Jake Arrieta upset with Phillies’ defensive shifts, calls weekend series “horse s—“


Phillies starter Jake Arrieta hit a home run on Sunday, but he was not a happy camper after his team suffered a sweep at the hands of the Giants in their weekend series in San Francisco. His home run broke the team’s scoreless streak after having been shut out in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. It was the only run the Phillies scored on Sunday, falling 6-1.

Arrieta didn’t have a great afternoon, yielding five runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. The big blow came when Arrieta surrendered an opposite-field three-run home run to Andrew McCutchen in the sixth inning, pushing the Giants’ lead to 5-1.

Per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Arrieta was furious after the game, describing the series as “horse s—.” Arrieta also took aim at the Phillies’ defensive shifts, saying, “We need to change that. Copy the best. That’s not my job.” He added that the club needs accountability “top to bottom.”

According to Sports Info Solutions, the Phillies indeed are dead last in runs saved from the shift at -11. The only other team that is in the negatives is the Dodgers.

Baseball Savant ranks the Phillies third in baseball in defensive shift usage at 28 percent, behind the Astros (43.2 percent) and Royals (36.4 percent). The Phillies shift around that same rate while Arrieta is on the mound (29 percent). The league average shift percentage is 17.3 percent.

While Arrieta may be right that the Phillies’ defensive shifting hasn’t paid off, he should also be concerned about his strikeout rate. After Sunday’s start, his 2018 strikeout rate sits at 17.2 percent, which would be the lowest rate of his career since his rookie season in 2010 (11.6 percent). Arrieta’s strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.32 is below the league average of 2.65, ranking 63rd out of 88 qualified pitchers. He has a 2.66 ERA but it’s almost certainly not sustainable if he’s not able to miss bats the way he had been from 2014-17. That’s going to be true whether or not the Phillies are shifting properly.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.