The Phillies will embark on their longest road trip so far this season when they begin a four-game series on Monday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, part of a 10-game, 11-day trip.
The longest the Phillies have been on the road in 2018 has been six games. Their longest road trip comes right before the all-star break, when they’ll play 11 games in 10 days.
After facing the Dodgers, who have won eight of their last 10 games, the Phillies travel to San Francisco, facing a Giants team from whom they they swept four games earlier this month at Citizens Bank Park. The road trip ends with three games in Chicago against the Cubs.
“It’s going to be a good barometer,” outfielder Aaron Altherr said following Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Phillies (29-21) are 19-9 at home and 10-12 on the road.
“It’s going to be a good road trip,” said pitcher Nick Pivetta, who took the loss, allowing two runs in five innings. “All of us have a positive mind-set and will continue to compete the way we have been competing.”
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— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) May 28, 2018
Lots of candidates for No. 3
The Phillies select third in the June 4 MLB draft and, not surprisingly, director of amateur scouting Johnny Almaraz says the team still has plenty of work to do before making the pick.
“We have a grouping of 10 players who we feel all can be taken at three,” Almaraz said in a press conference before Sunday’s game.
Whether the Phillies take their decision last-minute or not, Almarez knows the days ahead will be busy.
“There is a lot of work because we have to go through all the medicals and we have to make sure our entire staff has their homework done,” he said.
>>READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the draft
Third baseman Maikel Franco is batting .308 this season at home (28 for 91). He has five home runs and 18 RBIs in 25 games.
After Sunday, he owned a .250 career average at Citizens Bank Park. Last season, he batted just .214 at home.
“I didn’t know about that,” he said about his increased home production while speaking before Sunday’s game. “It doesn’t matter home or away, I try to do the same thing.”
Actually, he has been doing things differently all year and so far it has paid off.
“I have been closer to the plate and I think that has really helped,” he said.
Franco is batting .263 with a team-high eight home runs. He has 31 RBIs, one behind team leader Carlos Santana.
Pitching in for saves
While some teams stick to having a traditional closer in the ninth inning, Kapler has used different options.
On Saturday, Luis Garcia became the fifth Phillie to earn a save this season when he pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the 2-1 win over Toronto. Hector Neris has nine saves and Seranthony Dominquez, Edubray Ramos and Jake Thompson (now at Lehigh Valley) all have one.
“Our role is to pitch whenever we are called on and to be ready,” Garcia said before the game.
While many relievers like to know their exact role, Garcia says it hasn’t bothered him in the least.
“We are winning,” he said. “So it is working.”