We don’t like Pablo Sandoval at all. That’s all I need to say about that. Here are some observations.
- With Nick Maton performing quite well, I’m not sure what the purpose is of having Scott Kingery around anymore. Maton has proven that he is more than capable of handling each position in the infield outside of first base, so there is no reason for Kingery to back up anyone there. The team has more than enough options to cover centerfield, meaning Kingery isn’t needed there anymore, so why exactly is he on the team? He’s proven he is completely lost at the major league level, deserving of only garbage time at bats and the occasional (snickers) double switch. We all realize the only reason he gets yo-yo’ed back and forth between here and Lehigh Valley is due to his place on the 40-man roster, but even then, the risk of his getting claimed by another team should be designated for assignment is probably low thanks to his contract, so at this point the team might as well just cut their losses and move on. It’s a shame that it’s come to this as he showed so much promise early in his minor league career, but unnecessary swing changes and positional changes have destroyed whatever confidence he ever had in his game.
- Don’t look now, but Odubel Herrera has actually been hitting pretty decently lately. In an extremely small sample size, Herrera has gotten hits in five of his last sixteen at bats, homering once and only striking out three times. As long as he’s putting up these kinds of numbers with any kind of consistency, he’ll be the starter in centerfield for the team, no matter your personal feelings towards his grasp on a roster spot.
- The pitch calling of J.T. Realmuto this weekend really needs to be questioned. Two at bats stuck out to me: the Sandoval home run and the first at bat to Ronald Acuna. The Sandoval at bat is obvious. With a 1-2 count and two outs in the ninth inning of a game the Phillies were leading by two at the time, Realmuto called for a fastball. The result?
When the Phillies led off the game Sunday night against Acuna, Realmuto and Aaron Nola decided to open with a changeup heavy approach, mostly due to Acuna’s free swinging ways on the first pitch of games. The execution of the pitches was pretty poor as none of the pitches Nola would throw were particularly close until he was absolutely forced into the zone.
Just seems like unnecessary overthinking on their part, but that’s the gameplan they went with. It just didn’t work.
- Hector Neris is the closer and that’s just fine for now. Not sure it really matters who is closing at this point. If Neris is suddenly pulled from being the closer, the issue does not become who is the closer, rather it’s what do you do with Neris? The only way at this point he’d lose the job is lack of confidence in his ability to handle tough situations. Putting someone like Jose Alvarado or Archie Bradley into the closer’s role means Girardi would be taking them out of the role of pitching in high leverage situations, something he likes to do. Arguing when the best time to use your best reliever is a different topic, but if Neris is not able to handle a high leverage situation like the closer’s spot, what make you think he’ll be able to handle a situation where the team inserts him into a spot that is even tougher (say, men on base in scoring position and no outs)? At least when he is put into a save situation, more often than not, the situation is rather clean - no one on base, starting an inning fresh. He’s going to blow games here and there, as most closers do, but I’m just not sure where else the team would be able to utilize him if he’s not the closer. I’m not advocating that he remain the closer if he can’t get the job done. I just don’t want to see this team with another David Hale on their hands, someone you don’t want to see on the mound regardless of the situation.