The plane couldn’t leave soon enough.
After dropping three of four games to the Rockies, including a 12-inning crusher Friday night and a 4-1 decision yesterday, and putting four players on the injured list, the Phillies were perfectly happy to leave Coors Field behind, hopefully not to visit again until next year. They have a 2-9 record in Colorado over the past three seasons.
“I think we can play better than we did in this series," manager Gabe Kapler said, adding that “we’ve got a lot to think about on this plane ride.”
And so, it’s on to New York, where the Phillies will open a three-game series tonight against the rival Mets. The Phillies are 5-7 in their last 12 games after a 7-2 start to the season, and although they lead the National League East, only 1 1/2 games separate the top four teams in the division. Feels as though it’s going to be this way all year, doesn’t it?
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Phil Gosselin had played in the big leagues before. Lots of times, actually. And for a bunch of teams, too. In fact, when he got called up last week and entered Friday night’s game in the fourth inning, it marked his 277th game for his sixth team since 2013.
But there was something about this call-up for this team that was different.
Gosselin grew up in West Chester. He played baseball for Malvern Prep. He rooted for the Phillies, attended games at the Vet, chose Scott Rolen as his favorite player, and even sat “in the nosebleeds” for a World Series game in 2009 at Citizens Bank Park. So, when the Phillies summoned him from triple A to provide infield depth while shortstop Jean Segura was hobbled by a hamstring strain, it was almost as though Gosselin was getting called up for the very first time again.
“It probably exceeded that first call-up that I got [by the Braves in 2013], just because of all the emotions growing up coming to games here,” Gosselin said last Wednesday. “I probably got more emotional with this. I’m not a very emotional guy, but this one more so than even that first one with Atlanta.”
Imagine, then, what it must be like for Gosselin to be the Phillies’ everyday shortstop for at least the next week.
Segura’s hamstring didn’t progress as quickly as he had hoped, forcing him to go on the injured list over the weekend. He will be sidelined until at least Sunday. Scott Kingery won’t return until April 30, at the earliest, after straining his hamstring Friday night. That leaves Gosselin, a 30-year-old infielder who has played primarily second and third base at the major-league level, to hold down the fort at shortstop.
Thus far, Gosselin is making the most of his chance. A .265 career hitter with a .685 on-base plus slugging percentage for the Braves, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Rangers and Reds, he notched two hits in relief of Kingery on Friday, then stroked a three-run double to help fuel Saturday night’s 8-5 victory at Coors Field.
Gosselin’s father and brother met him at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, even though he didn’t get off the bench. His mother couldn’t make it. She was babysitting his nieces and nephews. The entire family will have another chance to see him actually play this week, beginning with the three-game series in New York.
Rolen’s No. 17 is taken by Rhys Hoskins, so Gosselin took No. 9, worn most prominently by Manny Trillo and Von Hayes.
“I’ve been lucky," Gosselin said last week. “It’s crazy. I never really thought I’d get here growing up, to be honest with you.”
Cesar Hernandez said he “assumed” he was out at second base on an apparent force play in the fourth inning Sunday. Well, you know what they say about assuming. Matt Breen has the details on a baserunning gaffe that hurt the Phillies.
Everybody loves prospect lists, right? Here’s the Inquirer’s stab at ranking the Phillies’ top 25 prospects, with Bob Brookover providing a few thoughts on each player. No spoilers here, but our choice for No. 1 prospect might surprise you.
Time will tell if Saturday night was the turning point for Aaron Nola this season. But his recovery from a shaky first few innings against the Rockies was a good place to start.
Scott Kingery has hit everything lately, including the injured list. Tough timing for Kingery, who was about to get the chance to play more often.
For the last three seasons, Jean Segura has been among the top shortstops in baseball. If not for Mets star Robinson Cano, though, Segura isn’t sure he’d even still be playing.
Tonight: Five days after defeating the Mets, Jake Arrieta faces them again, 7:10 p.m.
Tomorrow: Zach Eflin vs. Zack Wheeler in continuation of Phillies-Mets series, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: Vince Velasquez starts the series finale in New York, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: Aaron Nola faces the Marlins, as Phillies return home, 7:05 p.m.
Bryce Harper didn’t get a hit yesterday, but with a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, he kept alive a season-long, 21-game on-base streak. It’s the longest streak of his career to begin a season.
But here’s an even more impressive Harper-related stat so far this season: He’s batting .389 (7-for-18) with two homers and four walks against left-handed pitching. Both homers have come against lefty relievers, against whom he’s 6-for-10 with one walk. If Harper continues this success, it might dissuade opposing managers from matching up with lefties against him in late-inning situations.
Send questions by email or on Twitter @ScottLauber.
Question: I read the other day that Craig Kimbrel has lowered his demand to three years at an AAV of around $17 or $18M. Will the Phillies make any attempt to get him, if that report is accurate? Having an established closer of his caliber (converting 42 of 47 saves, 2.74 ERA, .146 batting average against, and a 0.99 WHIP last year) would make our bullpen much deeper and stronger.
--Joe G., via email
Answer: Thanks, Joe, for the note and the question. There’s no denying that Kimbrel would make any bullpen stronger. But unless he’s suddenly ready to accept a one-year contract — and there aren’t any indications of that — the Phillies are almost certain to continue to pass for the simple fact that they prefer to maintain flexibility beneath the competitive-balance tax to add a player or two before the July 31 trade deadline.