Phillies Beat: June 5, 2018
The Philadelphia Phillies wrap up a 10-game road trip with a 3-game series in Chicago with night games Tuesday and Wednesday followed by a classic Wrigley Field matinee on Thursday afternoon. The Phillies entered play on Tuesday night with a record of 31 – 26 (.544, 2.5 GB of the first place Atlanta Braves).
The good: The Phillies are a vastly improved ball club as evidenced by the fact that they are nearly six weeks ahead of last year’s win pace. They did not record their 31st win of the 2017 season until July 18 when they beat the Miami Marlins by a score of 5 – 2 which brought their record to an abysmal 31 – 61 (.337, 25.5 GB). The Phils are 19 – 9 (.679) at home, 9 – 5 (.643) in 1-run games and 4 – 1 (.800) in extra-inning contests. And, their 15 wins in both April (15 – 10) and May (15 – 11) marked the first time that the Phillies have had back-to-back months of 15+ wins since August (17) and September (18) of 2012 when they finished 81 – 81 under Charlie Manuel.
The bad: The Phils are ridiculously streaky. Included in their 31 wins are: a 6-game winning streak (their current season long), a stretch where they won 9 of 12 and another stretch where they won 7 of 10. But, on the flip side, they have had a 4-game losing streak (in the middle of a stretch were they lost 6 of 10) and two 3-game losing streaks. They are 12 – 17 (.414) on the road and 10 – 15 (.400) in the highly competitive National League East – where four out of the five teams are separated by just six games.
Offense Silent in San Francisco
The Philadelphia Phillies needed a PITCHER to bail them out of a 22 inning scoring drought. 🤦♂️#Phillies | #JakeArrieta | #RingTheBell | #BeBold
After starting the aforementioned 10-game road trip by splitting a 4-game series in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, the Phillies traveled north to San Francisco for a weekend series with the Giants. Unfortunately, it appears that the left their bats in Southern California. After scoring 16 runs in four games in LA, the Phillies scored one, yes one, run in their 3-game series by the bay. In the process, the Phils wasted strong efforts on the mound on Saturday night by Vince Velasquez (1 ER in 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 Ks) and Sunday afternoon by Jake Arrieta, who took a 2-hit shutout into the sixth inning before, while leading 1 – 0, the wheels came off. After Arrieta struck out Mac Williamson to open the inning, Gorkys Hernandez and pinch-hitter Alen Hanson both singled. Joe Panik then singled to score Hernandez with the tying run. Buster Posey singled to drive in Hanson with the go-ahead run before Andrew McCutchen hit a towering 3-run homer just inside the right field foul pole. Arrieta was especially frustrated following the game, as he was quoted by MLB.com as saying “Overall, it was really just a horseshit series. Really bad. Hopefully we can do something on our off-day to get us back in the right mindset to play a good team at Wrigley Field” (Chicago Cubs). Given that an Arrieta solo home run on Sunday was the only offense the Phils could muster in San Francisco, his frustration is easily understandable.
Welcome to the Gun Show
Jorge Alfaro CS in third registered at 89.1 mph
Hardest CS throws by catchers in 2018, according to @statcast 1. 91.3 mph – Alfaro, 5/13 vs. NYM
2. 89.6 mph – Alfaro, 4/30 vs. MIA
3. 89.3 mph – Alfaro, 5/23 vs. ATL
4. 89.1 mph – Alfaro, TONIGHT
5. 88.3 mph – Alfaro, 5/21 vs. ATL
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 26, 2018
Welcome to “The Show,” Jorge Alfaro! In addition to being the Phillies leading hitter (.313) over the past month, Alfaro is quickly gaining a reputation as having one of strongest arms behind the plate in Major League Baseball. After throwing out only 5 of 18 (28%) base stealers in limited action during limited action across the 2016 and 2017 seasons, “El Oso” (Spanish for “The Bear”) has thrown out 11 of 32 base stealers (34%) in 2018, including 9 out of the last 12. According to @statcast, his throws this season have averaged 89.8 MPH. Second best is Gary Sanchez of the Yankees at 87.8, a full 2 MPH slower. He also has the five fastest throws from behind the plate in MLB this season.
The Phillies return home on Friday for a 6-game homestand that includes three games this weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers and three next week against the Colorado Rockies. It will be the first time that the Phils have seen either foe this season. This weekend’s series vs. the Brewers will celebrate the Phillies 1993 NL pennant-winning team. Courtesy of Phillies.com:
Fans have an opportunity to relive that beloved version of the Phillies during the upcoming Retro Weekend, with a weekend-long celebration planned for all three games against the Brewers. Those who make the trip to the ballpark can expect promotions and tributes that recall the beloved 1993 pennant run, from photo opportunities with members of the team to retro-themed Phanavision features.
On Friday, a 7:05 p.m. ET game opens the weekend with 1990s Retro Night. Fans are encouraged to wear ’90s gear and take a stroll through Ashburn Alley, where the band SideArm will play a live set of throwback tunes.
Before the 1:05 p.m. game on Saturday, fans should look for photo opportunities with members of the 1993 team around Citizens Bank Park.
Saturday’s festivities will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of another 1993 baseball memory: “The Sandlot.” Fans who purchase tickets through a special offer will receive a Phillies Ham Porter bobblehead. A portion of those proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. Plus, actors from the original movie will be on hand to join the celebration.
All of this leads up to Sunday, when the 1:35 p.m. series finale doubles as both Chevrolet Father’s Appreciation Day — which includes a John Kruk 1990s batting-practice pullover, available for free to men ages 15 and over — as well as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the ’93 team. Fans are encouraged to be in their seat by 1 p.m. for a pregame salute to the ’93 NL-champion Phillies.