Saturday, May 2, 2015

Phils Can’t Reel In Fish

GAME RECAP: Marlins Beat Phillies 4-3

The Marlins squandered chances all night, leaving 11 on base heading into the ninth inning. But they were finally able to break through and edge the Phillies, 4-3, in walk-off fashion on Marcell Ozuna's RBI double off Ken Giles. Ozuna's third double of the night scored Giancarlo Stanton, who had walked, from first base. The decisive run didn't come without drama. The crew chief reviewed the play to see if catcher Carlos Ruiz tagged Stanton before he touched home. The review lasted one minute, 39 seconds before Stanton was called safe, giving Miami its second walk-off of the season. The Marlins have won eight of nine, and six of seven on the homestand. "They were out of challenges so I didn't think they would review it," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "I thought it was over." Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler was perfect through three innings, but in the fourth the Phillies broke through. Ben Revere singled to center and moved to third on Odubel Herrera's hit-and-run single to right. Chase Utley then belted a three-run homer to right, making it 3-1. Utley's shot traveled 364 feet, as tracked by Statcast, and the drive's exit velocity was 97 mph. Miami pulled even at 3 in the fifth inning, cashing in on Martin Prado's RBI single and Stanton's run-scoring double off Phillies starter Jerome Williams. According to Statcast tracking, Stanton's double was clocked at 120 mph, the highest exit velocity recorded this season. The Marlins initially led by a run in the second inning on Ozuna's double and J.T. Realmuto's sacrifice fly to right.

  • Utley, who finished April with a .114 average for the lowest mark of his 13-year career, turned on Koehler's first-pitch fastball for the go-ahead, three-run homer to right in the fourth. Prior to that at-bat, Utley had gone 3-for-46 (.065) with just four RBIs since April 15. He also hadn't hit a home run in 14 games.
  • With a pair of runners in scoring position and one out in a 3-3 ballgame in the sixth inning, the Phillies elected to intentionally walk Gordon to load the bases. Jeanmar Gomez induced a 5-4-3 groundout by Prado to escape any damage. It marked the second double play turned by the Phillies on the night.
  • The Phillies had a big fourth inning, scoring three runs. They nearly had a fourth. But with Howard on third, Koehler threw a pitch to Williams that went to the backstop. Howard raced for home, as Realmuto retrieved the ball and flipped to Koehler covering the plate. Howard slid head-first, and home plate umpire Brian O'Nora ruled him out. The Phillies challenged to see if Koehler was in violation of the home plate collision rule. After a review of two minutes, 14 seconds, the call stood. "I pulled my hand back and he just went straight down," Howard said. "That's why I was kind of giving a look of surprise. If I would've felt it I would've said, 'Hey, I'm out. Ryne, don't even waste your time.' I don't know. That's a tough one." "I know I tagged him, but I wasn't exactly sure where,'' Koehler said. "I mean, I knew I got one hand. I don't know where the other one was. It looked like one of those plays that was tough to overturn. Either way they called it was tough."
  • In the ninth inning, Ozuna drove in the game-winning run with an RBI double into the left-center gap. As Herrera tracked down the ball, Stanton raced home from first and was ruled safe on the play. His feet-first slide beat Ruiz's tag on a relay throw from Freddy Galvis. "[Herrera] got it in there quick," Sandberg said. "Throw on line and he's out from Freddy. He got in there quick and gave us a shot. It was close at home."
  • "Ozuna's a fastball hitter. He's on the fastball typically. That pitch just happened to be the one that he could elevate, but Ozuna's a fastball type of a hitter. Anything down a little bit would've been preferable. That's the strategy with him." -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, on the game-winner.
  • Ryan Howard moved into sole possession of first place for most games at first base in Phillies franchise history (1,299). Howard surpassed Fred Luderus, who spent 11 seasons with the organization from 1910-20.
Cole Hamels picked up his first win of the season in his last start, allowing one run on four hits with season highs in strikeouts (nine) and walks (four) over seven innings against the Cardinals. The southpaw received a no-decision on April 22 in Philadelphia against the Marlins, despite giving up just an unearned run over six innings.


Turning Around? – Chase Utley's May started much like his April. In his first at-bat during Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Marlins, he swung and missed badly on an offering from Tom Koehler. How badly? His bat flew toward second base where it landed near Dee Gordon, who retrieved it and threw it back to Utley. On the next pitch, Utley broke it on an easy groundout to end the first inning. But Utley changed his approach his next time at the plate and his fortune changed. After consecutive singles to open the fourth, Utley sent Koehler's first-pitch fastball to right for his third homer of the season, giving Philadelphia a 3-1 lead. In six previous at-bats this season swinging at the first pitch, Utley had two hits and two RBIs with a .333 average and a .429 on-base percentage. In one swing, Utley drove in as many runs as he had produced over the past eight games. It also gave him 900 RBIs for his 13-year career. The long ball was his first since April 14, when he blasted a pair. Though Utley finished 1-for-4 and the Phillies fell in walk-off fashion for their fourth straight loss, his swing is an encouraging sign. Over the past week, Utley has made better contact, including three balls to the warning track in right-center field at Busch Stadium. They were just finding defenders' gloves. His historically poor April had been widely documented. Entering that at-bat, he was just 3-for-46 (.065) with one run, five walks, six strikeouts and four RBIs since April 15. His .114 average marked his lowest output of any month in the past 13 years and was also tied with Roy Sievers' futility in 1962 for the worst in franchise history (minimum 40 plate appearances). "He's been stinging the ball," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He could have five or six doubles added to his stats right now very easily with any luck at all. This was a rare jump on a first pitch. It happened to be a changeup, so maybe change his strategy a little bit that at-bat with the men on base and try to make something happen. You don't see him swing very often at the first pitch and [he] reacted to a change."

Coming Soon – With Phillies right-hander Chad Billingsley's pitch count built up after four rehab starts, the organization has an impending decision to make concerning his return to a Major League mound. Billingsley, who gave up two unearned runs on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings on Thursday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, is working back from a pair of right elbow surgeries. "He got stretched out to 99 pitches," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said prior to his club's game on Friday against the Marlins. "We're going to talk about that either today or tomorrow morning. He's progressed well, so he's in a spot now where -- 99 pitches -- where we'll talk about and see what's next for him." In his four rehab starts, the 30-year-old righty has posted a 4.74 ERA. He last pitched in the big leagues on April 15, 2013, as a member of the Dodgers. Billingsley would likely replace rookie Severino Gonzalez, who is slated to start Sunday's series finale, in the rotation. "It's good to see his body and everything pass the test and his arm," Sandberg said of Billingsley. "I know that he's been pleased with that part of it along with the progression he's had."

Rookie All Star? – All Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera did during his first month in the big leagues is achieve a feat not seen in the organization's 133-year history. Herrera, who reached base safely in each of his last 15 games in April, became the first Phillies rookie with an on-base streak that long in April, according to Elias Sports Bureau. As if that wasn't enough, Herrera leads all National League rookies in hits (25), doubles (six), triples (two), total bases (35) and stolen bases (four). He also ranks second in extra-base hits (eight) and OPS (.763) as well as third in average (.301) and runs (nine). Herrera and his hot-hitting teammates, like shortstop Freddy Galvis and third baseman Cody Asche, are included on the NL All-Star ballot that was released earlier this week. Fans can cast their votes for starters at and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots. Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info. Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities. The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now near the bottom of the NL east at 8-16. 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 47-48-0 on this day.

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