Friday, June 2, 2023
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MLB Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (20-20) at San Francisco Giants (17-23)


GAME #40 RECAP: The Phillies were shut out by the Colorado Rockies, 4-0, on a getaway day at Coors Field … Starter Aaron Nola (L, 3-3) went 7.0 innings and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts … The Phillies went 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base, yet out hit the Rockies, 7- 6 … Rob Thomson was ejected for the first time as manager and Bryce Harper was later ejected along with Rockies reliever, Jake Bird.

BEST WISHES, KENNY: Today marks Kenny Ayres’ final day with the Phillies Baseball Communications department following an eight-year run that began on January 12, 2015 … His time in Baseball Communications (1,234 regular season games and 17 postseason games) culminated with last year’s run to the World Series and memories that will be sure to last a lifetime … On behalf of everyone in the Phils’ Baseball Communications department, thank you Kenny, and best wishes to you, Jenna, and the boys.

REMEMBER THE FIGHTINS: The Phillies have won five of their last six games (since 5/7) during which Philadelphia’s pitching has combined for a 2.33 ERA (14 ER, 54.0 IP) with 54 strikeouts to only seven walks (7.71 SO/BB ratio) … Yesterday’s loss snapped a season-best five-game winning streak (5/7-13) … The Phillies have won each of their last two series (2-0 vs TOR, 2-1 at COL) and are 6-2-1 in their last nine series played (since 4/13 at CIN) – Philadelphia’s only two series losses in the past month have come against the Dodgers in LA (0-3) and Red Sox at CBP (1-2).

GOT THAT DOG IN HIM: In his first game back from Tommy John Surgery (160 days from the procedure), Bryce Harper went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts on 5/2 at Dodger Stadium … Since then, he is 13-for-35 at the plate with 11 runs scored, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBI and 5 walks to 9 strikeouts … He is slashing .371/.450/.629 with a 1.079 OPS in 40 plate appearances in that span (since 5/3) … Saturday night, Harper hit a 2-run 9th inning home run to put the Phils up 7-4 (110.2 MPH/439 feet) … In “Close & Late” situations (7th inning or later with the batting team ahead by one run, tied, or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck), Harper is 5-for-10 with a 1.400 OPS this season … Since the start of last season (regular and postseason combined), Harper has come to the plate 77 times in close and late situations – he is 21-for-65 with 6 doubles, 6 home runs, 21 RBI and 10 walks to 16 strikeouts (.323/.416/.692) … His 1.108 OPS ranks 1st among 215 players in MLB with at least 75 PA in close and late situations since 2022 (regular and postseason combined).

GLOVELY: Second baseman Bryson Stott has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 148 total chances at second base this year … Stott leads the Phillies this season with 6 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and ranks T-3rd among all MLB second basemen, trailing only SD’s Ha-seong Kim (8 DRS) & TEX’s Marcus Semien (7 DRS) … Stott has played 84 career games at second base (78 GS) and has not made an error in 317 total chances to begin his career … Per Elias, Stott has the longest errorless streak at second base to begin a Phillies career – he eclipsed Tomas Perez’s previous streak of 57 games, April 2, 2001-August 2, 2002 … The last major league second baseman to start his career at second base with 82 consecutive errorless games was Christian Arroyo who went 108 straight games from May 16, 2017-Sept. 28, 2022.

ANGEL IN THE OUTFIELD: Center fielder Brandon Marsh has more than doubled his walk rate from 6.1% last season to 15.7% entering play tonight … His 9.6% jump in walk rate from last year is the largest spike of any player in baseball from 2022 to 2033 and his 15.7% walk rate ranks 6th in the National League and 10th in MLB … Marsh has multiple walks in three of his last five games (since 5/9) … He reached 21 walks for the season yesterday in his 133rd plate appearance … Last season, Marsh reached 21 walks on July 29th in his 315th plate appearance (182 plate appearances faster in 2023) … Marsh is slashing .295/.410/.545 with a .955 OPS this year – his 161.1 OPS+ ranks 3rd in the National League, trailing only ATL’s Ronald Acuna Jr. (175.8) and ATL’s Sean Murphy (164.2) … Per Statcast rankings, Marsh ranks in the 95th percentile in walk rate, 90th percentile in sprint speed (28.7 ft/sc) & outs above average (2), 89th percentile in average exit velocity (92.4 MPH), 88th percentile in hard hit rate (50.0%) and 82nd percentile in arm strength (89.3 MPH).

CASTY’S BACK, TELL A FRIEND: Phils right fielder Nick Castellanos has gotten ahead 1-0 in 55 plate appearances this season – after taking ball one, Castellanos is slashing .449/.509/.755 with a 1.264 OPS that ranks 5th out of 215 MLB players with at least 40 plate appearances that start 1-0 … He has nine extra-base hits (6 2B, 3 HR) after getting ahead 1-0 … Last season, Castellanos got ahead 1-0 in 174 plate appearances and totaled only 10 extra-base hits as he slashed .197/.276/.299 with a .575 OPS that ranked 201st out of 203 qualified hitters.

BULLISH ON THE PEN: Since April 16, the Phillies bullpen has combined to post a 2.64 ERA (24 ER, 81.2 IP) in 25 games with 99 strikeouts (10.91 SO/9.0 IP) … The bullpen is 10-for-12 in save opportunities in that span … This stretch includes three games at Dodger Stadium from May 1-3 – in those three games, the bullpen allowed 18 ER in 11.1 IP (14.29 ERA) with a blown save … If you subtract those three games from the bullpen’s totals, since April 16, they have a 0.77 ERA (6 ER, 70.1 IP) in 22 games.

ON THE DOORSTEP OF HISTORY: Right-hander Craig Kimbrel has 1,122 career strikeouts which currently ranks 12th all-time among MLB relievers – Kenley Jansen ranks 11th at 1,124 and Hall-of-Famer Trevor Hoffman ranks 10th at 1,133 … Over his last 11 appearances (since 4/16) Kimbrel has struck out 20 of the 39 batters he has faced (51.3%) while walking only three (7.7%) … Kimbrel is two saves away from 400 for his career as he looks to become only the 8th pitcher in MLB history to reach 400.


HOME SWEET HOME: The Giants return home for a six-game homestand after a quick four-game road trip in Arizona…SF has been much better at home with a 10-10 record at Oracle Park this season compared to a 7-13 record as the visiting team…that’s due in most part to the Giants winning eight of their last 12 contests on the Shores of McCovey Cove.

FIELD OF DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES: SF has dominated the Phillies at Oracle Park in recent years…Stats, LLC notes that since 2014, SF’s 20-6 record at home vs. Philadelphia is tied for the sixth-best mark in MLB against a single opponent (min. 15 games)…the Giants have won or split their last eight home series against PHI (Stats, LLC).

WE LOVE WATCHING IT FLY: SF has set a franchise record for most home runs through the team’s first 40 games with 62 this season (Stats, LLC)…the MLB record is 85 set by the Cardinals in 2000…SF’s 62 homers in 2023 rank fourth in MLB behind Tampa Bay (81), Los Angeles-NL (68) and Atlanta (64).

Giants, Most Home Runs in First 40 Games of Season – All-Time (Stats, LLC)
Year Home Runs
2023 62
1996 60
2000 59
Year Home Runs
1958 58
Three Teams 53
(1954, 2020, 2021)

THAT’S A LOT OF TONY BENNETT: The Giants, the winningest club in MLB history, can become the first franchise to reach 11,500 wins (including playoffs) with a victory tonight over Philadelphia (Stathead)…the Giants have won their most regular season games against the Dodgers franchise (1,193)… rounding out the top-3 are the Reds with 1,143 victories and tonight’s opponent, the Phillies, with 1,139.

JUST A SCHMITTY BOY: SF IF Casey Schmitt, the Giants’ No. 4 prospect on, closed out his first road trip with his first career hitless day…even with the 0-for-4 yesterday, Schmitt is 11-for-24 (.458) with five runs, three doubles, two home runs, five RBI and a 1.291 OPS in six games…his 11 hits over his first six games are fourth-most in Giants history (since 1901), trailing only Jim Davenport, Al Gallagher and Willie McCovey.

Giants, Most Hits Through First Six Games of Career
Player Hits
Jim Davenport (1958) 13
Al Gallagher (1970) 12
Willie McCovey (1959) 12
Player Hits
Casey Schmitt (2023) 11
Sammy Strang (1901) 11
Four with 10

HE GETS ON BASE: Even with his career-best 19-game on-base streak being snapped yesterday, IF LaMonte Wade Jr. is hitting .306 (22-for-72) with 13 runs scored, six homers, 11 RBI, .419 OBP and a 1.044 OPS since April 20…overall this season, Wade’s 27 walks are tied for fifth-most in MLB, his .936 OPS ranks ninth, he ranks third with an 18.6% walk rate and his .427 on-base percentage is fourth.

FEELING CONFORT-ABLE: SF OF Michael Conforto has been on a tear since getting the day off on May 9…he has reached base in each of his last five games, homering in three of them, with four RBI, five runs, two walks and one strikeout in 20 plate appearances…his six home runs in day games trails only the eight hit by New York-NL IF Pete Alonso (Stats, LLC)… Conforto has 22 career home runs and 69 RBI against the Phillies, both ranking second-most by any player since 2015 and trailing only Freddie Freeman (25 & 87).

BY THE NUMBERS: Giants pitchers lead MLB with a 50.4% ground ball rate, over 2.0% better than the next closest team (Tampa Bay with 48.1%)…Philadelphia hits a lot of ground balls, ranking eighth with a 44.3% offensive ground ball rate…three Phillies rank inside MLB’s top-25 in ground ball percentage in OF Nick Castellanos (50.0%), IF Bryson Stott (50.4%) and IF Alec Bohm (50.4%)…while the Giants have been good at keeping it on the ground, they’ve been punished when the ball is put in the air, with an MLB-worst 15.9% HR/FB.

WOOD YOU LOOK AT THAT: Today’s starter, LHP Alex Wood, rarely falls behind on the first pitch of an at-bat as shown in the chart below…also making the list is Philadelphia’s RHP Aaron Nola, who ranks second. Active MLB, 1st-Pitch Strike Percentage, min. 150 starts (Stats, LLC)
Player 1st-Pitch Strike%
Kyle Hendricks 65.6%
Aaron Nola 65.5%
Clayton Kershaw 65.2%
Player 1st-Pitch Strike%
Jose Quintana 64.9%
Jacob deGrom 64.9%
Alex Wood 64.6%

STREAKY: A loss tonight would give SF its third losing streak this season of at least four games…the only other team to have three losing streaks of four or more is Oakland, with four.

2023 RECORD: 0-0, 2.45 ERA

WITH THE GIANTS: Is in his third season with the Giants…signed a two-year Major League contract with San Francisco on December 1, 2021 after spending the 2021 season in a Giants uniform… tonight will mark his 245th game and 194th start in his career.

LAST START: Wood last pitched out of the bullpen on Friday vs. the D-backs, working 1.0 inning while allowing three hits, one earned run and a walk…it was his first appearance out of the bullpen since 2020…he has not started a game this year since he faced the Marlins on April 18 and had to leave the game after suffering a hamstring injury attempting to field a sacrifice bunt from Jean Segura… Wood did not factor into that decision as he only tossed 2.1 innings before exiting, allowing a hit, an earned run, and a walk while striking out three.

VS. PHILLIES: Has faced the Phillies 15 times in his career (10 starts) and has a 3-3 record with a 3.79 ERA (25er, 59.1ip), allowing 67 hits, 52 strikeouts and 16 walks…did not face them last season.

GET ‘EM BITING: Wood’s first pitch strike percentage is 51.9% after four games this season…batters are swinging at that first pitch 40.5% of the time and have an overall swing and miss rate of 23.5%…last year Wood threw a first pitch strike 63.5% with batters swinging at the first pitch 48.1% of the time…opposing batters had a swing and miss rate of 25.0% overall last season vs. Wood.

FLY AWAY: Since joining SF in 2021, Wood is 8-9 with a 4.85 ERA (69er, 128.0ip) in 27 road starts…SF is 14-13 in those games…if you look at his last 10 starts away from home, Wood is 3-4 with a 6.48 ERA (30er, 41.2ip) with a batting average against of .267 (44- for-165)…SF is 4-6 in those nine games.

LEFTOVERS: Wood dominated left-handed batters last season, holding them to a .193 average (23-for-119) with five walks and 36 strikeouts…he allowed just three extra-base hits against lefties (one HR and two doubles) all year and posted a .464 OPS overall… right-handers hit .283 (109-for-385) with a .800 OPS.

MY SALES PITCH: His go-to pitch last season was the sinker, as he used the pitch 45.5% of the time…he recorded 68 of his 131 strikeouts last year with his sinker…that was in contrast to his first season with SF in 2021 where he still used the sinker about the same percentage of the time (46.4%) but his main strikeout pitch was the slider as he recorded 91 of his 152 strikeouts (59.8%) that year.

ORDER UP…: In 2022, Wood limited opposing hitters to a .645 OPS and a .241 average the first time through the order…the second time through those numbers went up to a .706 OPS and a .256 average…the third time through opponents had a .941 OPS and a .326 average off Wood…after three starts this season opposing hitters have a .546 OPS and a .143 batting average and a .701 OPS and .313 batting average second time around.

PACING: Averaged 15.1 seconds between pitches when the bases were empty during the 2022 season, 25th-quickest in the Majors last year (league average is 18.1 seconds)…with runners on however, Wood slows it down a bit, averaging 21.3 seconds between pitches…that rate was still well under league average (23.3 seconds).

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