Thursday, June 11, 2015

Phillies Continue To Be Haunted By De Jesus!

GAME RECAP: Reds Sweep Phils 5-2

Ivan De Jesus Jr. hit a three-run homer and Brayan Pena had a 4-for-4 day at the plate on Wednesday to lead the Reds over the Phillies, 5-2, for a sweep the three-game series at Great American Ball Park. Four of the Reds' five runs came in the first inning on an RBI single by Pena and De Jesus' homer. Pena would add another RBI single in the seventh. With the win, the Reds matched their season-high four-game winning streak. Reds rookie starter Jon Moscot picked up his first career win in his second start. Moscot gave up two earned runs off six hits and two walks over six innings. He also recorded his first career hit with a single in the sixth inning. "I was able to just settle in early," Moscot said. "My sinker was effective, I was getting ground balls and [we] played some great defense, made some good plays. I'm just getting ahead of hitters and mixing it up." Phillies starter Jerome Williams dropped to 3-6 with his third loss in his last five starts. Williams gave up four earned runs, nine hits, one walk and recorded three strikeouts in six innings on the mound. "Obviously, the first inning was a rough one." Williams said. "Those last five were where I wanted to be. Hopefully, I can take that into my next start."

  • Chase Utley represented the go-ahead run when he came to the plate in the seventh inning with two on, two outs, and Cincinnati leading, 4-2. The Reds countered with lefty reliever Tony Cingrani, who retired Utley on a fly ball to left. Philadelphia's No. 3 hitter was 0-for-3 and is in an 0-for-21 skid that has dropped his batting average to .185. "I feel fine," Utley said. "You just have to continue to battle and try to make improvements on a daily basis."
  • Phillies backup catcher Cameron Rupp, batting in the No. 8 spot in the order, drove in both of Philadelphia's first two runs with two-out hits. His second-inning single to left followed a walk to Cesar Hernandez and scored Ryan Howard from second. Rupp's fourth-inning double to the left-field corner scored Hernandez, who singled with two outs and stole second. "I liked the way he played today, and I like the way he's played the last few games," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Rupp. "He's swinging the bat and he's got a good arm. He works hard behind the plate."
  • Sandberg challenged Brennan Boesch's two-out infield single in the fourth inning, claiming the throw from second baseman Utley to first baseman Howard had arrived before Boesch's left foot touched the bag, but the call stood after review.
  • The Phillies are 7-23 away from home this season, their worst road record after 30 games since 1941 (6-24).
  • This weekend's games wrap up the season series between the Pirates and Phillies. The teams split four games in Philadelphia on May 11-14.
  • The 10 active Phillies who have faced Locke are a combined 6-for-45 (.133) against him.
  • Pittsburgh's Corey Hart is 8-for-24 (.333) against Correia, with a double, triple, and home run.

Kevin Correia realizes that, if he pitches well, he could very well be spending the rest of the summer in Philadelphia. "This is a good opportunity, but it's also a great city to play in, a great sports city," Correia said. "Philadelphia was always a place I would enjoy going to." The 34-year-old right-hander will try to take advantage of his opportunity Friday night when he makes his first start in a Phillies uniform against Pittsburgh at PNC Park. Teams closer to postseason contention than the Phillies are likely to soon begin asking about the availability of starting pitchers Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang. If one or both are traded, that leaves the door open for Correia. He signed a free-agent contract on Monday and threw a bullpen session Tuesday in preparation for his start in Pittsburgh. "Obviously, the business side of baseball is that, sometimes, guys get moved," Correia said. Correia exercised an opt-out clause in his contract on May 29 and was released by San Francisco after having made six starts for Triple-A Sacramento (0-1, 3.58 ERA). The California native made 32 appearances (26 starts) for the Twins and Dodgers last year (7-17, 5.44). He has a career 4.59 ERA while pitching for San Francisco, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Los Angeles. The Pirates will counter with Jeff Locke, who has owned the Phillies in four career starts against them. Locke is 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA in those games, including two victories in 2014. The 27-year-old left-hander began the season with a pair of wins over Milwaukee, but he has just one victory to show for his last nine starts.


Sticking To The Plan – Johnny Almaraz entered the 2015 Draft with a specific plan, and he believes the Phillies executed it. Almaraz, who ran his first Draft as the Phillies' amateur scouting director, used 13 of the organization's first 18 selections on hitters. He then picked 10 consecutive pitchers from the 19th to the 28th round. "There is some offensive potential in the Draft," Almaraz said Wednesday night. "We feel there are some strong hitters there that are going to have a chance to be everyday players at the Major League level. Position players are becoming a rarity. My feeling is we can find pitching down late. So I tried to go from the 19th round on down with a bunch of pitchers." Here is the breakdown of Almaraz's first Draft: 27 college players; 13 high school players; 21 position players (nine outfielders, four shortstops, three catchers, two first baseman, two third basemen, one second baseman); 19 pitchers (12 right-handers, seven left-handers). Almaraz pointed out that most of the Phillies' selections had good statistics at whatever level they played. He said the organization's analytics crew played a considerable role in that. "We combined in making decisions," he said. "The primary focus was ability, but we looked at the metrics to help us. I'm very old school, but I am a big believer in metrics, too. It's a piece of the puzzle for me to make decisions." Some of the team's high school selections on Day 3 are going to be difficult to sign, but the Phillies plan to follow them during the summer. That group includes left-hander Will Stewart (20th round), outfielder Von Watson (29th round), left-hander Nick Fanti (31st round), right-hander Jacob Stevens (33rd round) and outfielder Ben Pelletier (34th round). Almaraz said with a surplus of money he hopes to pry one or two away from their college commitments. "Even a couple of the college guys that we're going to see during the summer leagues," Almaraz said. "And if we feel we need to sign them, we're going to wrap them up." Almaraz said the Phillies already have agreements with several players in the first 10 rounds. High school outfielder Greg Pickett (eighth round) announced on Twitter he has reached agreement. Players like second baseman Scott Kingery (second round) are almost signed, too. "We're just reading the fine print," Almaraz said. The Phillies selected four players with family ties to the organization: 35th-round pick Andrew Amaro (nephew of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.), 38th-round pick Beau Brundage (son of Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage), 39th-round pick Griffin Morandini (son of former Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini) and 40th-round pick Thomas McCarthy (son of Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy). "We know that they're going to go to school," Almaraz said. "It's always a good gesture, but they do have ability."

Heading Back To Philly – Austin Bossart made Philadelphia his home for the past four years, and he hopes to make it his home again in the future. He has a chance. The Phillies on Wednesday selected Bossart, a senior catcher from Penn, in the 14th round (414th pick overall) of the 2015 Draft. He is the first Penn player drafted since 2012, when the Athletics selected right-hander Vince Voiro in the 15th round. "It was a little bit of a surprise," Bossart said in a telephone interview on Wednesday evening from his home in O'Fallon, Ill. "I was very happy to have my name called by them. I've been in Philly, I've been to a few games [at Citizens Bank Park], and I'm excited to be a part of it." Bossart hopes to become the first Quakers player to make the big leagues since Mark DeRosa (1998-2013) and Doug Glanville (1996-2004). "They were two really, really great players," Bossart said. "I hope to have a career like they did." Bossart earned co-Ivy League Player of the Year and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year honors following a strong senior season. He hit .358 with 13 doubles, four home runs, 27 RBIs, a .420 on-base percentage and a .540 slugging percentage. He walked 13 times and struck out 18 times. Behind the plate, he did not commit an error, and he threw out 53 percent of attempted basestealers. He was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award. "I've always considered myself more of a defensive player first," he said. "I've improved offensively year after year. I've been very happy with that. This year I went in with the mentality of being a professional baseball player, so I sat down at the beginning of the year and said I'm going to take a professional approach to everything. It really seemed to work out for me." "I'm excited for Austin to get this opportunity," Penn coach John Yurkow said in a statement. "He is maybe the best leader I've seen during my time coaching college baseball. Knowing his skill set both offensively and defensively, I think Austin is a solid addition to the Phillies' system." One scout had told's Jonathan Mayo that Bossart would be a nice Day 2 selection, but he slipped to Day 3. That could be to the Phillies' benefit. "I didn't really hear anything from the Phillies throughout the season," Bossart said. "Then I sent them a little bit on information late in the year. I hadn't heard anything from them until this morning when [area scout Paul Murphy] told me to give him a call. He said he really liked me and he was going to throw my name in the mix. And before you know it, the Phillies had me." Bossart is eager to get started. "I went to Penn with baseball on my mind from Day 1," said Bossart, who majored in economics. "That's what I've always wanted to do since high school. Education was always a big thing for me, so it gave me the best of both worlds. But I've always had baseball on my mind."

Randolph Eager To Start Career – Cornelius Randolph has been compared to the likes of Tony Gwynn, Robinson Cano and Dmitri Young. If Randolph has a career close to any of them, the Phillies will be thrilled with their first pick in this year's Draft. Randolph answered questions Wednesday morning on a conference call, and he seems eager to get his professional career going. "I'm pretty confident," Randolph said about signing a contract in the near future, "but we'll see how it goes, though." Randolph, who is being advised by agent Scott Boras, hit .526 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 walks and a .934 slugging percentage in 17 games this season with Griffin (Ga.) High School. The Phils drafted the 18-year-old with the 10th overall pick as a shortstop, but amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said Monday night they expect Randolph to move to left field once he signs. Randolph is OK with that. "I'm open to anything, honestly," Randolph said. "I'm just ready to play ball. I've played outfield a little bit with my summer ball team, so I think I'll adapt pretty quickly." Randolph said he learned to play baseball from his father, Cedric. Father and son worked together from the time Randolph was 5 years old. "We go to the cages every day," Randolph said. "We hit buckets and buckets [of balls]." Randolph said he modeled his swing after Cano. "That's my favorite player," Randolph said. "I watched him growing up. That's where I got the little smooth swing from the left side. I know I have a lot of work to do with my hitting, but I feel like I can be a clutch hitter." The Phillies think so, too. "We love his bat," Almaraz said. "He's somebody who we feel is one of the top three hitters in the country as far as this year's Draft is concerned. Very rarely do you ever get a consensus from an entire room. There's no doubt we feel he's got a chance to be a hitter in the Major Leagues that hits for both average and power." Randolph said he went to his share of Braves games at Turner Field with his father and brother. They saw the Phils play quite a bit, and he gravitated toward Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. "Getting drafted by the Phillies is actually pretty cool," Randolph said.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 22-39. 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 43-58-0 on this day.

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