who gained ground on the Dodgers

#1 von elaine95 , 02.01.2019 02:51

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It took the Philadelphia Phillies a little longer than usual to arrive at a familiar spot.After leading their division with the second-best record in the National League one week into August http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-yoenis-cespedes-jersey , the Phillies went 16-33 over the final 49 games and finished with a losing record (80-82) for the sixth straight season.There are several reasons for the collapse, and the Phillies will enter the offseason with plenty of questions as they try to reshape the roster into one that can contend for a full season. Philadelphia could try to land a big-name free agent like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado — or even both.“There’s been some really important answers but there’s things we have to address this offseason and future offseasons,” general manager Matt Klentak said Monday.Gabe Kapler’s first season as manager was adventurous. His unconventional approach drew a ton of scrutiny and criticism in Philadelphia, especially after the team fell apart.But Klentak is sticking by his analytics-minded manager and his new-school style.“His energy, his attitude, his work ethic and his willingness to adjust are about as good as they can be and I think we made enormous strides this year,” Klentak said. “We were projected to win 74-76 games. That team is not going to the playoffs if you play traditional baseball. When those are your expectations, that’s a good year to try things.”Kapler, who found a positive spin on everything throughout the season, is optimistic — no surprise — about 2019.“If everybody takes a small step forward in their development we’ll win a lot of baseball games,” Kapler said.Here’s some things to know about the Phillies heading into the offseason:GOT AN ACE: Right-hander Aaron Nola established himself as a legitimate No. 1 starter by having one of the best seasons in franchise history. He was 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. His 224 strikeouts were the second-most ever by a Phillies pitcher age 25 or younger. He joined Grover Cleveland Alexander (1915) as the only Phillies pitchers to strike out 200 or more batters and hold opponents to a batting average of .200 or lower. His 0.976 WHIP was the fifth-lowest in team history.REST OF ROTATION: Right-hander Jake Arrieta (10-11 Michael Conforto Jersey , 3.96) isn’t going anywhere because of his big contract. Fellow righties Zach Eflin (11-8, 4.36), Vince Velasquez (9-12, 4.85) and Nick Pivetta (7-14, 4.77) showed flashes but lacked consistency. It’s likely at least one of the trio returns and all three could be back.CLOSING TIME: Rookie Seranthony Dominguez (2.95 ERA, 16 for 20 in save opportunities, 74 Ks in 58 innings) struggled after an outstanding start and then finished strong. Hector Neris lost his closer’s job, got demoted and was excellent down the stretch. Several relievers had up-and-down seasons. The Phillies like their bullpen depth.INCONSISTENT OFFENSE: The Phillies finished last in average (.234) and were 22nd in runs. More hitters regressed as coaches emphasized launch angle instead of contact. Six players hit at least 15 homers but only two teams struck out more. Left fielder/first baseman Rhys Hoskins (.246, 34 homers, 96 RBIs) will be part of the nucleus going forward. Catcher Jorge Alfaro (.262, 10 http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-jose-reyes-jersey , 37) and infielder Scott Kingery (.226, 8, 35) will get another chance to prove they can be regulars. But there aren’t many other guarantees. Outfielder Odubel Herrera had a career-high in homers (22) and career-low in average (.255). Same for second baseman Cesar Hernandez (.253, 15, 60). Third baseman Maikel Franco (.270, 22, 68) and outfielder Nick Williams (.256, 17, 50) aren’t locks to be back.CHASING STARS: The Phillies will make a strong push for Harper and Machado. They spent big bucks on Arrieta ($75 million, three years), first baseman Carlos Santana ($60 million Jeurys Familia Jersey , three years) and right-handed relievers Pat Neshek (2.59 ERA, five saves) and Tommy Hunter (3.80 ERA, four saves) last offseason and got varying results. Ownership has deep pockets and a need to improve attendance. Harper or Machado or both would excite fans and significantly upgrade the lineup. SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants get an opportunity to play spoiler against the team they’d most enjoy spoiling — the Los Angeles Dodgers — when the longtime rivals close out the regular season with a three-game series that begins Friday night.Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.20 ERA), the star of his last AT&T Park appearance with his bat, is scheduled to duel Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3, 2.00), who pitched brilliantly the last time he faced San Francisco.The Dodgers (88-71) enter the series with a chance to win the National League West, capture an NL wild card or miss the playoff entirely, all to be determined within three games against a team that has beaten them nine of 16 this season.Article continues below ...LA will take the field Friday night one game behind the Colorado Rockies (89-70) in the West, and one game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals (87-72) in the wild-card race. The Rockies host the Washington Nationals on Friday night Mike Piazza Jersey , and the Cardinals begin a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.The Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves have all already clinched playoff spots in the NL.“Not how we scripted it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after Wednesday’s second consecutive loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, which dropped LA into second place.“We’re a very dangerous team. I know we believe in ourselves. Now our focus has to turn to the Giants.”Ryu has been the Dodgers’ hottest pitcher of late, coming off back-to-back shutout efforts covering a total of 13 innings against Colorado and San Diego. He has allowed just eight hits in those two wins.The 31-year-old has faced the Giants 14 times in his career, going 4-6 with a 3.09 ERA. He’s 4-3 with a 3.38 ERA in eight starts in San Francisco.Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford homered against Ryu in an earlier meeting this season at AT&T Park, a game the Giants won 6-4 in April. But Ryu got a measure of revenge in an Aug. 15 start in LA, pitching six innings of three-hit, shutout ball.He’ll be facing a Giants team that has been out of playoff contention for more than a month. They’ve lost six of their last seven, including a three-game sweep last week at the hands of the Cardinals, who gained ground on the Dodgers in the process.Joe Panik http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-jose-reyes-jersey , who began the season with consecutive game-winning home runs against the Dodgers, believes the Giants still have some fight in them.“We’re all playing for pride, for the Giants name on the front of the jersey,” he said after Wednesday’s 3-2 home loss to San Diego. “The rivalry with the Dodgers, having them at home, they’ve got these games on the line … that’s going to give us a little extra incentive to lay it all out there.”Bumgarner beat the Dodgers 5-2 on Aug. 13, allowing a home run to Justin Turner among seven hits in six innings.He also lost a 3-1 decision in LA in June when Matt Kemp and Enrique Hernandez took him deep.Bumgarner has more career wins against the Dodgers (15) than any other team. He has gone 15-10 with a 2.61 ERA in 31 meetings, including 30 starts.The respected hitter was last seen pinch-hitting in the 12th inning against the Padres on Tuesday night. He delivered his first career walk-off hit, a single that ended a 5-4 win.Bumgarner has gone 2-for-10 with four strikeouts in his career against Ryu.

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The Blue Jays are also well out of contention

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