Phillies Mailbag: Hoffman, Harper, Rotation
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies Mailbag. We take your questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Tune in Tuesday afternoons to hear your questions answered on the air.
I am confused as to when Jeff Hoffmann became a late inning guy. Why not trust in Gregory Soto with nobody on?
Well, I think that this was a matchup in which they wanted a right-handed pitcher. And right now, beyond Craig Kimbrel, the most reliable right-handed reliever has been Jeff Hoffman. That is unfortunate, because Seranthony Dominguez was supposed to be in that role.
The Phillies had a dynamic arm in Dominguez last season and rode him through the playoffs. But with a 3-3 record and 3.78 earned run average, Dominguez just showed a lack of consistency. His scoreless inning on Saturday included many pitches that he had no control.
Hoffman, acquired in a waiver claim from the Minnesota Twins at the end of Spring Training, was a nice surprise, mostly pitching middle innings. Hoffman appeared in 54 games, going 5-2 with a 2.41 earned run average.
That success left him as the last righty before Kimbrel.
After the game, catcher J.T. Realmuto said that Hoffman's fastball was off in previous pitches. So they went for the slider. That was the one that got hit hard.
Had Dominguez been the Dominguez of 2022, he would have been the guy there.
In light of Orlando Arcia’s comments, do we think Bryce Harper is due for another iconic game?
"Ha-ha, atta-boy, Harper," Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia was caught saying after the game. He was referring to a baserunning blunder by Bryce Harper that led to a double play to end the Phillies' night. Harper indeed made a mental error, going past second base without knowing that the ball was caught.
But that certainly does not reflect well upon Arcia.
Arcia, who is 1 for 7 in the two games thus far (.143) is not one of the big Braves names. By saying that he is certainly putting a target on his own back.
But I do not think that will change anything. I would still expect a big moment from Bryce Harper. Had that ball hit the wall and Harper scored the tying run, we would be saying something very different today. But that energy that makes Harper what he is gets him into trouble sometimes.
Next time it may go in Harper's favor.
I think the best revenge is indeed playing well. The Phillies have two home games to show that they can do that.
Would you consider starting Cristopher Sanchez in game 4 with Ranger Suárez coming in after him?
I would not. I think one of the Braves big successes is being able to fare well against left-handed pitching. We saw Ranger Suárez lifted during the fourth inning on Saturday not because he was being hard or unraveling, but because the Phillies were eager to get right-handed pitching into the game for some matchups.
The Braves as a team hit a whopping .288 on the season against left-handed pitching. That's quite the number. I think they would try their best to avoid left-handed pitching for any long period of time.
That would not favor Cristopher Sanchez coming into a game. In fact, I am not sure we will see Sanchez before the NLCS.
If only the Phillies knew what they had in Michael Lorenzen and Taijuan Walker, they might be able to do more.