Tagged in: Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper had three pins inserted in fractured left thumb, but he’ll ‘be back’ in lineup this season

Bryce Harper has three pins in his left thumb, a cast on his left hand and an unyielding belief that he will return from injury this campaign to try and lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their first playoff appearance in 11 years.

“I’ll be back,” Harper said.

With those three words, Harper injected the franchise and the fan base with genuine expectations that the reigning NL MVP will play again at some point this season — and with a hope the Phillies will still be in the wild-card hunt when he returns.

Harper declined to put a timetable on when he could he return to the lineup as the feared designated hitter in the middle of the order who led the team on a summer surge and put Philadelphia in the thick of a real pennant race.

“I don’t want to give anybody a timetable because I don’t know,” Harper said. “If I knew a specific date that I’d be back, I’d tell you. I just don’t think it’s fair to anybody. I’ll be back when I’m ready to go.”

Harper was injured last month when he was hit by a 97 mph pitch from San Diego Padres left-hander Blake Snell.

Harper had pins inserted last week and will need them in the thumb for at least another three weeks. He is in a cast and unable to throw or do much of a workout.

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“I don’t want to hope or think about anything,” Harper said. “I just want to go day by day and be back when I can, whenever I feel healthy, whenever that is to help this team win. Granted, if we’re out of it, I’m going to come back and play no matter what, just so I know that I can go out there and play the game. I don’t want that to be my last day playing this year. No matter what the outcome, I’m going to come back and I’ll be playing.”

The 29-year-old Harper, who signed a $330 million, 13-year deal with the Phillies in 2019, is hitting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .985 OPS. Harper talked Tuesday before the Phillies were set to open a three-game set versus Harper’s former team, the Washington Nationals.

Philadelphia is 4-3 in Harper’s absence and entered Tuesday only one game back of the final NL wild-card spot.

“I hate sitting there watching,” Harper said.

Harper had already surrendered his spot in right field earlier this season because of because of a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his throwing elbow. He last played the field at Miami on April 16. Harper did not have a scheduled checkup on the elbow last week because of the surgery but he stated it could happen in another two weeks.

“I’m not going to rush the elbow,” Harper said. “If it feels good, I’m gonna go. I want to play out there, I want to be out there, I want to be helping this team.”

Harper said he did not expect to travel with the Phillies — who have the longest playoff drought in the National League — on an upcoming nine-game road trip that opens Friday in St. Louis and included stops in Toronto and versus the Marlins.

“I don’t really feel the need for me to go anywhere, especially with appointments for the next two weeks with the doctors,” he said. “If I didn’t have those appointments, I’d be going on this road. After the break, I’ll be kind of a little more open to going on the road and travel and get the things done I need to.”

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Diamondbacks a perfect 4-0 against Phillies after 8-7 win

Carson Kelly hit a two run-homer and drove in three runs, Nick Ahmed added a two-run blast and Zac Gallen pitched five strong innings in his first start in his hometown, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to an 8-7 victory over the slumping Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Rojas and Drew Ellis had RBI singles as the Diamondbacks pounded Phillies pitching for 15 hits.

Gallen (2-7), who grew up in nearby Pennsauken, New Jersey, needed 103 pitches to get through five innings. He permitted just three hits and no earned runs while striking out six.

It’s been a long year for Arizona (44-85), but the Diamondbacks have been perfect versus the Phillies this season, winning all four contests, so far. Since 2017, Arizona is 18-5 against Philadelphia, the best record against the Phillies of any team in baseball in that span.

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Jean Segura hit a two-run home run to supply the brunt of offense for the Phillies (62-63), who have lost seven of nine to fall 5½ games behind the idle Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Philadelphia is 4-11 since winning eight in a row and moving into first place earlier this month.

The Phillies tried to mount a comeback by taking advantage of two Arizona errors in the ninth inning. They added unearned runs on a fielder’s choice by Freddy Galvis, two-run double by Bryce Harper, and a two-run single by Didi Gregorius. But Philadelphia couldn’t finish it off as Noe Ramirez struck out Brad Miller with the tying run on base to earn his first save since 2018 when he was with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Diamondbacks jumped all over Phillies starter Matt Moore (2-4), tagging him for four runs and seven hits in just four innings.

Moore was pressed into emergency starting duty after scheduled starter Zach Eflin was scratched just a couple hours before the match with inflammation in his left knee.

Ahmed’s homer was a big blow in the fourth inning, as he crushed a 1-2 fastball from Moore to the deepest part of the ballpark in left centerfield for his fourth homer of the season to make it 4-0.

Kelly’s homer, his 10th of the season, seemed to put the game out of reach in the eighth inning, but turned out to be the game-winning RBI. Kelly also had an RBI single in the sixth inning to restore Arizona’s four-run lead after Segura’s homer an inning earlier.

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Phillies extend winning streak to 4 with 9-5 win over Nats

Rhys Hoskins homered and drove in three runs, Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies extended their winning streak to four matches with a 9-5 triumph over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia is 55-53 and two games over .500 for the first time since July 18, when it was 47-45. The Phillies started the day 1½ games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.

The Phillies erased an early 3-0 deficit and set up a chance for a four-game sweep on Thursday afternoon. Nationals reliever Jefry Rodriguez hit Hoskins with an up-and-in pitch in the top of the seventh. Hoskins motioned to the Phillies’ dugout, then looked at Rodriguez before going to first base.

Gregorius hit a 412-foot home run on the next pitch. Hoskins started yelling at Rodriguez before the ball cleared the fence, prompting Rodriguez to yell back.

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Philadelphia used four doubles to build a four-run fourth inning and take a 4-3 lead. 

Andrew Knapp, Travis Jankowski, Jean Segura, and Hoskins all doubled in the inning. Bryce Harper drove in a run with a single.

Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his 24th of the season.

Luis García and Carter Kieboom hit back-to-back homers against Philadelphia starter Chase Anderson in the second, giving Washington an early three-run lead.

Victor Robles’ first career leadoff homer came on Anderson’s first pitch Wednesday night. The homer was just the second of the season for Robles, a one-time top prospect who struggled in 2020 and is doing so again this season.

The Nationals are using the rest of the season to assess prospects, and also giving the 24-year-old Robles an opportunity to bat leadoff after mostly hitting ninth in his short career.

Anderson pitched three innings, permitted three earned runs on three hits (all homers), walked one, and struck out one.

García also homered in the seventh for his first career multi-homer game.

Matt Moore (1-3) picked up the win in relief. Washington starter Paolo Espino (3-3) allowed six earned in his five innings.

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Miller hits 3 HRs, Phillies rout reeling Cubs 8-0

Brad Miller hit three home runs in a match for the first time in his career, and the Philadelphia Phillies routed the sinking Chicago Cubs 8-0 on Thursday night.

Miller hit a solo drive in the third inning and added two-run homers in the fifth and seventh innings.

With a chance at joining the other 18 players who have hit a record four home runs in a game, Miller popped up in the ninth. He grounded out in his first at-bat.

Manager Joe Girardi wanted to get the left-handed batting Miller, a utility man and pinch-hitting specialist, in the lineup versus Cubs right-handed starter Adbert Alzolay. Miller started at first base while Rhys Hoskins got the night off.

“We just liked the matchup and he came up really big for us,” Girardi said. Miller hadn’t homered since June 6 and began the day with six home runs this season. The 31-year-old infielder broke out with his 14th career multi-homer game and his parents in the stands at Wrigley Field — he now has 104 homers in nine big league seasons.

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“It was really special,” Miller said. “I felt like I was dreaming.”

Miller has been working with the Phillies hitting coaches after a tough June when he had just two hits and walked nine times in 43 plate appearances over 20 games.

“To turn the page and being able to contribute was really nice,” Miller said. “I need to take that mindset in there to do damage and drive the ball.”

And drive the ball Miller did.

“None were cheap shots,” Phillies starter Zach Eflin said. “He crushed all of them.”

Eflin (4-6) settled into pitch six solid innings as the Phillies took three of four games at Wrigley. Didi Gregorius added a two-run shot and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto scored on a double steal.

The Cubs lost for the 12th time in 13 and dropped to 43-45 as they struggled at the plate without injured stars Kris Bryant and Javier Báez.

It was 24th time a Phillies batter hit three homers in a contest and the first since Jayson Werth tagged Toronto for three in May 2008.

Miller homered early to left-center off Alzolay (4-9), who lost his fifth consecutive start.

Cubs manager David Ross said Alzolay’s lack of execution, not lack of stuff did in the righty — especially against Miller.

“A little bit of command issues, especially fastball command from my view,” Ross said.

Miller turned on Alzolay’s 0-2 pitch the next time up for a drive deep down right field line that made it 4-0. Miller launched the first pitch he saw from reliever Cory Abbott in the seventh off Wrigley’s right-field message board.

Eflin scattered five hits while striking out five and walking one.

Chicago couldn’t muster much against Eflin after ending an 11-game losing streak, its longest since 2012, on Wednesday with an 8-3 win. The Cubs were in a first-place tie in the NL Central on June 24 when starter Zach Davies front-ended a combined no-hitter over the Dodgers.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the second when Realmuto plowed home on a double steal.

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Héctor Neris gets the Phillies’ closer role to start the season, Joe Girardi says

The Phillies’ rebuilt bullpen incorporates four new relievers who have experience closing games, but the ninth-inning duties will remain with the same closer from last season’s historically poor unit.

Manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday that Héctor Neris, the team’s primary closer for the last three seasons, will again handle the ninth. Archie Bradley and José Alvarado will be used in setup roles while other newcomers Sam Coonrod and Brandon Kintzler will be utilized when needed.

Neris had a 4.57 ERA in 24 appearances last campaign, converting five of his eight save chances. His production dipped last summer, but Neris’ strikeout rate (11.2 per nine innings), contact rate (61.4%), swing rate (66.2%), and hard-hit rate (39.7%) were similar to his marks in 2019 when he finished with a 2.93 ERA and 28 saves.

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There is an argument that Neris’ biggest detriment last season was bad luck as his batting average on balls in play was .381, the 14th highest among all relievers and 59% higher than it was in 2019.

More balls seemed to fall in last season against Neris, whose FIP — a stat that is similar to ERA but removes the results on balls hit into play — was the 22nd-best among relievers and two runs lower than his ERA.

The Phillies will give Neris the opportunity to show that he’s more the pitcher he was in 2019 than the one who never seemed to find his footing in last year’s truncated season. But if Neris stumbles, there are options waiting to take the ninth inning.

“Héctor’s been a successful closer, Archie’s been a successful closer. I know Alvarado can close and Kintzler’s been a successful closer,” Girardi said.

“I know they can all do it. I just decided to go with Héctor. He’s done it, he’s done it in this town, and I like the way he’s throwing the baseball.”

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Philadelphia Phillies to retire Dick Allen’s No.15 next month

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies informed that they will retire No. 15 in honor of Dick Allen. The Phillies will host a ceremony honoring Allen on Sept. 3 — the 57th anniversary of Allen’s MLB debut — prior to their game versus the Nationals.

The Phillies also said that they will honor Allen during the 2021 season, when presumably fans will be permitted in attendance. 

“Dick Allen burst onto the 1964 Phillies and immediately established himself as a superstar,” Phillies owner John Middleton said in a press release.

“His legendary performance on the field gave millions of fans lasting memories, and he helped cement my love for baseball and the Phillies as a young boy.

The Phillies organization is thrilled to give Dick and his family this honor that recognizes his Hall of Fame-worthy career and his legacy as one of the greatest Phillies of all time.”

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Allen is the first non-Hall of Famer in Phillies history to have his number retired.

In 2014, Allen was a candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame via the Golden Era Committee. He fell one vote shy of the required 12 votes needed for election into the Hall. He will join Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn (1), Jim Bunning (14), Mike Schmidt (20), Steve Carlton (32), Roy Halladay (34) and Robin Roberts (36) as the only Phillies in team history to have their numbers retired.

Allen, who spent 15 years in MLB, is known for the impressive power numbers he accomplished while playing during a pitcher-dominated era in baseball.

The seven-time All Star, who played the two corner infield spots and left field, and also spent time playing for the Cardinals, Dodgers, White Sox and Athletics. In his nine campaigns with the Phillies (1963-77), he batted .290 with 204 doubles, 204 home runs, 655 RBI, a .371 on-base percentage and a .530 slugging percentage (.902 OPS) in 1,070 games.

The 1964 National League Rookie of the Year owns the second-best slugging percentage in Phillies history, behind only Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (.553).

Allen also led the league in OPS four times in his career, including twice with the Phillies in 1966 (1.027) and 1967 (.970).

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