Philadelphia Phillies Philes Vol 1.24: Smyles and frowns

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

It’s all *smyles* for Drew despite another week of frowns. Plus, the Eagles receive a special honor in this 24th edition of Philadelphia Phillies Philes.

Leading off

Drew Smyly shut down the New York Mets last night, fueling the Philadelphia Phillies to a much-needed win snapping the Phillies’ three-game losing skid. He tossed seven innings of scoreless baseball, picking up his third win in a Phillies uniform.

The biggest opportunity for the Mets came in the first, where – with the bases loaded – Todd Frazier hit a two-out liner in the gap that was flagged down nicely by Adam Haseley, in for the recovering Bryce Harper.

Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.80 ERA) takes the hill in this afternoon’s rubber match and will be opposed by the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 3.97 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM.

A “Who’s Who” of garbage

There was a lot of unjust criticism of Gabe Kapler for putting journeyman reliever Nick Vincent into high-leverage situations during consecutive games this week, with each ending in a walk-off loss for the Phillies. Vincent, who joined the team from Triple-A just last week, has a career 3.38 ERA in 364 and two-thirds innings pitched.

Despite popular opinion, this wasn’t poor managing by Kapler. Yes, Vincent may have been with Lehigh Valley, but he’s an experienced big-league pitcher which is more than can be said for any of the other remaining options.

Cole Irvin? Austin Davis? Edgar Garcia?

It’s easy to second guess in hindsight, but when you’re working with limited talent, how can you expect anything different? And though the Phillies have been besieged with bullpen injuries, the lack of quality pitching depth simply exposes the bigger issue: a continuous organizational failure to assess prospects and develop its own.

Most Valuable Phillie Power Rankings – Top 15 (through 9/7/2019):

  1. J.T. Realmuto (C) – Previous Rank: 1 (↔)
  2. Aaron Nola (SP) – Previous Rank: 2 (↔)
  3. Bryce Harper (OF) – Previous Rank: 3 (↔)
  4. Hector Neris (RP) – Previous Rank: 4 (↔)
  5. Jean Segura (SS) – Previous Rank: 5 (↔)
  6. Cesar Hernandez (2B) – Previous Rank: 7 (↑ 1)
  7. Rhys Hoskins (1B) – Previous Rank: 6 (↓ 1)
  8. Scott Kingery (OF/INF) – Previous Rank: 8 (↔)
  9. Jason Vargas (SP) – Previous Rank: 11 (↑ 2)
  10. Corey Dickerson (OF) – Previous Rank: 14 (↑ 4)
  11. Mike Morin (RP) – Previous Rank: 9 (↓ 2)
  12. Vince Velasquez (SP) – Previous Rank: 10 (↓ 2)
  13. Jose Alvarez (RP) – Previous Rank: 12 (↑ 1)
  14. Ranger Suarez (RP) – Previous Rank: N/A (↑)
  15. Zach Eflin (SP) – Previous Rank: 15 (↔)

“Ring the Bell” Award Winner of the Week

As the Philadelphia Phillies continue to flail in a sea of mediocrity, thankfully their football counterparts take the field today to kick off the season in what looks to be an exciting ride. Carson Wentz is poised for a big year with an abundance of weapons, and how thrilling will it be to see D-Jax, DeSean Jackson, soaring down the field in midnight green once again!

Perhaps the Phillies can learn a thing or two about winning from the Eagles, as Doug Pederson, Howie Roseman and the entire 2019 Birds’ take home this week’s honor.

Fly, Eagles, Fly!

Phillie Pholly of the Week

Sometimes it feels like I’m on repeat when venting certain frustrations with this Phillies team. And essentially I am, which speaks to a larger problem concerning the organization as a whole.

In Friday’s loss to the Mets, the Phillies went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The game prior – a 4-3 loss to the Reds in 11 innings – the team went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, all of which reiterates their ineptitude for manufacturing runs.

Gabe Kapler even acknowledged as much on Thursday, admitting in his post-game press conference that he was managing for a solo home run:

"“The whole game was kind of designed to potentially come down to Jay Bruce and Logan Morrison based on the work that they did last night [referring to their pinch-hit home runs the game prior]. We had to score a run to win the game. How can we score one run? The best way to do it is quickly. We wanted to use our best pinch-hitter.”"

Whether this is a Gabe Kapler philosophy or an organizational approach, I’m not sure, but it’s extremely alarming and completely indicative of their mediocre spot in the standings.

Winning teams produce runs and do so in a variety of ways: working walks, stealing bases, sacrificing runners over, stringing together some hits, which – aside from walking – the Phillies do not do. If the Phillies are down by four runs, their best chance for a “rally” is stringing together consecutive solo homers. This approach will never win championships, and it’s – in part – why the team remains stuck in the doldrums of mediocrity and on the verge of irrelevance.

As with their lack of quality relievers mentioned earlier (and starters, for that matter), it’s a direct result of poor talent evaluation and an inability to develop quality big-league contributors. And the organization only has themselves to blame.

Phillies Phlashback

More from Philadelphia Phillies

The date was Tuesday, September 9th, 1997. The Phillies were in New York to take on the Mets at Shea Stadium for an evening affair. Sad news hit the Phillies family earlier in the day as Hall of Fame outfielder and broadcaster at the time, Richie Ashburn, died unexpectedly of a heart attack while at the team hotel in Manhattan. He was 70-years-old.

Ashburn, who led the 1950 Phillies “Whiz Kids” to the World Series, played 12 years with the team before moving on to the Cubs for two seasons in 1960. He’d retire following the 1962 season, his lone year with the Mets.

As for the game that evening, the Phillies’ Rico Brogna hit a solo homer in the top of the eighth, which would be enough as Tyler Green stifled Mets’ hitters through eight scoreless innings. Ricky Bottalico closed out the game, picking up his 29th save as the Phillies would go on to beat the Mets, 1-0.

Ironically, the jersey number worn by Richie Ashburn throughout his 15-year, Hall of Fame career…was ‘1.’

Next. Scott Kingery offering Phillies much-needed hope for future. dark

On Deck

The week ahead is tough for the Phillies as they host two of baseball’s best. First in is the rival Braves for four games before the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox pay Citizens Bank Park a quick visit. The Sox are seeking revenge after the Phillies swept them in the two-game set up north a few weeks back.