Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Reds Sink The Phillies’ Leake-ing Ship

GAME RECAP: Reds Top Phils 6-4

For a second straight week, the Reds got to the Phillies' Cole Hamels, and they took the series opener, 6-4, on Monday night from Great American Ball Park. The Reds' put up five runs -- all earned -- off eight hits in six innings against Hamels to snap a career-best streak of six consecutive starts of at least seven innings pitched with two earned runs or fewer. This is also Hamels' first loss in 15 career starts against the Reds, having entered the evening 10-0 with a 1.45 ERA against them. "I made some good pitches," Hamels said. "I hung a few pitches here and there. It's Major League Baseball. You're not going to have the best luck all the time. You have to battle. We were able to score a few runs. I just wasn't able to hold them down." Reds starter Mike Leake carried a no-hitter for 6 2/3 innings last week against the Phillies but was not sharp in this one. Despite picking up his third win of the season, Leake gave up three runs -- two earned -- off 10 hits in six innings. "Mike did a terrific job, especially [with runners on] second and third, nobody out," Reds manager Bryan Price said of the jam Leake escaped in the sixth. "To get out of that with a big strikeout of [Freddy] Galvis, the intentional walk, then getting Hamels and [Ben] Revere was terrific."

  • Leake carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning vs. the Phillies last Wednesday. This time, Revere ended any chance of a no-no by leading off the game with a double to the right-field corner; he scored three batters later on Ryan Howard's two-out double to center. "The second time around [vs. Leake] went a long way with having better at-bats, better contact," Sandberg said.
  • After a passed ball by Cincinnati catcher Tucker Barnhart allowed the runners to move up, his counterpart, Carlos Ruiz, followed with a two-run single to center field that tied the score at 3 in the fourth inning.
  • In the bottom of the sixth, in only his fourth at-bat of the season, Ivan De Jesus Jr. went deep to left field for his first career home run. The two-run shot gave the Reds a two-run lead; the homer traveled an estimated 391 feet from home plate. "It kind of Frisbee-d in there," Hamels said of the cut fastball De Jesus Jr. clobbered. "It's really special, the first home run of my career in the big leagues, and first one this year," De Jesus Jr. said of the milestone. "I was telling the guys, thank God I got my first home run [ball], because I don't [have] my first base hit. I don't know, they say it got lost, so I don't know. It was 2011, so we're still looking for that ball."
  • Harang pitched for the Reds from 2003-10. He was a winner in his first three starts for Cincinnati, the first Reds pitcher to do so since Bill Bonham in 1978. Harang has a 2.88 ERA in 116 career games at Great American Ball Park.
  • Skip Schumaker is the only active Cincinnati hitter with more than 11 career at-bats against Harang. Schumaker is 10-for-38 (.263) with three doubles and a home run vs. Harang.
  • DeSclafani ranks in the top four among National League rookies in ERA, wins, starts, innings, strikeouts, and opponents' batting average (.229).

Aaron Harang, one of the more pleasant surprises of Philadelphia's 2015 season, and another pleasant surprise, Cincinnati rookie right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, square off for the second time in five days Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Great American Ball Park in the second game of the three-game series. Harang and DeSclafani were also the starters June 4, when Cincinnati ended nearly a month-long road losing streak with a 6-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies signed Harang to a free-agent contract in the offseason, and the veteran right-hander has been quite a bargain. He was charged with six runs (five earned) in the loss to Cincinnati, but that was only the second time all season Harang has allowed more than three earned runs. He carries a 2.45 ERA into Tuesday's start and has allowed 62 hits and 20 walks in 77 innings. DeSclafani (4-4, 3.60 ERA), obtained in last December's trade with Miami for Mat Latos, has also experienced only a few bumps in the road during his first full Major League season. He limited the Phillies to four runs over seven innings while outdueling Harang and has allowed more than three earned runs only three times.


Another Reclamation Project Joins The Rotation – The Phillies added a veteran presence to their rotation on Monday, signing 34-year-old right-hander Kevin Correia. Correia will start on Friday at Pittsburgh. "He was on our radar as far back as the offseason," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "He was kind of in the same mix as some other guys like [Aaron] Harang, [Chad] Billingsley and [Kevin] Slowey." Correia, who was scheduled to join the Phillies on Monday in Cincinnati, will throw one bullpen session before his start against the Pirates. "Kevin fills a need by adding depth, durability and experience to our pitching staff," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. "We hope that he can give us quality innings to take some heat off the bullpen." Correia exercised an opt-out clause in his contract on May 29 and was released by San Francisco. He made six starts for Triple-A Sacramento (0-1, 3.58 ERA), allowing 34 hits and 11 walks while striking out 25 over 37 2/3 innings. He worked seven scoreless innings against Nashville in his final Minor League start. Manager Ryne Sandberg said that the addition of Correia will give an extra day of rest to Monday and Tuesday starters Cole Hamels and Harang. "Pitching on their sixth day will be good for them," Sandberg said. Correia made a combined 32 appearances (26 starts) for the Twins and Dodgers last season (7-17, 5.44 ERA). He has a career 4.59 ERA over time spent with San Francisco, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Los Angeles. "[Correia] is a veteran," Sandberg said. "He knows the league and knows the hitters." Correia replaces Severino Gonzalez in the rotation. Gonzalez went 2-2 with an 8.69 ERA in five starts before being optioned to Lehigh Valley on Sunday. The Phillies have also signed right-handed reliever J.C. Gutierrez, who worked 61 games for the Giants last summer. Gutierrez was assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Gutierrez asked for his release from San Francisco after going 0-1 with a 4.39 ERA in one start and 13 relief appearances for Sacramento. He made 61 appearances for the Giants last summer (1-2, 3.96 ERA) and has pitched in 264 games since 2007 for the Astros, D-backs, Royals, Angels and Giants. He will join Lehigh Valley in Durham on Tuesday.

Phillies Draft Randolph At #10 – The Phillies believe they selected the best high school hitter in the country on Monday night in the 2015 Draft. They certainly hope so. The Phillies picked Cornelius Randolph with the 10th overall pick in the Draft, which continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Randolph is a left-handed hitting shortstop from Griffin, Ga., but scouting director Johnny Almaraz said he will move to left field. Almaraz is optimistic that the Phillies will sign Randolph in the near future. "We love his bat," Almaraz said of Randolph, who is listed at 6 foot 1 and 190 pounds. "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." The fact that the Phillies selected a shortstop two years after they drafted shortstop J.P. Crawford in the first round should not alarm or confuse anybody. First, scouts do not think Randolph has the quickness to remain a middle infielder. Second, high school shortstops are routinely moved to different positions once they become professionals. This group includes Mike Schmidt, Chipper Jones, Chase Utley, Jim Thome, Brandon Phillips, Chuck Knoblauch, Adam Jones, Melvin Upton, Justin Upton and Michael Cuddyer. But the Phillies like Randolph, 18, because of his potential to hit. He batted .526 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 walks and a .934 slugging percentage in 17 games this season. "It's somebody that we feel has an extremely high ceiling as far as hitting ability is concerned," Almaraz said. "There's a lot of players you could compare him to. He's got a lot of similarities with a lot of pretty good left-handed hitters. I don't want to mention any names, several. I mean, guys who are batting champions, this guy has that kind of ability." Randolph has drawn comparisons with Tony Gwynn, but time will tell. Of course, Almaraz said there was a point they would not have reached for a bat. "There was a breaking point," he said. "The way I operate, I believe unless he has potential to be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, I'm not going to forfeit a third starter for a strong and impact bat."

Phillies Select Kingery at #48 – The Phillies might have just drafted their long-term replacement for Chase Utley, selecting Scott Kingery late Monday night with the 48th overall pick in the 2015 Draft. The Draft continues Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Kingery, a second baseman from the University of Arizona, won Pac-12 Player of the Year honors after hitting .392 with five home runs, 36 RBIs and a .984 OPS in 54 games this season. Scouting director Johnny Almaraz believes Kingery will be a "quick mover" through the Phillies' system. "He's an advanced hitter and an everyday second baseman," Almaraz said. The Phillies' first pick on Monday (and 10th overall), high school shortstop Cornelius Randolph, will move to left field once he signs, which could happen quickly. Two picks, two hitters. "We just felt it would be a good balance," Almaraz said about drafting a high school and a college hitter. Kingery, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds and hits right-handed, could reach the big leagues more quickly than Randolph. "He's got a good swing and a little bit of pop," Almaraz said about Kingery. "Doubles with occasional pull power. But his ability to play defense and set the tone at the top of the lineup -- he's a very exciting player. Lot of quick twitch. Gets things going." Kingery also made the Pac-12 all-defensive team, so he is more than just a hitter. But his bat is what made the Phillies pick him. Per MLB.com, he has a quick, short stroke and an outstanding approach at the plate. He is not a power guy, but he is projected as a top-of-the-lineup hitter because of his on-base ability and speed. "We have great balance with Cornelius at one and Kingery at two," Almaraz said. "Kingery is going to be a quick mover. You guys know that the bat dictates if you play at the Major League level. You do a statistical analysis on him -- it's pretty impressive." There have been some pretty good finds with the No. 48 pick: Cal Ripken Jr. (1978), Josh Donaldson (2007), Sid Bream (1981) and Chris Singleton (1993). Perhaps Kingery will be one of them. "I'm excited," Almaraz said. "There's several picks to make. This is where we have to grind it out. There are several Major League players that are going to be developed out of the group from [Rounds] three to 40. We have to keep our heads down and doing our homework and making the right picks."

Minor Review – Players of the Week: Player OF Cam Perkins, Reading...Perkins, 24, was named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week for the second straight week after continuing to put on a power display for the Reading Fightin Phils. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound outfielder hit another three home runs to go along with nine runs, six RBI, six doubles, an .867 slugging percentage and a 1.233 OPS. He has now hit six home runs in his last 14 games, and over that stretch has also driven in 15 runs and recorded five multi-hit games. His recent power surge has him tied for second in the league with 24 extra-base hits and tied for third with eight home runs. Perkins, who was also named the Eastern League Player of the Week, was selected by the Phillies in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Purdue University and was signed by Nate Dion. Pitcher - RHP Reinier Roibal, Reading...The 26-year-old Cuban native earned Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week honors after two dominant outings last week for Reading. On June 6, he held the Binghamton Mets to just three hits over 5.0 shutout frames. This came four days after he retired all six batters he faced in a 2.0-inning relief appearance. He struck out six in those 7.0 innings, posting a 0.57 WHIP and .130 batting average against. In five games now with Reading (two starts), he has posted a 1.20 ERA over 15.0 innings and has struck out 12 batters while allowing nine hits. Roibal was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on January 23, 2015, and was originally signed in 2010 as an amateur free agent by the San Francisco Giants. Lehigh Valley IronPigs - International League North Division…21-37, 5th place…Lehigh Valley's bats fell silent, as they managed to score more than two runs in just two of their six games last week. Their bright spot came in the first game of a four-game series against Indianapolis, when they exploded for eight runs and held the Indians scoreless for their second shutout in five days. The IronPigs will be on the road in Durham and Norfolk for their next seven games. Top hitting performers - OF Brian Bogusevic's hit streak now sits at 10 games after he collected at least one hit in each game last week and posted a .444 average with two runs and two RBI. He now has three separate hit streaks this season of 10 games or more….SS Chase d'Arnaud went 8-for-24 (.333) with a .360 OBP and two multi-hit games, raising his season average to .310. Top pitching performers - LHP Anthony Vasquez had his second straight scoreless start, tossing 7.2 innings and allowing only three hits to Indianapolis on June 4. He has allowed only six hits and struck out nine in his last 15.2 innings, and was the starting pitcher for both of Lehigh Valley's shutouts this season…LHP Adam Morgan tossed 6.1 innings and allowed four runs (only two earned) in his start against the Indians, striking out five for the third consecutive start. Reading Fightin Phils - Eastern League Eastern Division …31-25, 3rd place… The Fightin Phils won back-to-back series, taking two of three from both the Erie Seawolves and Binghamton Mets to pull six games over the .500 mark. Reinier Roibal helped earn Reading a shutout on Saturday in a spot start, and the offense put up 14 runs on 15 hits Sunday to end the week strong. They are now hitting .270 as a team, which is second highest in the league. Top hitting performers - OF Cam Perkins belted three home runs for the second straight week and also had nine runs scored, six RBI, six doubles, an .867 slugging average and 1.233 OPS. He was named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week for the second consecutive week and also picked up Eastern League Player of the Week honors…In his first full week with Reading, SS J.P. Crawford showed he belonged. He had hits in all but one game, including multi-hit efforts three times. Crawford hit .367 and capped his week with a four-hit game on Sunday which included a home run and three RBI…C Rene Garcia hit a lofty .438 in four games with three doubles and three RBI. He has six hits, three RBI and two runs in his last nine at bats…1B Brock Stassi leads the Eastern League in batting after a week in which he hit .333 with three RBI, three runs, two walks, a double and a stolen base…CF Roman Quinn stole three more bases, giving him 27 for the season. His stolen base total is as many as the second and third place players have combined. Top pitching performers - In a spot start last week, RHP Reinier Roibal tossed 5.0 shutout frames, allowing just three hits. This came after a perfect 2.0 innings of relief four days prior. Roibal earned Phillies Minor League pitcher of the Week for his shut-down outings, and he now boasts a 1.20 ERA since joining Reading…RHP Aaron Nola surrendered one run and scattered five hits over 7.0 innings on June 4, marking the seventh time in 11 starts that he has gone 6.0 or more innings and allowed one run or fewer…RHP Hoby Milner had relief appearances of 3.0 and 2.0 innings and did not allow a run in either of them…LHP Adam Loewen also had two scoreless outings in relief, combining for 4.0 innings while allowing just two hits. Clearwater Threshers - Florida State League North Division…27-29, 4th place…Clearwater swept a short two-game series with Dunedin early in the week, but was then swept in three games by Tampa, scoring just two runs total in those games. The Florida State League All-Star rosters were also announced this past week, and the Threshers will be represented by RHP Mark Leiter, LHP Brandon Leibrandt, C Andrew Knapp and INF Angelo Mora. Top hitting performers - C Chace Numata hit .333 with a .400 on-base percentage, five runs scored, two walks and a stolen base…OF Dylan Cozens posted a couple of multi-hit games and batted .273 with two RBI, two runs and two walks. Top pitching performers - RHP Yacksel Rios allowed a run on two hits over 5.0 innings against Tampa on June 5 and now has allowed only three earned runs in his last 22.1 innings (seven appearances, three starts)…RHP Colin Kleven held Tampa to a run on six hits in 7.0 innings of work, extending his streak of starts with two earned runs or fewer to eight straight…RHP Mark Leiter tied a season-high 8.0 innings pitched on June 2 against Dunedin. Leiter has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 12 games with Clearwater, and he now ranks first in the league in WHIP at 0.86 and average against at .188. Lakewood BlueClaws - South Atlantic League North Division…27-27, 4th place…Only five of Lakewood's seven scheduled games were actually played, as they were rained out in Delmarva on June 2, and the doubleheader scheduled for the following day was postponed indefinitely due to wet grounds. A series split with the first-place Hickory Crawdads helped the BlueClaws back even at 27-27, as they sit 8.0 games out of first place. Top hitting performers - SS Malquin Canelo clubbed three doubles and a triple to help him to a .632 slugging percentage for the week. He collected seven total hits in 19 at-bats (.368) and was tied for the team-high with four runs scored. He leads the South Atlantic League with 17 doubles…1B Rhys Hoskins' RBI total is up to 38 for the season, as he drove in five more last week while hitting .353 with a 1.009 OPS…OF Herlis Rodriguez hit in all but one of his five games, posting a .333 average with a couple of RBI. Top pitching performers - RHP Tyler Viza struck out five and yielded two runs (one earned) in his 6.0-inning performance on June 1 at Delmarva, earning his first win since April 23…LHP Elniery Garcia has not allowed more than three earned runs in a game since April 20 after his 6.0-inning, two-run start against the first-place Hickory Crawdads on June 6…LHP Joey DeNato converted two saves in two chances, including a six-out save over Hickory June 6. 

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 22-37. 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 49-49-1 on this day.

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