Phillies Mailbag: Rainout, Available Starters, Kingery
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and talk about them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill every Tuesday. Send your questions anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose or send a text to the text board at 609-403-0973.
Ok, so what do the Phillies do with their rotation now that there's a rainout and a doubleheader on Wednesday?
This is a really good question. The Phillies already went forward with the bullpen game on Sunday, which did not go so well. This situation leaves now TWO holes:
Tuesday - Jake Arrieta
Wednesday 1p - Zach Eflin
Wednesday 7p - Nick Pivetta
Thursday - Aaron Nola
Friday - ?
Saturday - ?
The Phillies will throw their four best starters against the Washington Nationals in the four games in three days. That means at least two games against the Miami Marlins are question marks, on back to back nights.
It's very easy to say it's "just the Marlins", but let's face it: The Phillies bullpen is taxed. Edgar Garcia replaced Eickhoff, but they will need a someone from Triple-A to give them some innings. Enyel De Los Santos, Drew Anderson, and Ranger Suarez might be those kinds of pitchers.
There will be a 26th man available on Wednesday that the Phillies could utilize. Someone may be up Friday and switched out for someone else on Saturday. Expect lots of trips between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Ohio, as the IronPigs are headed to Toledo and Columbus.
As of yesterday, Phillies manager said that Vince Velasquez likely starts on Friday in an "opener role". But someone needs to pitch behind him. Cole Irvin is struggling to adapt to the major leagues and some question whether he has the tools for success at this level
The Phillies desperately need one more starter and if the Phillies are unable to do what other teams in the National League East have done - beat up on the Miami Marlins - they will continue to fall behind.
Who are the available starters the Phillies could acquire at the July 31 trade deadline?
The Phillies should be active in trade discussions over the next six weeks. The July 31 trade deadline is THE deadline this year; there are no more waiver trades in August. So if the Phillies are going to add depth, it must be in the next six weeks. People around baseball expect a lot of activity sooner than later.
The Phillies probably would prefer to have a left-handed starter. Those names include: Madison Bumgarner, Danny Duffy, Matthew Boyd, and Mike Minor.
Of these names, Boyd would cost the most, as he has three years remaining in his contract. The Detroit Tigers lefty is having a nice season. It's unclear if they would move him or keep him around longer.
Minor may not be available. The Phillies and Texas Rangers have the same amount of wins - 39 - as of today. The Rangers might wish to extend Minor and keep rebuilding their club with him, and maybe add some pieces to try to win this year.
Duffy has regressed some. Duffy is 3-3 with a 4.63 earned run average for the Royals in 2019. That might be the wrong trend for someone due $15 million each of the next two years. He's someone I long thought the Phillies should target. But he is averaging less than 5 1/2 innings per start and that might not be much of an upgrade.
The big piece could be Bumgarner, who is simply a rental at this point. One challenge is that the Phillies (and other teams who might wish to acquire him) are on his no-trade list. That is probably so he can add leverage to add money or an extension. The Phillies may not want to bite.
But, as I said on Monday - the Phillies need to do something quickly before the season is lost.
Are the Phillies messing with Kingery by batting him third? Why not leave him where he is succeeding?
The Phillies best offensive piece this season is arguably Scott Kingery. Despite seeing time at second base, shortstop, third base, center field, and left field, Kingery has continued to hit. Granted, most of that hitting was further down in the lineup. But a move to third does not seem to be hurting him too much those far.
In the last seven games Kingery is batting .423. They are hoping that his bat will help keep the offense going, nestled between Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins.
The Phillies are stuck. Cesar Hernandez is batting just .115 and the Phillies had to remove him from the leadoff spot. J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce are dealing with injuries that have them day-to-day. Maikel Franco had to be benched. The lineup had to feature Sean Rodriguez and now has Roman Quinn, who has struggled. Of course, Andrew McCutchen is lost for the year.
It's kind of hard for the Phillies not to put their best pieces in the key lineup spots with all of those issues. Like his positional versatility, perhaps Kingery will also adapt to different lineup spots.