Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Phillies Can’t Hold Off Mets in Extras

GAME RECAP: Mets Edge Phillies 5-4

Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off single Tuesday at Citi Field, leading the Mets to a 5-4 win over the Phillies in 10 innings. Juan Lagares sparked the winning rally with a leadoff single against Jeanmar Gomez in the 10th, moving into scoring position when Lucas Duda drew a walk off Elvis Araujo. After Daniel Murphy hit into a double play and Michael Cuddyer walked, Flores then served a single into left-center field to plate Lagares. "It's a good feeling, obviously because we got the win," Flores said. "That's always a good feeling." Fresh off eight shutout innings last time out against the Cardinals, Mets starter Jacob deGrom dominated early to extend his scoreless-innings streak to 15, before Hansel Robles allowed two inherited runners to score in the eighth. Robles also gave up one of his own to turn a three-run lead into a 3-3 tie, before Maikel Franco drove home the go-ahead run with a single off Carlos Torres. But the Mets fought back with a game-tying run in the bottom of the eighth, when Flores plated Duda, who had drawn a leadoff walk, with a sacrifice fly off Phillies reliever Ken Giles. Franco prevented that rally from being fatal when he made a spectacular barehanded play on Darrell Ceciliani's soft grounder to third. "Obviously, we had a rough eighth inning, but we kept pushing," Flores said. "We never gave up. We got it back."

  • Franco came up with a two-out, go-ahead single in the top half of the eighth inning. Then in the bottom half, the Mets had Murphy on third base with two outs. He represented the go-ahead run when Ceciliani chopped a ball to the left of the mound. Franco charged and made a fantastic off-balance, barehanded snag and throw to first base to end the inning. "That's total instincts and arm strength and ability just taking over," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
  • The Phillies did not have a runner reach second base until the eighth inning, when Carlos Ruiz and Cesar Hernandez reached on singles against deGrom. He left the game, Robles entered and everything changed in an instant. Ben Revere tripled to clear the bases and Freddy Galvis singled to score Revere to tie the game.
  • Utley went 2-for-4 with one walk. It was his fifth multihit game out of his last seven. He is hitting .417 (15-for-36) with five doubles, one triple, six RBIs and a 1.111 OPS in his last 11 games.
  • "I didn't get as much on it as I would like in an ideal situation." -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, whose flip to Galvis at second base arrived low and late in the third inning. It prevented a double play and led to a three-run rally for the Mets.
  • Phillies pitchers have struggled in day games this season, with a 4.65 ERA. That's almost a full run higher than in night games, in which the Phillies have an ERA of 3.70.
  • Both teams have been stymied by right-handed pitching so far this season. The Phillies and Mets occupy the National League's last and second-to-last spots, respectively, in batting average against righties.
  • Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson has three career hits against O'Sullivan -- all home runs. In 10 career plate appearances, he's also struck out twice.

Noah Syndergaard will make his fourth Major League start Wednesday, closing a three-game home series against Sean O'Sullivan and the Phillies, who will be trying to salvage the finale at Citi Field. After being called up last month, Syndergaard has pitched well, but to mixed results. He carries a 1-2 record and a 3.63 ERA. He struggled with control in his first start -- walking four batters in 5 1/3 innings -- but allowed just one free pass in his last two starts. In five starts this season, O'Sullivan is 1-3 with a 3.54 ERA. He has never faced the Mets as a starting pitcher. Neither right-hander has pitched past the sixth inning this season. Syndergaard could change that after Mets manager Terry Collins announced a switch to a six-man rotation designed to give Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom extra rest.


Both Sides Of The Ball – This is why the Phillies think Maikel Franco has a bright future. This is why they want him at third base. Franco came up with a two-out, go-ahead single in the top of the eighth inning in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Mets in 10 innings at Citi Field. He then kept the game tied when he made a fantastic, barehanded play and throw to first base to end the bottom half of the inning. The hit was big. The play was spectacular. The Phillies had runners at the corners with one out when Mets left-hander Alex Torres struck out Ryan Howard looking on a 1-2 fastball. Mets right-hander Carlos Torres entered to face Franco, who had hit just .115 (3-for-26) in his last seven games, including his first three at-bats against Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom on Tuesday. But Franco, the Phillies' No. 3 prospect, laced a 2-0 cutter into left field to score Freddy Galvis to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. "A big moment for him," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He has that potential of getting a hit in that situation in my book. It was good to see him come through there." But back to the play. Phillies setup man Ken Giles walked Lucas Duda to start the bottom of the eighth and it came back to haunt him as Duda scored on a sacrifice fly by Wilmer Flores to tie the game. The Mets then had Daniel Murphy on third with two outs when Darrell Ceciliani chopped a ball to the left of the mound. Franco charged, barehanded the ball and threw off-balance to first base to get Ceciliani to end the inning. Not many third basemen could make that play. Franco did. "I mean, it's tough," Franco said. "It's really tough." Neither Franco nor Sandberg thought Franco would be able to nab Ceciliani. "Not really," Franco said. "No, I did not," Sandberg said. "When you're talking about a swinging bunt, you're not even in and you might not even have the right angle to defend a bunt. So he has to come straight at the ball, field it ... that's total instincts and arm strength and ability just taking over."

Walk This Way – Walks continue to haunt the Phillies' bullpen. The Phillies scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning to take a one-run lead in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Mets in 10 innings at Citi Field. But a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth inning led to the tying run and a single and a walk to start the 10th allowed the Mets to win the game. The Phillies' bullpen leads Major League Baseball with 74 walks. The Phillies have lost five of their last six games. They need to win Wednesday's series finale to avoid a sweep. "Walks came into play," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. Phillies setup man Ken Giles walked Lucas Duda on seven pitches to start the eighth inning. Daniel Murphy followed with a double into the right-field corner to put runners on second and third with no outs. Duda scored the tying run on Wilmer Flores' sacrifice fly to center field. "Yeah, he was out of the zone right from the get-go," Sandberg said about Giles. "Looked like he was really struggling to get the ball down and actually throw strikes down in the zone. He was falling behind and it was a little bit of a struggle for him." Jeanmar Gomez pitched the ninth and started the 10th, when he served up a single to Juan Lagares. Sandberg called for left-hander Elvis Araujo to face Duda. Entering the season, this would have been a spot for left-hander Jake Diekman, but Sandberg said they had Diekman slated as their long man if the game were to go deep into extra innings. Diekman has a 7.56 ERA in 20 appearances. Araujo walked Duda to put runners on first and second with no outs. Araujo got Murphy to hit into a double play, but he walked Michael Cuddyer to put runners at the corners. Flores followed with a single to left-center to win it. Sandberg said they did not consider intentionally walking Flores to face the light-hitting Eric Campbell because he wanted to give Araujo some wiggle room. In other words, Araujo already walked two batters on his own. Loading the bases in that situation might have been an issue. Sandberg also said he gave no consideration to using closer Jonathan Papelbon in either inning. Typically, most managers do not use their closer in a tie game on the road. "You've got to have a closer if you get the lead somewhere," Sandberg said. "Then you get burned the other way."

Front Office Face Palm – Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged the firestorm he caused Tuesday in Philadelphia following comments he made about Phillies fans, saying they "don't understand the game" and "then they [gripe] and complain because we don't have a plan." He apologized before Tuesday's game against the Mets at Citi Field. "I'm a fan myself," Amaro said. "I understand the passion and the knowledge that our fans have for our game and the other major sports, all the other sports in Philly. The comments weren't meant to disparage our fans by any stretch of the imagination. I probably used my words incorrectly or poorly. I want to apologize for that." The crux of the comments in a story centered on some fans' desire to see the team's top prospects promoted to the big leagues on a rebuilding team. Amaro has said repeatedly those prospects will not be rushed. Amaro's harsh comments resonated loudly among a frustrated fan base. The Phillies have been losing more and more since they won a franchise-record 102 games in 2011, despite remaining among the top spenders in baseball. They finished 81-81 in 2012 and 73-89 the next two seasons. They entered Tuesday 19-28, which is the fourth-worst record in baseball. The organization initiated a rebuilding plan once Pat Gillick became team president last August, but that has not removed Amaro from the hot seat. Gillick has publicly supported Amaro, but Amaro's contract expires at the end of this season and Gillick has said Amaro's status will not be addressed before then. It is not a stretch to think Amaro's comments this week could come back to haunt him. "The biggest thing that bothers me about it is how the organization is perceived -- not me personally," Amaro said. "We've always been one of those organizations, at least as long as I've been in the front office, to understand the fan and understand that the fans are the people who pay our salaries and support us. Am I worried about it for me? No. I'm worried about it for the organization, because they shouldn't have to suffer because I made a bad quote." Amaro spoke with Gillick on Tuesday. "We had a discussion about it, and he said it was unfortunate and thought it was taken out of context," Amaro said. "If you look at the breadth of the story ... our job is to make sure the fans love this club for a long time, and we have to do what we can to put the team in a position for the fans to enjoy it. Sadly, that point gets lost because of my quote." Amaro said the Phillies will continue to develop their prospects at what the organization considers the appropriate speed. Right-hander and Phillies No. 2 prospect Aaron Nola, who many fans are clamoring to see, has made 20 Minor League starts. That is fewer than Max Scherzer (30), Cole Hamels (36), Clayton Kershaw (44), Matt Harvey (46), Sonny Gray (53) and Shelby Miller (78) made before their big league promotions. "We have to build these guys in a way that prepares them to be Major Leaguers," Amaro said. That part of the message makes sense, but can fans get past the other part? "I think the thing that bothers me the most about this stuff that happened today and the quotes I made is that I don't want to detract from the fact that there are some really positive things happening here in a way that the fans can focus on those," Amaro said. "Hopefully they can focus on the progress as opposed to my misguided quotes."

Draft Time – Three members of the 500 Home Run Club -- Ken Griffey Jr., Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt -- and 20 other former All-Stars will headline the list of team representatives on the floor at MLB Network's Studio 42 when the 2015 MLB Draft gets underway on June 8. MLB announced the annual list of club reps on Tuesday and it is clear that the 50th anniversary of the event will be celebrated in style on that first night of selections in Secaucus, N.J. Griffey, a likely first-ballot inductee next summer, will sit at the Mariners table in a room that includes current Hall of Famers including Jackson (Yankees table), Schmidt (Phillies), Tommy Lasorda (Dodgers), and Andre Dawson and Tony Perez (both Marlins). Other former All-Stars who will represent the clubs include: Rick Aguilera (Twins), Bob Boone (Nationals), Johnny Damon (Royals), Ryan Dempster (Cubs), Gary DiSarcina (Angels), Steve Finley (Padres), Ryan Franklin (Cardinals), Ralph Garr (Braves), Luis Gonzalez and J.J. Putz (D-backs), Ben Sheets (Brewers), Lee Smith (Giants), Mario Soto (Reds), B.J. Surhoff (Orioles), Robby Thompson (Indians), Alan Trammell (Tigers), Tim Wakefield (Red Sox) and Jack Wilson (Pirates). Surhoff (Milwaukee in 1985) and Griffey (Seattle in '87) were each No. 1 overall Draft picks. MLB Network and will have live coverage of the first night at this Draft, covering the top 70 picks -- or through Round 2 -- starting at 7 p.m. ET. will provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Then rounds 11-40 can be heard live on on June 10, beginning at noon ET. Prior to the start of the Draft, MLB Network and will air a Draft preview show starting at 6 ET. Of course, the previewing already is well underway. Go to to see the Top 100 Prospects list, projected top picks from analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the 2015 order of selection and more. Follow @MLBDraft now to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying. Arizona has the top overall pick, so the first table to see action on that Monday will feature a pair of former All-Stars on the phone with the club's war room back in Phoenix. Gonzalez was a fourth-round Draft pick by Houston in 1988 and Putz a sixth-rounder by Seattle in '99. Shortstops Dansby Swanson of Vanderbilt and Brendan Rodgers of Lake Mary (Fla.) High were 1-2 in Callis' mock draft last week. Ten clubs each have two selections in the first round: Astros (2 and 5), Rockies (3 and 27), Braves (14 and 28), Yankees (16 and 30), Giants (18 and 31), Pirates (19 and 32), Royals (21 and 33), Tigers (22 and 34), Dodgers (24 and 35) and Orioles (25 and 36). The Braves have a Major League-high five selections within the first 75 picks. MLB Network's live coverage will feature news, analysis, interviews with club front office personnel and representatives, footage from club draft rooms, and features and interviews with prospects and newly drafted players. MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Peter Gammons, Dan O'Dowd, Harold Reynolds and Mayo will anchor the live coverage with contributions from MLB Network's Darryl Hamilton, Al Leiter, Pedro Martinez, Dan Plesac, Bill Ripken, Sam Ryan, John Smoltz, Tom Verducci, Heidi Watney and Matt Yallof, as well as Callis and John Manuel of Baseball America. will provide Draft Tracker, the always-popular live interactive app that includes a searchable database of more than 1,500 draft-eligible players with statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. In addition to @MLBDraft for live updates and commentary, follow @MLBDraftTracker for tweets of all picks as they are made.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now near the bottom of the NL east at 19-29. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and performance this spring, don’t expect their competitive place in the standings to last. All time, the Phillies are 47-55-1 on this day.

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