Baseball Sports

Franko, Kingery bright spots for Phillies

Attention all Phillies fans don’t miss out on this great offer! The Phillies are doing a Student Steal on Thursday April 25th and Tuesday April 30th. This entails $20 tickets with $12 food and drink vouchers that can be redeemed in Ashburn Alley.

Get some friends and head on up to South Philly to see the Phillies take on the Florida Marlins on the 25th or dollar dog night versus the Detroit Tigers on the 30th.

Both games are big for the Phillies to stay at the top of the N.L. East. The N.L. East is arguably the most competitive division in the MLB with the Phillies, Mets, Braves and Nationals with deep pitching staffs and dangerous lineups. This leaves the Phillies no room to slip up and go in a slump.

The biggest issue for the Phillies right now has been the inconsistency from the pitchers. After finishing 3rd in C.Y. Young voting last year Aaron Nola was expected to be the ace for this pitching staff but he is off to his worst start with a 7.45 ERA. Nola has not given up more than four runs in any of his 33 starts last year, but this season he has given up more than four runs in three out of four starts.

After the Phillies 7-6 lost to the Mets on Monday manager Gabe Kapler did not sound too worried about Nolas rocky start saying, “He just needs to put the ball where he wants to throw it. I think he’s making mechanical adjustments along the way and hasn’t found the right one to enable him to have his pinpoint command, the command that he normally has.”

It is still early in the season and it is normal for pitchers to struggle with command early on. Nola is not the only all-star pitcher struggling this opening month, Noah Syndergaard, Corey Kluber, Zach Greinke and Chris Sale are currently posting +5 ERA’s.

There has been some moves with the pitching rotation this past week. After the 3-2 lost on Tuesday, Nick Pivetta was optioned to Triple-A and Jared Eickhoff moved into his spot in the starting rotation. Setup man David Robertson has also went onto the DL with a strained elbow which will have either Seranthony Dominguez, Pat Neshek or Hector Neris filling in.

Fans are excited to see Jake Arrieta get back to his old self after a dominate outing versus the Mets on Wednesday. Phillies fans were expecting an elite pitcher last year after getting 2016 CY Young winner Arrieta from the Cubs but Arrieta struggled leaving many wondering if he still has it. Arrieta’s comment for the media following Wednesday’s win saying, “I know I can still be elite,” is exactly what Phillies fans want to hear.

The bats have by far been the talking point for this Phillies team. It has been expected that Harper, Hoskins, Segura and Realmuto will carry this team, but it has really been the guys in the back end of the order that have been really surprising people.

Maikel Franco is the best eight hitter in baseball right now. Pitchers often overlook the bottom of the lineup, so Franco is getting good pitches to hit and he has not been missing. He is currently leading the Phillies with six home runs. After the first game Maikel made it clear to the media that he was not happy being an eight hitter but the rate he is going he might be the first eight hitter in the All-Star Game.

Scott Kingery’s performance lately has also made it tough for Kapler to keep him out of the lineup. Kingery came in at shortstop for injured Segura on Wednesday and went 3-4 with a double, home run and five RBIs. Kingery’s .647 batting average the last seven games should earn him well deserved playing time.

The versatility of Kingery in the field leaves options open for him to come in if there is an injury or a player gets into a slump. Kingery has one of the best gloves on the team and if his bat is hot there is not reason he should not be seeing more playing time. The hottest bats need to be in the lineup.

This Phillies team sure is exciting to watch this year and it is awesome seeing how packed Citizens Bank Park is this early on in the season. The ballpark has gotten a few new additions including the new open air Pass and Stow beer garden and restaurant and a Shake Shack with many other new food vendors. Don’t miss out on getting out to some games this year. And If the funds are tight definitely take advantage of the Student Steal games coming up.

Alex Fisher is a second-year student majoring in media and culture with a minor in information and technology. AH804286@wcupa.edu

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