Deal? No deal.
The Phillies thought they were in agreement Tuesday on a trade for innings-eating lefty Tyler Anderson. But the Pirates raised concerns about the health of one of the two minor leaguers they would have received, then turned around and dealt Anderson to the Mariners in a move that was announced after midnight.
And while the stunning reversal raises plenty of questions about why the trade couldn’t be saved, the pitching-strapped Phillies don’t have time to request an explanation. Their dire need for pitching was amplified Tuesday night when Matt Moore allowed six runs in the first two innings of a 6-4 loss to the Nationals.
So, where do they turn now? The Rockies’ Jon Gray? The Cubs’ Zach Davies? Do they load up on relievers? Maybe a bat? The trade deadline is 4 p.m. Friday.
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With Zach Eflin’s right knee injury progressing more slowly than expected, the Phillies are desperate for a starter. Here’s more on why they wanted Anderson — and what killed the deal.
Included within Matt Breen’s observations on Tuesday night’s game is more on Didi Gregorius’ continued defensive struggles after another rough night for the shortstop.
Bryce Harper has been using Kris Bryant’s bat for a few weeks, but don’t count on the Phillies trading for the Cubs star.
After asking Mickey Moniak to reflect on one of the best months of his minor-league career, it seemed like a good time to wonder if the Phillies view him as part of their future or a trade candidate.
Tonight: Zack Wheeler vs. Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Vince Velasquez starts finale vs. Washington, 1:05 p.m.
Friday: MLB trade deadline, 4 p.m.
Friday night: Phillies open a three-game series in Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.
Stat of the day
Harper and Andrew McCutchen went deep consecutively Tuesday in the fifth inning, which wouldn’t have been terribly unusual if Harper’s hadn’t been an inside-the-park homer.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first back-to-back homers with one being an inside-the-parker since the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor and Justin Turner did it in Philadelphia on Sept. 28, 2017. The Phillies did it on April 21, 2008, when Jayson Werth hit an inside-the-park homer before Chase Utley left the yard.
From the mailbag
Question: Hi, Scott. Enjoy your column. Seems to me that Aaron [Nola] has struggled since the enforcement of sticky stuff rules. I know he wasn’t great before, but could you run some numbers on him before and after enforcement, including spin rate? Is MLB or anyone else keeping such info on other pitchers? Could this info be used to identify the most likely offenders? Thanks. — Dave G., via email
Answer: Thanks, Dave. Lots to unpack here. I’ll start by saying that you’re right: Nola’s struggles predated MLB’s enforcement of the rules about foreign substances. But since you asked, Nola’s average spin rate on his four-seam fastball was consistent in April (2,132 rpms), May (2,151), and June (2,151). If anything, it has been a tick higher in July (2,247).
Spin rates are tracked by Statcast, which is used by every major-league team. So, yes, teams should be aware of which pitchers have exhibited the biggest fluctuations before and after the sticky-stuff crackdown.