That the Phillies won only 73 games last year and portend to be just as bad, if not worse, in 2014 might prompt some to suggest that they have a talent problem. Not so, if the Phillies’ new clubhouse signs are to be believed. All the Phillies need to do to get back to their successful ways is to respect the game, be the “ultimate teammate”, and play the game the right way.
Via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:
Given the recent drama involving Jimmy Rollins, it wouldn’t be surprising if this was an indirect swipe at the shortstop. It isn’t shocking, though, that the Phillies think that a key to returning to their glory days is to rediscover the intangibles. After all, they had to be held more or less at gunpoint to create an analytics department — becoming one of the last teams to do so.
Even if every single Phillie does start to respect the game (they didn’t before?), becomes the ultimate teammate (what does this mean?), and plays the game the right way (right, Jimmy?), they’re still likely to rank among the bottom-third in baseball, wins-wise. No amount of intangibles will turn that old, injury-prone, expensive roster into a championship contender.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.