urena, 28, notched a 1.81 ERA in three appearances against the Phillies last year.  Urena sports a 5.79 ERA in nine career outings against the Phils.  Jay Bruce is 5-for-16 (.313 avg) with a double, two homers and six RBI in his career against Uerana.  Velasquez, 28, had a 4.61 ERA in 11 home outings last season.  In five appearances against the Marlins in 2019, Velasquez notched a 7.06 ERA.  In 46 career games at CBP Velasquez holds a 13-15 record with a 4.60 ERA.

Colombian catcher and former Phillie Jorge Alfaro tallied a .262/.312/.425 slash line last year in his first full season with the Marlins, following a trade that sent JT Realmuto to the Phils.  In 10 career games against the Phillies, Alfaro sports a .432 average with three home runs.

Former Phillies prospect Jonathan Villar has a .246 average with four home runs and 11 RBI in 18 career games facing the Phils.  It has been nearly ten years since Villar was traded to Houston along with J.A. Happ and Anthony Gose for Roy Oswalt.

In 81 home games last year, outfielder Bryce Harper posted a .264 batting average with 20 home runs and 63 RBI.  Harper is a .293 hitter with 28 homers and 92 RBI in 131 career games facing the Marlins.

First baseman Rhys Hoskins performed much better against lefties (.980 OPS) than he did against righties (.764 OPS) last season.  Hoskins, the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2014, has enjoyed success against the Marlins in his career, as he's tallied a 1.024 OPS in 48 games against them.

Infielder Jean Segura may be considered day to day to start the season, after being hit by a pitch in the left hand in an exhibition game this week.  Segura has a .348 batting average against the Marlins for his career. 

The Phillies (.246) and Marlins (.241) ranked 22nd and 26th in the big leagues respectively in team batting average last season. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Patreon Exclusive: Logan O'Hoppe answers Nine Silly-ass Questions

Logan O'Hoppe, image- Jay Floyd
Phillies catching prospect Logan O'Hoppe was the subject of a recent player feature I posted here three days early.  When I talked with Logan, he was kind enough to not only chat about some serious baseball related topics, he also had some fun with me and answered Nine Silly-Ass Questions!

In this interview, the 20-year-old, who was an All-Star with Class A short-season Williamsport last year, offered his thoughts on his experiences playing in Australia last off-season, super powers, some surprising movies he's never seen, teammate Albertus Barber and plenty more.  Read ahead for some excerpts from this Silly-ass interview...

-You can 4-for-4 and your team loses, or you can get hit in the groin and your team wins...which do you choose?

I mean, if we win, then the whole team has a good night, so I have to go with that one.  That really benefits everybody.

-Tell me, if you can, four words to describe Albertus Barber.

One,  I'd say electric.  He's smart...he's super knowledgeable at what he  does.  So, electric, smart and crazy, for the ones that know his pregame  routines.  And the last one I'd say caring.  I haven't met many people  that want to help and be there for others like he does, so I'd say those  are the four words that I've got for him.

For the complete version of this interview, plus loads more exclusive content, head on over to my Patreon page (Patreon.com/PhoulBallz) and support my work for just $5 per month.  You'll get exclusive content plus early access to news and other features!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

OF Pujols among trio of minor leaguers released by Phillies

Jose Pujols, image- Jay Floyd
It was announced that the Phillies released outfield prospect Jose Pujols along with two minor league pitchers on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old righty hitting Dominican missed all of the 2019 regular season following a reported Achilles tendon injury.

Pujols made a name for himself during his first campaign in full-season Class A in 2016,  when he set Lakewood's single season home run record at the time, at that time, with a mark of 24. Overall in 128 games in the South Atlantic League that year, Pujols tallied a .241 batting average with 82 runs batted in.

In six minor league seasons, the six-foot-three 180-pounder notched a .238/.304/.406 slash line. 

The father of two posted a message about the release on his Instagram account on Wednesday night.  An image of that statement is embedded below.



Two more natives of the Dominican Republic were also cut from the Phils organization, as it's been reported that right-handed pitcher Oscar Marcelino and left-handed hurler Jose Jimenez have been released as well.

Marcelino, 23, split his 2019 season with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater.  In 32 combined relief appearances last year, Marcelino posted a 3-2 record with two saves, a 5.83 ERA and a .279 batting average against.

The 22-year-old Jimenez pitched with short-season Class A Williamsport last year.  In 17 relief outings he sported a 2-1 record with a 3.71 ERA with an 11.1 K/9 mark. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Catching prospect O'Hoppe tabbed to join Phillies

Logan O'Hoppe, image- Jay Floyd
Please consider supporting my work and via my Patreon page.  For a small monthly fee, your patronage will get you exclusive interviews and other prospect related material as well as early access to all of my other content such as this feature.  Thank you. 

On Friday, the Phillies added a pair of catchers to their 2020 player pool.  Minor leaguers Logan O'Hoppe (pronounced Oh-HOP-ee) and Henri Lartigue arrived in Philadelphia to help catch bullpen sessions for the team's collection of approximately 30 pitchers.

The call to O'Hoppe was extremely welcome as the 20-year-old had been staying as active as he possibly could, working out with other players that have been been waiting out quarantine due to the current pandemic at his home on Long Island.  However, he had been very eager to step back onto an actual baseball field.

"I just hope I can play soon.  Where ever that is or whatever form that is, that'd be awesome," O'Hoppe said in an interview last week, prior to being added to the Phillies' roster.

O'Hoppe's residence in Sayville, NY became sort of a destination for local hurlers looking to get their work in.  Phils prospects like Kyle Young and Nick Fanti, also residents of Long Island, would spend time with their local backstop.  Plenty of the work took place in O'Hoppe's back yard, which features a netted tunnel built by Logan's father Mike roughly a decade ago that's suitable for pitching practice, but is likely more recognizable as a batting cage.  The length of the passage, though, at just 55 feet, isn't ideal for hitting.
 
One out-of-state resident also ended up claiming what I will call The O'Hoppe Compound home as Albertus Barber trained there over the past several weeks.  O'Hoppe extended an invitation to the righty hurler after he saw video that Barber posted online of himself getting his pitching work in by throwing at a tree in the parking lot of a hotel he was staying at in Clearwater.  Barber, an Oklahoma native, had stayed in Florida during the initial stages of the Coronavirus shutdown, hoping the organization's facilities would reopen soon after the COVID-19 forced closure.

A 23rd round pick in 2018 out of Saint John the Baptist High School, O'Hoppe has looked very promising during his time in the minors.  He has tallied a .277/.326/.458 slash line in 79 affiliated pro games to date.  O'Hoppe also competed in the Australian Baseball League over last off-season, where he sported a .258 with five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 28 games for Adelaide.

O'Hoppe had been looking forward to playing full-season ball for the first time this year.  He likely would have been slotted as a backstop for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, where he would have played under new Phillies organization hire Chris Adamson.  The skipper, known to his players as Tank, managed O'Hoppe's Giants club in the ABL.

"He is an unbelievable human being and an unbelievable brain to be around and it's something that I didn't take for grated this year, because he is a special dude," O'Hoppe stated.  "From catching stuff to life stuff to just the approach on how you go about your day, all of that, he's super knowledgeable and super invested in us."

Described by teammates as a guy that has a baseball-only focus, the six-foot-two 185-pound righty batter stays fixated on climbing the developmental ladder and improving his game and that of those around him.

Dealing with the monotony of being at home became challenging for O'Hoppe, who greatly missed being around his teammates and coaches as well as the constantly changing landscape of road trips, bus rides and hotels.

"That's the part I miss most, the part that people say is the hardest part of the minor leagues," O'Hoppe said.

Well, he's now officially back on the professional athlete grind, despite being assigned to just the Philadelphia region without travel.  I presume it would be a safe guess that O'Hoppe welcomes this new stay-at-home assignment over his previous one.


More notes- 

Reliever Anthony Swarzak was also added to the Phillies' eligible player pool.  The right-hander struck out eight, walked one and surrendered three homers in five innings of work earlier this year in spring training.  The 34-year-old sports a 4.32 ERA in 10 big league seasons.

Lartigue, 25, was a 7th round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Mississippi.  In four pro seasons, the switch-hitter is a .220 hitter with 23 RBI and 130 RBI.  He played last season with Double-A Reading. 

**This piece was updated to reflect the proper town name and location of "The O'Hoppe Compound".

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Phillies schedule has been unveiled


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 MLB season has been reduced to just 60 games.  At long last, the abbreviated regular season schedule was announced on Monday and features the Phillies hosting the Marlins on Friday, July 24th, in those two clubs' opening day.

Games are expected to be played without fans in attendance, but each of the Phils' scheduled contests will be televised.  Specifics on which channels or networks will carry each game is slated to be announced at a later date.

Per MLB.com here's a break down of the Phillies' schedule:

National League East
Braves (10): seven at home, three on the road
Marlins (10): three at home, seven on the road
Mets (10): six at home, four on the road
Nationals (10): four at home, six on the road
American League East
Blue Jays (6): three at home, three on the road
Orioles (3): all at home
Rays (3): all on the road
Red Sox (4): two at home, two on the road
Yankees (4): two at home, two on the road

MLB action will get underway on Thursday, July 23rd with national broadcasts on ESPN
with a Yankees vs. Nationals match up and a Giants vs. Dodgers night cap.  There are MLB odds available here for those two games and although odds for Phillies' first game are not there yet, they should be updated soon as it gets closer to the 24th.

In the abbreviated 2020 schedule, each team is set to play 60 contests against teams in their own division as well as the corresponding division in the other league.  This means the Phillies are to play each of their rivals in the National League East division along with the teams in the American League East.

Local fans can expect to see the Phillies on national TV four times...Sunday, August 23rd against the Braves on ESPN, Thursday, August 27th against the Nats on FOX, Saturday, August 29th facing the Braves on FOX and Sunday August 30th versus the Braves in ESPN.