Updated Oct 22, 2019; Posted Oct 22, 2019
The Philadelphia Phillies are in the process of rebuilding their organization and they are using the New York Yankees as their template.
Step number one: Hire Brian Barber as director of amateur scouting, which the Phillies announced on Tuesday.
The Phillies have hired Brian Barber as the organization’s director of amateur scouting, the club announced today. Barber, 46, had spent the last 18 seasons (2002-19) with the New York Yankees where he was an area scout (2002-06), East Coast crosschecker (2007-09) and national crosschecker (2010-19). “We are very pleased to announce the hiring of Brian Barber as our new director of amateur scouting,” said Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak. “Brian has an extensive history in baseball, both as a player and more recently as a talent evaluator, and we are thrilled to welcome him to Philadelphia.”
A first-round (22nd overall) selection in the 1991 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Dr. Phillips High School (Fla.), Barber appeared in 186 games (183 starts) over nine minor league seasons and totaled 1041.2 innings pitched. He spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Cardinals (1995-96) and Kansas City Royals (1998-99). In high school, Barber was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior season. He was inducted into the Dr. Phillips Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and had his number retired by the school four years later.
Step number two: Hire Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter as manager. Both ex-Yankees skippers interviewed twice with the Phillies, as did former Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports Girardi is the “favorite.” The team is replacing Gabe Kapler, who was fired after two seasons at Citizens Bank Park. Girardi also is a candidate for the open managerial jobs with the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs.
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HOUSTON -- When the 2019 World Series begins Tuesday night (GameTracker), the Washington Nationals will again lean on their star-studded rotation to carry them to a series win. The Nationals are a perfect 6-0 in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg starts this postseason, and 13-2 in games Scherzer, Strasburg, or Patrick Corbin appear.
To date, the Nationals have played 10 postseason games and they've thrown 90 innings in those 10 games. Six pitchers have combined to throw a whopping 81 of those 90 innings:
Against the Cardinals in the NLCS, Washington's reliance on those six pitchers was even more extreme. They threw 33 of 36 innings in the four-game sweep. The Dodgers pushed the Nationals relief crew a little more in the NLDS, forcing pitchers other than the big six to throw six innings in the five-game series.
"We're going to play every game to go 1-0, as I talked about all year long," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said when asked about using his starters in relief again. "With that being said, if there's a situation that we feel like a starter could benefit on us capitalizing and winning a game, then so be it. But there's seven games, so we've got to be very careful of how we do things."
The Astros are much more Dodgers than Cardinals, with all due respect. Houston has a powerhouse offense and a deep lineup, one that had the lowest strikeout rate (18.2 percent) and the highest walk rate (10.1 percent) in baseball during the regular season. They also had the third lowest chase rate (27.4 percent) in the game. The Astros make you work for every out.
"Just a lot of different ways they can beat you," Scherzer said about Houston's lineup. "Predominantly right-handed but they've got a couple of left-handed bats in there that are definitely big-time threats. And just what they do up and down the order. It's a complete lineup one through nine. You've got to be executing every single pitch you go out there and throw."
In the four-game sweep over the Cardinals, the Nationals were able to rely on heavily on six pitchers because it was a short series, and their starters gave them length. The Astros probably won't afford them the same luxury. They're more likely to elevate the starter's pitch count and extend the series beyond four games. That means Washington will need more bullpen weapons to emerge to help carry the workload.
The most likely candidate: Tanner Rainey. The hard-throwing right-hander has struck out four in four innings this postseason, and seems to be earning more trust as the postseason progresses. Rainey walked 38 batters in 48 1/3 regular season innings, which is a risky control profile against a team as good as the Astros, but he also struck out 74 in those 48 1/3 innings.
Veteran changeup specialist Fernando Rodney is on the World Series roster, as are righties Javy Guerra, Joe Ross, and Wander Suero. Those last three have combined to get one (1) out this postseason. That was Suero in Game 4 of the NLDS. He faced three batters and went homer, double, ground out. Not the most confidence-inspiring effort.
In the six-game ALCS win, the Astros forced the Yankees to dip deep into their bullpen each game, and by the end of the series New York's bullpen was taxed. It's true the Yankees don't have the Nationals starters. The Nationals also don't have the Yankees bullpen. The Yankees made the bullpen thing work because they were four-to-five relievers deep.
Chances are the Nationals will need someone other than their top six pitchers to get high-leverage outs in the World Series. Rainey is the best candidate to do so, but who knows, maybe it'll be Rodney or Guerra. Ross and his wipeout slider figure to match up well against some righty hitters at the bottom of Houston's lineup as well.
The Nationals will ride their starters and the Doolittle/Hudson relief tandem as much as possible in the World Series, and hey, it may work. Those guys are awfully talented. In the event the Astros force Martinez to dip into his middle relievers, Washington will need someone to come through with some big outs. Those middle relievers could ultimately decide the series.
Major League Baseball will look into comments by a Houston Astros official that apparently made light of a star player's domestic violence suspension which was made public Monday night in a Sports Illustrated article.
After initially calling a Sports Illustrated story "an attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist," the Astros issued updated statements Tuesday afternoon from team owner Jim Crane and assistant general manager Brandon Taubman.
The first-person account from SI writer Stephanie Apstein described a scene in the Astros clubhouse in which Taubman "turned to a group of three female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, and yelled, half a dozen times, 'Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so (expletive) glad we got Osuna!'”
Osuna, the Astros closer, was suspended 75 games last season after he allegedly assaulted the mother of his then-3-year-old child.
OPINION:MLB needs to address Astros' history of troubling behavior
"Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior — whether intentional or not — that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence," MLB said in a statement issued a little over five hours before the first pitch of Game 1 between the Astros and Washington Nationals.
The Astros issued an apology on Tuesday from Taubman in which he said he realized his comments were "unprofessional and inappropriate."
"My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”
In his statement, Crane reiterated the Astros' commitment to "create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence."
However, MLB acknowledged the Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated's characterization of the incident.