Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

wrightsafe

Wright signals ‘safe’ on a steal from last year. Or is this in fact the newest dance craze?

After a strange two-games-in-five-days split against the Royals, the Mets make their home debut against the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies.

Headlines

Noah’s slider: During his Tuesday night gem, Noah Syndergaard tallied 9 strikeouts in 6 shutout innings, including 6 by way of his slider. When a pitch is working, you go with it. When you’re throwing a [adjusts metaphorical glasses] 95 mile per hour slider, you open some eyes. It even had PITCHf/X fooled into thinking he threw a fastball. Feast your eyes on this:

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Henderson impresses: Late roster addition, Jim Henderson, pitched an excellent 1-2-3 7th inning behind Syndergaard on Tuesday, topping out at 97 MPH on his fastball. In an admittedly small sample size, the Mets bullpen has now posted 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

Little deGrom on his way: Jacob deGrom and his wife are expecting their first child, a boy, any day now. deGrom is ready to go for Friday’s start, but Bartolo Colon will be waiting in the wings should deGrom be called into the delivery room.

Know Your Foe

For this series, we pick the brain of Carson from the always entertaining We Should Be GMs.

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A couple of interesting veterans who are making their Phillies debut figure to get major time this year – Peter Burjos and Jeremy Hellickson. Does it seem like they’re on the squad primarily to provide veteran presence for such a young team, or is that a convenient byproduct of hoping to flip them at the trade deadline (assuming the perform well)?

Both Bourjos and Hellickson were needed additions. I don’t want to completely discount the “veteran presence” they bring to the squad, but truth be told the Phillies needed an innings eater in the rotation and someone that could adequately man all 3 outfield positions. They both came relatively cheap and are only here for 1 year. I could easily see Hellickson pitching well enough to be flipped for a prospect, but I’m very skeptical Bourjos will hit enough to even warrant a starting gig for the Phillies the entire year.

As hard as rebuilding can be (trust me, we know), Philadelphia has done a nice job of restocking the farm in a relatively short amount of time. Who are you most excited about making contributions at Citizens Bank in 2016?

The hype machine is in full effect for shortstop JP Crawford. He’s one of the best prospects in baseball. However, I’m most excited to see outfielder Nick Williams. Williams is the complete package and I envision him turning into a Michael Brantley type player.

David Hernandez looks like the early favorite for biggest headache of 2016. What do you think it is that’s putting him in such a curiously high leverage role out of the gate? Front office support? The fact that he’s the only reliever making any more than $1.5 mil? Mackanin?

He was guaranteed $3.9M this year. Dumb move! The other day on my blog, I documented a list of relievers with better stats than Hernandez that had to settle for minor league deals this off-season. Hernandez hasn’t been good since 2012. So, yes, I think his contract has a lot to do with it. In the front office’s and manager’s defense, the entire bullpen pretty much sucks, so it’s not like there is  a clear better choice for high leverage situations.

There are quite a few breweries from Philly and the surrounding area that get solid distribution up and down the East Coast – Victory Brewing, Yards Brewing, Sly Fox, Neshaminy Creek. Any local favorites for you?

Pizza Boy Brewing is awesome! Not only do they have 101 beers on tap and make some kick-ass pizza, wings, and other pizzeria style yummies, but they typically have about 20 of their own brews on-tap as well.  They are becoming known around America for their sours, but it’s their IPAs that I’m the biggest fan of. They push the limits of brewing styles and ingredients, much like Dogfish Head does. It’s become a destination spot for craft beer enthusiasts, and I’m lucky enough to have it be 15 minutes from my house!

Always a plus to have the best right nearby. From time to time you on the blog, you mention “What To Imbibe On.” What’s in your fridge, ready for imbibing while you watch the Mets series?

Weyerbacher Brewing Co. – Sunday Morning Stout. Every year, Founder’s KBS gets sold out in days throughout it’s distribution area. Sunday Morning Stout is every bit as good and is great to sit back, relax and sip on while watching some baseball. You’re going to want to sip it too, because it weighs in at 11.3% ABV and is a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. It’s a beautiful ebony pour with a large, creamy head that remains throughout. The aromas of roasted coffee and bourbon awaken your senses while hints of chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla and caramel also fancy your palate.

Sounds delicious. The Mets – Phillies rivalry isn’t what it’s always been (Mets took 14 of 19 in 2015), but that could soon change. Any thoughts on the Mets’ recent success?

I’m currently in my 11th season blogging Phillies baseball.  Back in the early days I constantly poked fun at the Mets (namely because they were the Phils’ biggest competitor in the NL East). I want to say that I truly admire the way the Mets organization has built its team up into what should be a contender for years to come. The rotation is the envy of everyone and some of the homegrown position players are pretty damn good too.  It’ll be nice to have the Phillies challenging them again within, hopefully, a couple seasons.  Good luck to your team in 2016.

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks again to Carson for taking some time out to talk to us!

Standings & Probables

Nationals 2-1 .667
Mets 1-1 .500
Marlins 1-2 .333
Braves 0-2 .000
Phillies 0-3 .000

Friday, April 8 Jacob deGrom (0-0 0.00 ERA) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (0-0 0.00 ERA)

Saturday, April 9 Bartolo Colon (0-0 0.00 ERA) vs. Vince Velasquez (0-0 0.00 ERA)

Sunday, April 10 Matt Harvey (0-1 4.54 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (0-0 0.00 ERA)

Beer From the Bad Guys

Troegs Cultivator Helles Bock

Out of Hershey, PA, Troegs brings its Spring seasonal which serves a perfect metaphor for the beginning of the MLB season. Cultivator celebrates the emergence of hops from the field, rising up the bines, just in time for teams to have cultivated their rosters and start to rise up the standings.

The nose is fresh and green, with the unmistakable sweet boozy note of a light bock. The taste follows with a crisp body with a sharp bite of alcohol heat and hop bitterness that sticks on the tongue. A sweet honeytchb, bready finish completes the generally satisfying experience.

Scouting Report (20-80 scale)

See        65

Smell      60

Taste      60

Feel         65

Overall     60

Cultivator is perfectly pleasant sign of Spring that exceeds ‘easy drinker’ status with a bock oomph. Perfect for an early season day game.

Finally, as always, LGM!

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