Maybe 10 years from now, Sunday will be remembered as the start of a great career. But right now, Sunday’s main takeaway was that the Phillies scored just two runs in 14 innings in a pair of listless losses against the division-rival Braves. Spencer Howard provided glimpses against a tough lineup of what he could be, but there was little else to be encouraged about from Sunday’s doubleheader. Here’s some good news for the Phillies after they dropped two games below .500: Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are starting the next two games.
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Spencer Howard debuted on Sunday, but he left Alec Bohm behind in Allentown at the team’s alternate training site. Joe Girardi said Saturday that Bohm would need to play “almost every day” if the Phillies promoted him to the majors. And to make that happen, Girardi said, the Phillies would have to “juggle some things.”
“That’s the kind of thing that you have to think about,” Girardi said. “You don’t want him sitting five or six days a week.”
For the sake of this argument, let’s sit in Girardi’s office and imagine that general manager Matt Klentak just informed him that Bohm is headed Monday to the majors.
Through 10 games, the team has five regulars or semi-regulars - Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, Roman Quinn, Andrew McCutchen, and Scott Kingery - with an OPS lower than the league average of .707. It’s certainly not time to give up on any of those three players, but it cannot be ignored that Hoskins (.172 AVG, .670 OPS), Segura (.172 AVG, .466 OPS), McCutchen (.133 AVG, .372 OPS) and Kingery (.097 AVG, .273 OPS) play positions that either Bohm could play or someone could slide to if Bohm entered the lineup.
Let’s try to do the juggling:
Monday vs. Atlanta LHP Sean Newcomb: Bohm starts at third base in his major-league debut while Segura sits after going 0 for 5 in Sunday’s doubleheader.
Tuesday vs. Baltimore RHP Alex Cobb: Bohm starts at first base while Hoskins is used as the designated hitter. Segura returns to the lineup. Jay Bruce plays left field (Zack Wheeler is starting so the outfield shouldn’t be busy) to keep his bat in the lineup against a righthander, while Andrew McCutchen gets a day off after playing in both sides of Sunday’s doubleheader. Right now, Bruce has to be in the lineup every time the Phillies face a righthander.
Wednesday vs. Baltimore LHP Wade LeBlanc: Bohm is used as the designated hitter as his first three major-league starts come in three different positions. Hoskins starts at first base, Segura is at third, McCutchen is back in left field, and Bruce gets a night off against a lefthanded pitcher.
Thursday vs. Baltimore LHP Tommy Milone: The Orioles haven’t announced Thursday’s starter, but it would be Milone’s turn in the rotation. Bohm plays third base, Segura moves to second base, Kingery gets a night off, and Phil Gosselin is the designated hitter against a lefthander.
Friday vs. Mets RHP Jacob deGrom: Bohm gets a night off against one of baseball’s premier pitchers.
Saturday vs. Mets LHP Steven Matz: Bohm returns to the lineup as the designated hitter. Bruce gets a night off against a lefthanded pitcher.
Sunday vs. Mets RHP Rick Porcello: Bohm plays third base, with Segura getting a night off. Bruce returns to the lineup as the DH against the righthander.
In the week just described, Bohm started six of the team’s seven games and no regular player saw a significant dip in playing time. Adding Bohm to the lineup while also managing to keep everyone else active would not be possible without the National League’s adoption of the designated hitter in 2020. There’s a way to get Bohm in the lineup. But first, he has to get promoted.
“We’ll continue to look at that and make the decision when it’s the right time,” Girardi said.
Spencer Howard debuted, but the Phillies lost both games of a doubleheader against the Braves. Scott Lauber has the recap from Sunday’s long day at the ballpark.
The Phillies should keep Spencer Howard in the starting rotation and move Vince Velasquez to the bullpen, Bob Brookover writes.
The Phillies are struggling this season with runners in scoring position as Scott Lauber digs into the team’s offenseive woes.
Today: Aaron Nola starts the series finale against Atlanta, 6:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Zack Wheeler faces the Orioles, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Zach Eflin starts game two of the series, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: Jake Arrieta starts the series finale against the O’s, 4:05 p.m.
Friday: Phillies open a three-game series with the Mets, 7:05 p.m.
Aaron Nola enters Monday’s start 356 days removed from the last time the Phillies won a game that he started. He’s started nine games since earning a win on August 20, 2019 against the Red Sox and the Phillies have managed to lose all nine games. Perhaps not of those loses was more disheartening than last week when Nola struck out 12 Yankees but couldn’t receive a win. But if Nola thinks his wait has been long, he could give Matt Beech a call. Beech won his major-league debut with the Phillies on August 12, 1996 and then didn’t earn his second win until August 7, 1997. Beech’s 22 straight starts without a win is the longest in Phillies history.
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Question: Whatever happened to Victor Arano? - Henry R. via email.