- The Phillies have been desperate for offense lately, and Howard provided just enough when he ripped a two-run home run to right field to give the Phillies a one-run lead and hand Norris the loss. It was Howard's 12th home run and just his second since May 23.
- Chase Utley could've started a potential inning-ending double play, but he threw a ball into left field with one out in the seventh. It put runners at the corners with one out, but Garcia struck out Machado and Snider swinging on sliders to get out of the inning.
- Teams regularly employ the defensive shift against Howard, but so far, he has not tried to drop a bunt down the third-base line to keep defenses honest. "That's an individual player thing and it takes some practice and maybe in Ryan's case. a little bit of nerve to try something like that," Sandberg said. "I think the fact that he has not tried it is the biggest thing holding him back from trying. ... I haven't seen him work on that, no. I was glad that he did hit the ball out of the ballpark, though."
- "It's been tough. Every time I get a chance to come in there and get back on the right foot, I'm pretty happy with that." -- Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who picked up his 13th save in just his second save opportunity since May 20.
- The Phillies avoided being swept in four consecutive series of two or more games for the first time since Sept. 20-29, 1985.
- Philadelphia edged Baltimore, 2-1, on Thursday, halting its losing streak at nine. The Phillies had been swept in four straight series and hadn't won since June 7.
- The Phils will need to make a corresponding roster move before Friday's game to add Aumont. The righty pitched in five games for Philadelphia last season and had a 19.06 ERA in 5 2/3 innings. This year, he's 3-4 with a 2.35 ERA at Triple-A.
- The Cards won three of four games against the Phillies in late April. St. Louis scored 26 runs in the series at Busch Stadium.
Friday, June 19, 2015
Howard’s Blast Snaps Streak
GAME RECAP: Phillies Shock Orioles 2-1
The Phillies snapped a nine-game losing streak Thursday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over the Orioles at Citizens Bank Park. They can thank Ryan Howard, who hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning off Bud Norris, and a strong performance from the pitching staff for snapping the team's longest skid since an 11-game losing streak in September 1999. "I mean, nobody comes to the field every day to lose," Howard said. "Everybody comes with a positive attitude. We're trying to go out there and do what we need to do to win and we haven't been able to come through. Today, take it, savor it and try to bring it back and do it again tomorrow." The Orioles took three of four from the Phillies in this week's home-and-home series, but could not complete the sweep. They scored 29 runs in the first three games, which included a 19-3 victory Tuesday, but they managed just six hits in the finale.
OTHER NOTES FROM THE DAY:
Two teams heading in opposite directions clash this weekend in Philadelphia as the National League Central-leading Cardinals continue their eight-game road trip against the Phillies, who are fifth in the NL East. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said righty Lance Lynn, who has a right forearm strain, has been playing catch and is expected to join the team in Philadelphia. Lynn was placed on the 15-day disabled list June 8. In Lynn's place, lefty Tyler Lyons will start Friday. Lyons picked up a win in his last start, giving up two earned runs in five innings. He had started three games earlier this season. Phillies ace lefty Cole Hamels was supposed to start Friday, but he was scratched with a mild right hamstring strain. In his place, righty Phillippe Aumont will be called up from Triple-A and get the nod.
Howard Showing Power – The Orioles had bashed 12 home runs in 31 innings against the Phillies when Ryan Howard stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. He returned the favor when he hit a two-out, two-run home run to right field to give the Phillies the lead in a 2-1 victory. It snapped the Phils' nine-game losing streak, which was their longest since an 11-game skid in September 1999. "I mean, nobody comes to the field every day to lose," Howard said. "Everybody comes with a positive attitude. We're trying to go out there and do what we need to do to win and we haven't been able to come through. Today, take it, savor it and try to bring it back and do it again tomorrow." Howard had hit .303 (33-for-109) with seven doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 21 RBIs and a 1.011 OPS in 30 games from April 21 through May 23, but he had hit just .151 (11-for-73) with five doubles, one homer, five RBIs and a .442 OPS in 20 games since. So this home run felt good, especially considering the circumstances. "[Orioles pitcher Bud Norris] left a fastball kind of middle in and was able to catch up to it," Howard said. "Threw me one early in the count and then came back with it again. Was able to just catch up to it." Overall, Howard is hitting .236 with 15 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 30 RBIs with a .747 OPS. He could be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, although it will be difficult because of one significant stumbling block: money. The Phillies would have to fork over the vast majority of the remaining money on Howard's deal to move him. That includes a little more than half of the $25 million remaining on his contract this season, $25 million next season, plus a $10 million buyout on a club option for 2017. "I mean, it's what the situation is," Howard said about the organization trying to rebuild for contention no earlier than 2017. "You've got to understand, I guess, what it is they're trying to do. You understand the situation you're in. But like I said, you've got to come with the mindset of being positive and just try to continue to go out and compete every single day."
Pulling Things Together – Chase Utley airmailed a ball into left field in the seventh inning Thursday at Citizens Bank Park, which looked like the opening the Orioles needed to send the Phillies to their 10th consecutive loss. Utley's error put runners at the corners with one out. Seven pitches, six sliders, all strikes. Game over. "That was game saving, the moment of the game," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "I was just throwing whatever Chooch [Carlos Ruiz] was calling," Garcia said. "He was calling slider, so I was throwing it. It was working, so why change it?" Garcia pitched in the middle of some fine pitching performances against the Orioles, who scored 29 runs in the three previous days against the Phillies. Sean O'Sullivan got things started, allowing four hits, one run, two walks and struck out a career-high seven in five innings. He threw just 80 pitches, but Sandberg decided O'Sullivan had done enough. "His most was 95 to 98 [pitches], third time through the lineup," Sandberg said, explaining his decision. "And also with the offense, we're a double and a single away from a run, so we took a chance." "I was lobbying to try and go back out, but that decision is not mine to make," O'Sullivan said. Jake Diekman and Ken Giles sandwiched Garcia's effort with scoreless innings and Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 13th save with a perfect ninth. It was just his second save opportunity since May 20. Papelbon is a candidate to be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, although he said it is not on his mind. "When is it?" he said. "I don't know when it is. I don't really worry about none of that."
Hamels Scratched From Start – This isn't the news the Phillies needed. They announced Thursday afternoon that Cole Hamels has been scratched from Friday night's start against the Cardinals because of a mild right hamstring strain. Triple-A right-hander Phillippe Aumont will start in his place. Hamels is 5-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 14 starts this season, but his health is critical as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday he is hopeful the Phillies can make some trades to speed up the team's rebuilding process. Hamels is the team's most valuable piece, so they must hope the injury does not linger and Hamels returns to the rotation shortly. A roster move will be made before Friday's game to accommodate Aumont on the 25-man and 40-man rosters.
Hamels Has Some Fun – Cole Hamels' locker at Citizens Bank Park has been completely cleaned out. A trade? No. A prank? Yes. The Phillies announced Thursday afternoon that Hamels has been scratched from Friday night's start against the Cardinals because of a mild right hamstring strain. Triple-A right-hander Phillippe Aumont will start in his place. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg had few answers about the injury, other than Hamels told him that he does not believe it is serious and he might miss just one start. "He did not feel like it was a long term thing," said Sandberg, who left open the possibility about a stint on the disabled list. "The fact that it showed up 24 hours later [following a bullpen session Tuesday]. He said somewhat minimal." But knowing that he is a strong candidate to be traded before the July 31 Trade Deadline, the pitcher himself used his late scratch to empty his locker, removing his name plate and everything else. Typically, that would signify a trade, but Hamels obviously has not been traded. Not yet. Hamels is 5-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 14 starts, but his health is critical as the Deadline approaches. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday he is hopeful the Phillies can make some trades to speed up the team's rebuilding process. Hamels is the team's most valuable piece, so they must hope the injury does not linger and Hamels returns to the rotation shortly. A roster move will be made before Friday's game to accommodate Aumont on the 25-man and 40-man rosters.
Bullpen Swap – The Phillies are hoping to get much more from Jake Diekman this time around. The team announced Thursday morning it had recalled Diekman from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. To make room for him on the 25-man roster, the Phillies designated right-hander Dustin McGowan for assignment. The Phillies optioned Diekman on June 4 because he had struggled in 25 appearances, posting a 6.75 ERA, which remains the third-highest ERA among 142 qualified relief pitchers in baseball. However, Diekman threw seven scoreless innings in six appearances in Lehigh Valley. He allowed five hits, one walk and struck out seven. He also picked up three saves. McGowan became the first Phillies relief pitcher in baseball history to allow five home runs in an appearance, which happened Tuesday in a 19-3 loss in Baltimore. He posted a 6.94 ERA in 14 appearances.
Great Start – Aaron Nola has come a long way since a shaky season-opening start for the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils. On April 11, the Phillies' No. 2 prospect (No. 31 overall) gave up four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings and started his season with a 7.71 ERA. Afterwards, he buckled down and allowed only 12 earned runs in his next 72 innings. Nola went 7-2 over that span, posting a K/BB ratio of 57-to-9. Earlier this week, he was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and he quickly dispelled any thoughts of a rough start on Thursday night. The 22-year-old righty dominated Buffalo, giving up four hits while striking out seven in five shutout innings. Nola hurled 98 pitches on the night -- 66 for strikes -- and outpitched Blue Jays No. 1 prospect Daniel Norris, who allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Darin Ruf, Cord Phelps and Jayson Nix all contributed one RBI in the IronPigs' 3-0 win.
The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 23-45. 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 47-55-0 on this day.