Saturday, June 22, 2024

MLB Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (20-21) at San Francisco Giants (18-23)

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES NOTES:

GAME #41 RECAP: The Phillies fell to the San Francisco Giants, 6-3, at Oracle Park in San Francisco … The Phillies opened with Connor Brogdon (0.2 IP, 2 H, BB, SO) before going to Bailey Falter for 13 outs (L, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) … Alec Bohm homered in the 2nd to put the Phils up 2-0 before the Giants scored 6 runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a 6-2 lead … Trea Turner secured his 200th career double but the Phillies went 0-for-8 with RISP … Andrew Bellatti (1.0 IP) and Jeff Hoffman (2.0 IP) made scoreless appearances in relief.

TRANSACTIONS: Prior to tonight’s game against the San Francisco Giants, the Phillies optioned lefthanded pitcher Bailey Falter to triple-A Lehigh Valley … To fill his spot on the 26-man roster, right-handed pitcher Erich Uelmen was recalled from Lehigh Valley … Over eight appearances (7 starts) for the Phillies this season, Falter, 26, has gone 0-7 with a 5.13 ERA (23 ER, 40.1 IP) … Falter opened the season in the club’s starting rotation but worked a career-high 4.1 innings in relief last night at San Francisco … Uelmen, 26, has appeared in seven games with the IronPigs in 2023 where he has gone 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA (1 ER, 8.2 IP), which included six scoreless appearances (6.2 IP) to begin the season … The Las Vegas, Nev., native made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2022 and went 2-1 with one save and a 4.67 ERA (14 ER, 27.0 IP) over 25 games, all in relief.

REMEMBER THE FIGHTINS: The Phillies have won five of their last seven games (since 5/7) during which Philadelphia’s pitching has combined for a 2.03 ERA (14 ER, 62.0 IP) with 62 strikeouts to nine walks (6.89 SO/BB ratio) … 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).

WHEELS UP: Right-hander Zack Wheeler will face off against the team that drafted him tonight for the 9th time in his career (last: 4/20/21) … Originally selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 2009 MLB Draft, Wheeler was traded by the Giants with cash considerations in exchange for OF Carlos Beltran on July 28, 2011 … Wheeler has only faced the Giants one time since signing with the Phillies, but in his career, he is 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA (19 ER, 48.1 IP) in eight starts against San Francisco … Wheeler has faced 104 right-handed hitters this season – he is limiting them to a .198/.260/.281 slash line (.541 OPS) with 32 strikeouts to five walks (6.40 SO/BB ratio).

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 14-for-39 at the plate with 12 runs scored, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBI and 5 walks to 10 strikeouts … He is slashing .359/.432/.590 with a 1.022 OPS in 44 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 216 players in MLB with at least 75 PA in close and late situations since 2022 (regular and postseason combined).

ANGEL IN THE OUTFIELD: Center fielder Brandon Marsh has almost tripled his walk rate from 6.1% last season to 15.9% entering play tonight … His 9.8% jump in walk rate from last year is the largest spike of any player in baseball from 2022 to 2023 and his 15.9% walk rate ranks 6th in the National League and 10th in MLB … Marsh reached 22 walks for the season last night in his 138th plate appearance … Last season, Marsh reached 22 walks on July 30th in his 319th plate appearance (181 plate appearances faster in 2023) … Marsh is slashing .287/.406/.530 with a .936 OPS this year – his 154.9 OPS+ ranks 3rd among National League outfielders, trailing only ATL’s Ronald Acuna Jr. (176.8) and SF’s LaMonte Wade Jr. (157.3) … 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), average exit velocity (92.6 MPH) & hard hit rate (50.7%) and 81st percentile in arm strength (89.0 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 222 MLB players with at least 40 plate appearances that start 1-0 … He has nine extrabase 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: Over the last month (since 4/16), the Phillies bullpen has combined to post a 2.43 ERA (24 ER, 89.0 IP) in 26 games with 106 strikeouts (10.72 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 0.70 ERA (6 ER, 77.2 IP) in 23 games.

TONIGHT’S STARTER – ZACK WHEELER  RHP #45
2023: 3-2, 3.80 ERA Career: 77-59, 3.43 ERA

LAST START: 5/10 vs TOR: ND, 7.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, HR, BB, 7 SO (2-1 Phils win) … The Phillies defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, on a getaway day in South Philly … Down 1-0 heading into the 9th, the Phillies rallied to send it to extras … They won it in the 10th on a walkoff error that scored Edmundo Sosa … Gregory Soto, Seranthony Dominguez and Craig Kimbrel made scoreless appearances in relief of Wheeler.

TONIGHT’S START:
Right About That: Wheeler has faced 104 RHH this season and has limited them to a .281 SLG and .541 OPS (5 2B, 1 HR allowed) His .541 OPP OPS against RHH this season ranks 3rd among all qualified NL starters behind only Dustin May (.455 OPS) and Drew Smyly (.506 OPS) … Since 2021, Wheeler has held RHH to a .599 OPS which ranks 4th among NL starters behind only Corbin Burners (.562), Max Scherzer (.563) and Logan Webb (.577 OPS)

Sweeping Success: Wheeler has thrown 116 sweepers this year and opponents are hitting .143 with a .190 SLG against it while whiffing on swings against it 41.3% of the time

Best of the West: Over Wheeler’s last six starts against the NL West (since 9/11/21), he is 5-0 with a 1.70 ERA (7 ER, 37.0 IP) with 50 strikeouts to 10 walks – the Phillies are 6-0 in those games

vs NL West: 15-9, 3.46 ERA (82 ER, 213.0 IP) in 35 starts

Statcast Rankings: 96th percentile in extension, 95th percentile in AVG exit velo & Barrel rate, 85th percentile in Fastball spin, 84th
percentile in xSLG and 81st percentile in Fastball velo

ROAD:
2023: 2-1, 4.70 ERA (8 ER, 15.1 IP) in 3 starts

Career: 40-27, 3.51 ERA (232 ER, 594.1 IP) in 100 starts

2023 SEASON:
Recorded his 17th career double-digit strikeout game and 9th as a Phillie on 4/23 vs COL, and his 23 swings and misses were a new career high

Made his 200th career start on 4/23 vs COL

On 4/12 vs MIA extended his streak of home starts without allowing a HR to 4 and his streak of 5 or fewer hits allowed at home to 9

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS NOTES:

TODAY’S GAME: After a win last night, the Giants will aim to make it two straight on a City Connect Tuesday at Oracle Park tonight…since introducing these uniforms in 2021, the Giants are 20-6 with a +50 run differential when wearing the City Connects(which are typically worn on Tuesdays but have been worn a few select times on other days)…the Giants are 3-0 so far in 2023 when wearing the Creamsicle jerseys.

HOME SWEET HOME: SF has been much better at home with an 11-10 record at Oracle Park this season compared to a 7-13 record on the road…the winning home record is due to the fact that the Giants have won nine of their last 13 contests on the shores of McCovey Cove dating to April 22…during this stretch of solid home play the Giants have averaged 4.5 runs per game and have homered in all but one of the 13 games…in its first eight home games, SF was 2-6 and averaged 3.0 runs per game.

FIELD OF DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES: SF has played well against the Phillies at Oracle Park in recent years…Stats, LLC notes that since 2014, SF’s 21-6 (.778) record at home vs. Philadelphia is the fifth-best mark in MLB against a single opponent at home (min. 15 games)…the Giants have won or split their last eight home series against PHI (Stats, LLC). MLB, Best Home record vs. Single Opponent — Since 2014 (Stats, LLC) Team Opponent W-L (Win%)
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Rockies 24-3 (.889)
Cleveland Guardians vs. Angels 24-4 (.857)
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Braves 20-5 (.800)
Los Angeles Angels vs. White Sox 22-6 (.786)
San Francisco Giants vs. Phillies 21-6 (.778)

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY (WHEN THEY PLAY THE PHILS): OF Michael Conforto has 23 career home runs and 72 RBI against the Phillies, both ranking second-most by any player since 2015 trailing only Freddie Freeman (25 & 87)…IF Wilmer Flores has 13 homers and 50 RBI to go along with a career .813 OPS in 84 games against the Phils…in far less games than the former New York Mets teammates, OF Mike Yastrzemski has nine XBH (five doubles, four homers), 11 RBI, 13 runs scored and a .916 OPS in 19 career games vs. Philadelphia.

GO BIG: SF has set a franchise record for most home runs through the team’s first 41 games with 63 this season (Stats, LLC)…the previous record was 60 homers through 41 games done by the 1958, 1996 and 2000 Giants…SF’s 63 homers in 2023 are tied for fourth-most in MLB with the Yankees… Tampa Bay (81), Los Angeles-NL (71) and Atlanta (69) rank first, second and third, respectively.

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: RHP Alex Cobb (35 years, 221 days) toes the slab tonight and is off to arguably the best start of his career…his 1.70 ERA entering play tonight leads the NL and is third-best in the Majors…he has not allowed a run in his last two overall starts (14.1 innings) entering tonight and he hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts here at home (16.0 innings)…his 64.1% groundball rate leads qualified pitchers.

Giants, Lowest ERA Thru 1st 8 Starts by Pitchers 35+ Since 1912 (Stats, LLC)
Pitcher (Yr) ERA
Alex Cobb (2023) 1.70
Sal Maglie (1955) 1.89
Tim Hudson (2014) 2.09
Pitcher (Yr) ERA
Carl Hubbell (1939) 2.60
Juan Marichal (1973) 2.67
*Pitchers must have been 35+ for each of the eight starts.

FEELING CONFORT-ABLE: OF Michael Conforto has reached base in each of his last six games, homering in four of them, with seven RBI, six runs, three walks and one strikeout in 24 plate appearances…he’s 8-for-21 (.381) over the six-game stretch…furthermore, Conforto has significantly cut his strikeout rate this month…in his 14 games in May he’s struck out just 15.1% percent of the time (eight strikeouts in 53 PA)… in his first 23 games, Conforto had a 33.0% strikeout rate (30 strikeouts in 91 PA).

ON THE CASE…: IF Casey Schmitt rattled off two more hits yesterday and is 13-for-28 (.464) with five runs, four doubles, two home runs, five RBI and a 1.286 OPS in his first seven career games after debuting last Tuesday…his 13 hits over his first seven games are tied with Jim Davenport (1958) for third-most in Giants history…only Al Gallagher (15) in 1970 and Willie McCovey (14) in 1959 had more hits in their first seven career games with the Giants.

Giants, Most Hits Through First Seven Games of Career
Player Hits
Al Gallagher (1970) 15
Willie McCovey (1959) 14
Casey Schmitt (2023) 13
Player Hits
Jim Davenport (1958) 13
Mike Schemer (1945) 12
Sammy Strang (1901) 12

HE GETS ON BASE: Even with his career-best 19-game on-base streak being snapped Sunday, 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 seventh in MLB, his .936 OPS ranks tied for 11th, he ranks second with an 18.6% walk rate and his .427 on-base percentage is fifth.

YOUNG GUN: RHP Camilo Doval notched his 39th career save last night…at 25 years, 315 days, Doval’s 39 saves are second-most in Giants history (since 1969 when saves became an official stat) for a player that age or younger…only RHP Rod Beck (79) had more saves before he was 25 years, 315 days old.

TODAY’S STARTER – ALEX COBB RHP #38
2023 RECORD: 3-1, 1.70 ERA

WITH THE GIANTS: Is in his 12th Major League season and his second with the Giants…he’s in his second year of a two-year contract (with a third-year team option) with the Giants that he signed on November 30, 2021.

ON A TEAR: Has posted a 3-0 record with a 0.95 ERA (3er, 28.1ip) with a .240 opponents average, 0.95 WHIP and 19 strikeouts over his last four starts, one of which was in Mexico City…in eight starts overall this season, he’s posted a 1.70 ERA, which ranks as the best figure in the National League and the third-best figure in the Majors behind MIN’s Sonny Gray (1.39) and DET’s Eduardo Rodriguez (1.57).

LAST OUTING: Earned the win against the Diamondbacks on May 11, as he tossed 7.1-scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts…it marked his third start with 7.0+ innings and zero runs allow over his last four appearances.

VS. PHILADELPHIA: Is 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA (5er, 19.0ip), .149 opponents average, 0.84 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in three career starts against the Phillies…last faced them on September 2, 2022 at Oracle Park and spun 7.0-scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and seven strikeouts in the Giants 13-1 victory over Philadelphia.

HOME SWEET HOME: Over his last eight starts at Oracle Park, Cobb has posted a 5-1 record with a 1.76 ERA (10er, 51.0ip)… since September 1, 2022, his 1.76 ERA at home ranks as the second-best figure in the Majors behind only LAA’s Shohei Ohtani (1.62) (min. 50ip).

BANANA SPLITS: Opponents are hitting .500 (6-for-12) off his curveball and .462 (6-for-13) off his slider, compared to a .222 average (20-for-90) off his split finger and .268 (19-for-71) off his sinker.

(DON’T) WALK THIS WAY: Cobb has walked just eight hitters through his first eight starts of the season (47.2ip)…his 4.1% walk rate (eight walks/196 batters faced) is the eighth-lowest walk rate in the Majors.

IN THE YARD: Since the start of 2021 no pitcher in the Major Leagues has done a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark that Cobb…his 0.53 HR/9.0ip ratio since the start of ‘21 is best in the Majors (min. 250.0ip)…looking at the metric a different way, Cobb has allowed the fewest homers of any pitcher in the Majors (min. 250.0ip) since the start of 2021 as he’s allowed only 17.

RISP MANAGEMENT: Opponents are hitting .302 (35-for116) off him with eight extra-base hits with no one on base… however, he’s holding opponents to a .151 average (7-for46) with runners in scoring position with opponents going just 3-for-their-last-24 (.125).

World Elite Syndicate

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