Phillies Mailbag: Starters, Hall, the Closer
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week 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. Ask your questions anytime to @FrankKlose on Twitter or text the show at 609-403-0973.
Will Cristopher Sanchez be the #5 starter until there is a better option?
I think that this is a very good assumption, Rich. The Phillies have tried various options, and after a recent strong showing at Triple-A, it is once again Cristopher Sanchez's turn. The good news is that he has shown some good moments in this role in the past.
This weekend was Sanchez's second start of the season. His first came on April 22, against the Colorado Rockies. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs. That was enough to help the Phillies win 4-3.
Saturday, Sanchez got the Phillies through four, before a ball hit his hand. Luckily, the x-rays showed there was no break. While the Phillies starter for Friday against the Mets is "TBD", Sanchez should be able to take the ball.
Quite honestly, if the fifth starter can reliably go 4-5 innings while Taijuan Walker and Zack Wheeler on both sides are pitching well, that should be enough for this Phillies team.
Who’s more likely a 5th starter for this team? Andrew Painter or somebody not on the roster
I think that there will be an acquisition of some point. I do not think that the Phillies are going to be shopping for an ace pitcher, but they might try to find a back-end type starter. Think the Kyle Gibson acquisition of 2021.
I still view Andrew Painter as a lucky bonus if the Phillies are able to get him on the mound, first, then pitching well in the minor leagues. If all that works out, I think they would give him the opportunity.
But I think it is simply too hard to speculate at this time. Therefore, I think the Phillies will indeed acquire a starter. And if both happen to work out, a little depth never hurt anyone before.
Who goes down when Darick Hall comes back up?
We learned yesterday that it is Darick Hall who is headed to Triple-A upon his recall. The Phillies activated Hall from the Injured List and immediately optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies say he will "get at bats" there.
Hall has 59 rehab at bats under his belt in the minor leagues since he began a rehab assignment. He's batted .271 with two home runs and 10 RBI. Those numbers do not look bad. But it could be about somebody else.
The move seems to indicate that Kody Clemens has a spot on the roster. That could be because Bryce Harper could be headed to first base soon, and in the interim the Phillies might want to make use of the positional versatility that Clemens provides. Clements made his first appearance in right field this weekend while Nick Castellanos dealt with a stomach illness.
This is a disappointing move for Hall, who appeared to be the one to get the opportunity to play first base once Rhys Hoskins hit the injured list at the end of Spring Training. If Hall provides some power, something that the Phillies are lacking,
The bullpen still needs improvement. Why hasn't Rob Thomson stuck with a set closer? There's multiple "closers" in the pen, this closer committee is going to backfire.
It is indeed true that Yunior Marte earned the save on Sunday. Given his up and down performance, I might agree that making Marte the closer on a regular basis might be "playing with fire" as you say. But I disagree that the Phillies are doing the "closer by committee" approach. I think it's clear: Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado get the last two innings, depending on matchups.
On Sunday, Kimbrel was unavailable after pitching multiple days. The same was true for Alvarado. Seranthony Dominguez might have been the next righty up. But alas, he was on the injured list. So the Phillies gave big innings to Andrew Vasquez and Marte.
As the Phillies open a series tonight against Atlanta, I would fully expect that the late innings will be as they were before: Kimbrel and Alvarado. This will be dictated by where they are in the lineup.