Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported over the weekend that Phillies prospect Jesmuel Valentin was arrested on April 5 in Pinellas County, Florida for a domestic battery incident. He was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and pleaded not guilty to the charge on Wednesday. Major League Baseball has suspended Valentin indefinitely.
Over the winter, we were inundated with national baseball writers clamoring for a Cole Hamels trade. MLB Network fantasized about Hamels going to the Red Sox. Peter Gammons painted GM Ruben Amaro as a despot. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports even called the Phillies’ off-season a “major fail” just before pitchers and catchers reported in February.
Rosenthal has continued the “Phillies must trade Hamels” meme with his latest column, suggesting the team needs to “get real” if they want to trade Hamels to the Red Sox. He starts out by asking the obvious question: “OK, can the Phillies stop asking the Red Sox about center fielder Mookie Betts and catcher Blake Swihart now?”
The Phillies suffered a bit of an unlucky loss on Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox. They lost by a 6-2 margin but the game was put thoroughly out of reach in the third inning when Xander Bogaerts dunked a triple down the right field line to clear the bases, making it 5-0. The ball hit the ground where the dirt met the outfield grass and caused the ball to carom in an unexpected direction away from outfielder Jeff Francoeur. Opposing pitcher Justin Masterson followed up with an RBI single to center, the first of his two hits, to make it 6-0.
With two outs in the fifth inning, the Red Sox again threatened. Bogaerts reached on a Freddy Galvis throwing error, bringing up Masterson. Masterson hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line, which Cody Asche snagged with a diving effort. He quickly got to his feet and fired to first base, but the throw was low and Ryan Howard was unable to come up with the scoop for the final out of the inning.
Check out the play here:
More accurately, the Phillies started the 2015 season off with a bang, several of them, which all came from the bats of Red Sox hitters. Cole Hamels, as expected, got the honor of starting on Opening Day, but it went poorly. The lefty served up a solo home run to Dustin Pedroia with one out in the first inning, then a solo homer to Mookie Betts in the third, and two more to Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez in the fifth inning. All told Hamels allowed the four runs on five hits while walking three and striking out six.
In a few hours, regular season Major League Baseball will return to Philadelphia. No really, it’s true, I double checked and the Phillies are indeed still considered a Major League Baseball club. Both the
bad ugly unconventional Phillies Opening Day lineup and interleague matchup lend themselves well to fun facts. Here are a few of my favorites:
Update: It’s been brought to my attention that the table-based formatting is messed up on smaller devices. The predictions are best viewed on as large a resolution as possible.
With the regular season officially kicking off tonight in the Windy City, it’s time for the Crashburn Alley staff to reveal their 2015 season predictions. We will pick over/unders, division standings, and end-of-season awards. Feel free to let us know where you think we’ll be dead wrong and where you think we got it right using the comments below.
- Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill)
- Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann)
- Adam Dembowitz (@AdamD243)
- Brad Engler (@Bxe1234)
- Corinne Landrey (@Ut26)
- Ryan Sommers (@Phylan)
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported tonight on Twitter that the Phillies signed pitcher Dustin McGowan to a contract. Crasnick adds that the Phillies don’t plan to stretch McGowan out to start, but they’ll need a fifth starter on April 12. [Update: It’s a one-year major league contract, per Stephen Gross of the Morning Call.]
Tonight the Phillies played the first of two games at Citizens Bank Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates which will conclude their 2015 preseason schedule. In an unsurprising development, the crowd turnout for the game was so light that the sea of empty seats shown during the television broadcast made the announced attendance figure of 16,609 seem inflated. As if the sub-par roster wasn’t reason enough to stay home, the forecast called for severe thunderstorms on a night of not one, but two major religious holidays.
The starting pitcher, Aaron Harang, struggled mightily (4.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K), but the offense strung together enough timely hits to keep the Phillies in the meaningless game which no one was watching. But baseball doesn’t care about the importance of a game or how few people are watching, it is a glorious juxtaposition of rare excitement and constant monotony. It drags on through predictable Ryan Howard strikeouts, pitcher sacrifice bunts, and blow outs games decided in the first few innings, with the promise of unexpected moments. The great at bat by a pitcher. The seemingly impossible comeback win. Or the Ben Revere home run.
With regular season baseball back in town, that means DraftKings is back too with their one-day fantasy baseball contests. DraftKings is running a $100,000 Opening Day “Moonshot” contest that is $3 to enter, or you can gain a free entry with your first deposit. With a $100,000 prize pool, the first place winner will take home $10,000 and the top 7,850 contestants will walk away with money, guaranteed.
The contest starts on Monday, April 6 at 1:05 PM EST. It uses salary cap-style drafting, allotting players $50,000 to fill 10 spots: two pitchers, one C, one 1B, one 2B, one 3B, one SS, and three OF. Click here to draft your team.
Make sure to play throughout the year, as Draftkings will pay out over $300,000,000 during the regular season.
With the end of spring training drawing near, it’s time to take stock of which players helped or hurt their own causes in Grapefruit League action. Spring training playing time constitutes a small and nearly useless sample of playing time, but teams still use it to figure out who belongs on the roster and how much playing time to allot to whom. With that said, let’s see how some key Phillies contestants fared.