Maikel Franco Will Have to Wait for An All-Star Nomination

Maikel Franco earned a promotion to the major leagues in mid-May and hasn’t looked back, ranking among the league’s best-hitting third baseman while playing adequate defense. He went on a particularly torrid streak to begin the month of June, hitting consecutively in 11 games while smacking four home runs. Later in the month, he knocked in five runs in back-to-back games at Yankee Stadium while homering three times.

There has been some thought that Franco might be the Phillies’ representative at the 2015 All-Star Game, hosted at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Starter Cole Hamels has had another great year, but he hasn’t been among the 10 best starters in the National League. As a result, it would be justifiable to omit him from the All-Star roster. Closer Jonathan Papelbon has had a career year, sitting on a 1.71 ERA, but the floundering Phillies have only given him 14 save situations. As good as Papelbon has been, there are closers who have been just as good as him or better while racking up more saves. One could also justify leaving Papelbon off of the All-Star roster.

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Where’s Ben Revere?

Update: Tom McCarthy said on the Phillies’ broadcast on Sunday afternoon that Revere is dealing with a hamstring injury, so there’s that. Now we just need to find out why the Phillies were so secretive about it.


Ben Revere is not in the starting lineup for a third consecutive game. He last started on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Odubel Herrera starts again in center field while Darin Ruf mans left field and Jeff Francoeur will take care of right field.

Among Phillies with at least 100 plate appearances, Revere’s adjusted OPS of 97 ranks third on the team behind Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez. Along with ranking among the Phillies’ most productive hitters, Revere is one of few threats on the bases, having stolen 19 bases in 24 attempts. The 19 steals exceeds that of the Phillies’ number two and three base stealers combined.

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Aaron Harang Is Regressing, But His Trade Value Isn’t

Well, yeah. That tends to happen when one ends May with a 2.02 ERA but holds a 4.18 career ERA. Through his first 11 starts, Harang had a 53/15 K/BB ratio, which is nice, but didn’t begin to explain his level of success. He allowed four home runs over 71 1/3 innings and benefited from a .255 BABIP.

June was another animal entirely. He allowed no fewer than four runs and went no deeper than six innings in any start, compiling a 7.28 ERA with a 19/11 K/BB ratio along with seven home runs and a .293 BABIP. He added to the disaster in allowing eight runs on 14 hits (including one home run) in five innings to the Brewers last night.

Update (1:50 PM EST): The Phillies announced that they’ve placed Harang on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Chad Billingsley has been activated and will take his place in the rotation.

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Mackanin Was Right To Leave Giles In The Game

Earlier this morning, Bill Baer wrote about his concerns that Ken Giles‘ 38-pitch outing last night was a sign the Phillies will continue to abuse the arms of their high leverage relievers despite the departure of manager Ryne Sandberg. I agree whole-heartedly that the management of Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman this season has been alarming at best and gross negligence at worst. That said, I’m not willing to lump last night into this trend of abuse. In fact, leaving Giles in may very well have been the right decision by interim manager Pete Mackanin.

Entering last night’s game, De Fratus had five relief outings this season of 40+ pitches and Diekman had two such appearances. If these heavy workloads were the result of marathon extra innings games, they might be excusable, but all of these outings occurred before the 9th inning. The outcry regarding this usage is that Sandberg took two arms that have the potential to be high leverage bullpen arms and forced them into long reliever roles that ought to be reserved for middle relievers who once carried starter workloads, namely Dustin McGowan and Jeanmar Gomez. This is irresponsible bullpen management that could very conceivably have negative short-term and/or long-term on the careers of Diekman and De Fratus. But this is not what happened last night.

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The Spirit of Ryne Sandberg Lives On

If there was one hope that came with Ryne Sandberg‘s resignation, it was that the Phillies would finally stop unnecessarily taxing the arms of their best, young relievers. It’s been a constant topic of consternation here, but because it’s an easily-preventable mistake that left unnoticed could chip into the progress the organization has made in its rebuilding effort.

Ken Giles was the latest victim of the Phillies’ taxation scheme, tossing 38 pitches in a miserable eighth inning, resulting in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers. The loss, of course, is immaterial.

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Phillies Announce Hiring of Andy MacPhail, Hope Abounds

Earlier this afternoon, the Phillies invited the media to another press conference. This time, everyone was well-informed and the subject was one of positivity rather than one of loss and disappointment. With part-owner John Middleton to his right and current team president Pat Gillick to his left, Andy MacPhail faced the Philadelphia media as he was introduced as Gillick’s successor.

As expected, MacPhail will take over for the retiring Gillick as team president at the end of the season. He’ll use the remaining three months of the season to get his feet wet within the organization, “to learn” — his phrasing, in opposition to “to evaluate” — about the players and the front office personnel. MacPhail was asked specifically about the fate of GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., but he neglected to address that particular subject.

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Baumann: Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly

Baumann: Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly

Crashburn alum Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) has been on the college baseball circuit lately along with his usual duties at ESPN’s Grantland, where he covers major league baseball at large. It is our privilege that he got to cover the Phillies for his latest column, a must-read titled “Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly.” Use the link above to read it. It’s some of the best writing you’ll read all year.

Ben Revere Quietly on His Way to a Career Year

Pretend you didn’t read the title. Who, among hitters to have come to the plate at least 170 times entering Sunday’s action, leads the Phillies in weighted on-base average? Who is the only Phillie to reach double-digits in stolen bases (and is doing so with an 82 percent success rate)? Who leads Phillies position players in Wins Above Replacement, according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs? Who is tied for the major league lead in triples with six?

All right, cheaters, you win. It’s Ben Revere.

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Ben Revere’s Quote about Ryne Sandberg Is Damning

Ryne Sandberg‘s resignation as manager of the Phillies yesterday took everyone by surprise, including his players. In fact, new interim manager Pete Mackanin suggested not even Sandberg’s wife knew he was considering stepping down. Needless to say, the Phillies were still processing the news when they had to speak to the media about the situation yesterday.

No one had anything particularly new to add except for outfielder Ben Revere. And what he had to say is pretty damning about Sandberg’s tenure with the Phillies. Via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

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Things Get Worse for Domonic Brown

Things haven’t been going well for Domonic Brown since he was brought up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 14. In 11 games, he’s batting .179/.304/.256 in 46 plate appearances. He did drive in a run with a double in the seventh inning last night to break up Max Scherzer‘s shutout and end the Nationals’ collective streak of 48 scoreless innings compiled by starting pitching. But that’s been about the only bright spot for him thus far.

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