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Phillies eliminated from postseason contention

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The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals 4-1 in the first game of today’s double header. The nightcap won’t matter a bit for Philly, though, because with today’s loss they have officially been eliminated from postseason contention.

As the 2019 Phillies play out the string, their management and their fans will have a lot to think about. Injuries, mostly. While the Yankees have been an amazing story about a team enduring tons and tons of injuries and still prevailing, the Phillies are a good example of what usually happens when you lose multiple key players to the injured list. Andrew McCutchen, who was on pace for an excellent year, was one of the biggest individual injuries but the sheer volume of injuries to their bullpen arms was just way too much to overcome.

Still, as John Stolnis of the Phillies’ blog The Good Phight pointed out recently, the Rays, Astros, Dodgers, Twins and those Yankees all had major injury issues of their own and they’ll all be playing in October. The larger issues for the Phillies was one of lack of depth, lack of offensive production, a poor rotation, and overall underachievement. Basically, if you gave a worst case scenario for every aspect of the team’s performance ahead of time, the Phillies pretty much fulfilled it. The team had a big, splashy offseason with the signings of Bryce Harper and McCutchen, they had a decent enough plan on paper, and they had a lot of talent on board, but they simply did not execute.

With so many commentators thinking the Phillies were heading to the postseason, expectations were high. Now it’ll be interesting to see who, if anyone, pays for failing to meet such high expectations. And how the Phillies will address their multiple shortcomings this offseason.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).