Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Fishing Is Not Good In Miami

GAME RECAP: Marlins Dominate Phillies 7-0

Dee Gordon provided the speed, slapping out three hits and stealing two bases, and Martin Prado delivered the power, connecting on a three-run homer while driving in four runs. The top-of-the-order combination gave Dan Haren plenty of support in the Marlins' 7-0 victory over the Phillies Saturday. Cole Hamels gave up a season-high six runs in six innings, the most runs allowed by the lefty since also surrendering six on April 29, 2014, to the Mets. Miami has won nine of 10, and reached 12-12 after starting 3-11. The Phillies have dropped five straight. "We've been on a nice run," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "You give all those guys in that room the credit. They've gone out there and grinded it out together and put a nice streak together. We're playing good baseball. We're pitching. We're playing good defense, getting timely hitting. "I knew we would get it going. It wasn't the start that we wanted, but at the same time, it's such a long season. It's fun to see these guys playing with confidence out there and picking each other up, and having some fun." Hamels got out of a first-and-third, no-out jam in the first inning. But in the second inning, the Marlins capitalized on a two-out walk to Gordon. Prado blasted a three-run homer to left field. Statcast measured the drive at 414 feet. And in the third inning, back-to-back doubles by Jeff Baker and J.T. Realmuto made it 4-0. Haren threw six scoreless innings, and the Marlins have now limited the opposition to three or fewer runs in 10 straight games. Philadelphia's Odubel Herrera had an eighth-inning single, extending his streak to 17 games reaching safely.

  • The Marlins tested the home plate collision rule in the first inning. With Gordon on third, Giancarlo Stanton tapped to the mound. Hamels flipped home to Carlos Ruiz and Gordon attempted to jar the ball free. Gordon was tagged out, and Miami challenged to see if Ruiz provided a lane. The review lasted one minute, 26 seconds and the out stood.
  • "Just mixing it up. He's hitting both sides of the plate, he's using the whole field. He choked up on the bat. He was able to handle both sides of the plate. Tough to pitch to right now He's the guy you want to keep off the base." -- Sandberg on pitching to Gordon.
  • Both Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Ethan Martin, who both have been nursing inflammation in their right shoulder since early April, continue with their rehabs. "They're starting long toss, but no major changes for them," Amaro Jr. said. "They're progressing, but it's slow."
The Phillies finish off the second leg of a 10-game trip on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. ET against the Marlins. Severino Gonzalez, who surrendered seven runs on 10 hits in just 2 2/3 innings in his Major League debut against the Cardinals on Tuesday, looks to bounce back after that rough start.


Not Good – Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is a competitor, so games like Saturday's 7-0 loss  to the Marlins bring out the frustration in the 10-year veteran. While Philadelphia couldn't string together hits en route to its third shutout and fifth straight loss, Hamels gave up a season-high six runs on 10 hits over six innings, while walking three batters and striking out six. He has dropped three of his first six starts. Hamels quickly fell behind in the second inning on Martin Prado's three-run homer. After an appeal play wiped out a first-and-third situation with no outs, Dan Haren executed a sacrifice bunt to place a runner at second. With two outs, Hamels walked Dee Gordon before Prado's swing. Miami would build up a 5-0 lead by the fourth and score in five different frames. "I don't like to lose, so I think that's the No. 1 thing I always preach," Hamels said. "I want to win, I want to get the opportunity to win, and it hasn't been the case because of what I've been doing. Giving up early runs, giving up home runs, giving up more than 2-3 runs. You're not giving yourself a chance or any sort of opportunity. "I might not necessarily be -- beside today -- giving up a lot of hits but walking too many guys, giving them way too much credit. When you're trying to be too fine, then I think it's hard to bounce back and try to locate the next 3-4 pitches in a row to get yourself out of a jam, as opposed to if you're locating right away and they get themselves out." When asked whether the club's struggles might be affecting Hamels' production, manager Ryne Sandberg said the southpaw appeared frustrated throughout the outing, particularly on pitches he likely wished he had back. "I think he missed some pitches, some location on pitches and he also made some good pitches that were hit," Sandberg said. "He got behind early and we had zeroes up on the offensive side of things." Hamels has walked 19 batters over 37 innings and at least two in each of his six starts. It's uncharacteristic for him. In four of his 10 seasons, he has issued less than 50 total walks. Hamels believes the staff as a whole may be picking and choosing battles rather than pitching "free and easy" because of the lack of offensive production. Guys are pressing. And when his command is off or he doesn't locate a pitch, "I get hammered." Entering Saturday, Phillies starting pitchers had a 5-13 record -- the second-lowest winning percentage in baseball. The 33 runs of support rank last in the Majors. "When you have to be very fine because of the circumstances I think you look at it is as, 'If I can't get this guy out, move to the next guy,'" Hamels said. "You're trying to get three outs without a guy advancing three bases."

Making Moves – The Phillies shook up their pitching staff with roster moves prior to Saturday's game against the Marlins. Philadelphia optioned right-hander David Buchanan to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and called up left-hander Elvis Araujo from Double-A Reading. Araujo, who signed a Major League deal with the Phillies this past winter, will join the ballclub on Sunday in Miami for the series finale. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. also announced that righty Chad Billingsley will return from two elbow surgeries to start Tuesday's game against the Braves in his first big league appearance since April 15, 2013. Buchanan struggled in five outings as the No. 3 starter in the rotation, going 0-5 with an 8.76 ERA. Over 24 2/3 innings, he gave up 24 runs on 32 hits with 15 walks and 12 strikeouts. Buchanan will join the IronPigs in Louisville on Sunday. "Like (Domonic Brown), it's not a punishment," Amaro Jr. said. "But you have to perform. For him, I think it's a matter of getting himself right. Again, we believe in him. We believe in his makeup. We believe in a lot of things. He just hasn't performed, and it's time for him to go down and get himself straightened out so we can get him back." Upon his Major League call-up on May 24, 2014, Buchanan went 6-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie. He turns 26 on May 11. "I feel for the young man because I believe he turned a corner a little bit at the end of last year and during the course of spring," Amaro Jr. said. "But this is baseball. This happens, and it's happened to a lot of players where it hasn't worked out exactly how we all would like it to work out. But I fully expect him to go out there do his work and get back. At least that's what we hope." The 23-year-old Araujo has yet to make his big-league debut and has never pitched past the Double-A level. In seven relief appearances with the Fightin' Phils, he posted a 1-2 record and 7.45 ERA. Over parts of six minor-league seasons since 2008 between the Indians and Phillies organizations, Araujo is 23-16 with a 3.97 ERA in 109 games (57 starts). He is expected to come out of the bullpen for Philadelphia. "Part of it is getting another left-hander, part of it is roster," Amaro Jr. said. "But his last couple of times he's been OK. He's been a little erratic, but his stuff's there. But we'll give him a shot. We'll give a young player a shot and see how he does." Amaro Jr. also noted that righty Jerome Williams, who got a no-decision in Friday's game against the Marlins, will be pushed back to May 6.

Feeling Good – Phillies right-hander Sean O'Sullivan successfully simulated two innings by throwing 50 pitches on the mound at Marlins Park, hours before Saturday afternoon's game. O'Sullivan, on the 15-day disabled list since April 22 (retroactive April 18) with left knee tendinitis, had a 0-1 record and a 4.91 ERA in two starts prior to the injury. "Tried to treat it like a normal outing," O'Sullivan said. "I warmed up and threw my pregame warmup like I normally would, then waited a few minutes, went out, threw a first inning of 20 pitches or so, sat down for a few minutes, back out there for another 20 or so pitches. It felt good. Threw everything, tried to make it as game-like as you can at noon with the cage out there. The idea was mostly to see how my knee would hold up, let it loose with the break in between to see if it would stiffen up or not. But it didn't, so everything feels good so far." The 27-year-old threw off a mound for the first time a couple of days ago, but it wasn't at game speed. At the time, the Phillies wanted to see whether his knee could handle the slope. On Saturday, two batters stood in and provided feedback on how he looked. O'Sullivan initially felt a tug on his knee during his first outing on April 12. When the pain persisted in his following start, the organization decided to put him on the DL rather than risk it getting worse. He has since missed two starts, including one against the Marlins on April 23 in Philadelphia. Dustin McGowan and Severino Gonzalez have each filled in for the fifth spot in the rotation. "The main goal was to see if my knee would be able to hold up under full exertion, and it did," O'Sullivan said. "Everything feels good. If it feels good tomorrow, which I anticipate it will, we'll talk about finding a rehab game and keep going one step at a time." The Phillies announced after the simulated game that O'Sullivan will make a rehab start Thursday for Class A Lakewood.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now near the bottom of the NL east at 8-17. 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 54-40-0 on this day.

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