Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Phillies Keep The Streak Alive!

GAME RECAP: Pirates Edge Phillies 4-3

Right-hander Gerrit Cole became the first pitcher in the Majors to compile 10 wins, as he threw six strong innings and led the Pirates to a 4-3 victory over the Phillies at PNC Park on Saturday. Cole held Philadelphia to two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out seven, lowering his Major League-leading ERA to 1.71. He retired the final nine Phillies hitters he faced in order and 12 of the last 14, needing only 18 pitches to get through his last two innings. "As the game got going and as I got some runs and we continued to play good defense, I was able to get more in the zone, get more on the black," Cole said. "[Catcher Chris Stewart] kind of switched the way we were attacking hitters. It kind of helped me find a groove, and it worked from there." It was the 24-year-old right-hander's fifth straight win and his seventh straight quality start. The Pirates' lineup, meanwhile, supported Cole with four early runs against Phillies right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, improving to 29-6 this season when scoring at least four runs. The Pirates (34-27) didn't reach seven games above .500 last season until their 101st game, on July 23. The Phillies have now lost 18 of their last 23 games since a six-game winning streak last month, falling to a season-low 19 games under .500 as they lost a series at PNC Park for the sixth time in their last seven trips to Pittsburgh.

  • It took 13 innings and more than four hours for the Phillies and Pirates to muster one run on Friday night. That wasn't the case Saturday. Just six minutes into the game, Philadelphia scored on a sacrifice fly by Chase Utley. It was the first run the Pirates gave up since Tuesday, snapping a 22-inning scoreless streak by Pittsburgh pitching.
  • After needing last night's extra innings to extend his hitting streak to double digits, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco wasted no time Saturday in moving his run to 11 consecutive games. In his first at-bat of the game, Franco singled on a ground ball to right field in the second inning. It's the longest streak by a Phillie this season.
  • With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Pirates left fielder Marte attempted to steal second base, and he was originally called safe. Phillies second baseman Utley, who gloved catcher Carlos Ruiz's high throw and applied the tag, kept his mitt on Marte, who briefly lifted his foot off the bag. After a review lasting two minutes and 37 seconds, the call on the field was overturned.
Left-handed ace Cole Hamels, coming off a rough outing, will try to rebound as he and the Phillies take on the Pirates at 1:35 ET on Sunday at PNC Park for the series finale. Hamels (3.19 ERA, 5-5 record) has recovered well from every uneven start this year, allowing just four earned runs combined in the four starts following losses. After giving up five runs in his last start, the southpaw will have another chance at redemption. Right-hander A.J. Burnett will make his second start of the season against the Phillies, for whom he pitched last season, as the Pirates seek a three-game sweep. Burnett has won six of his last seven starts after beginning the year 0-1 with a 1.45 ERA in his first five outings. Burnett held Philadelphia to two runs (one earned) over seven innings on May 12 at Citizens Bank Park.


Phillies Can’t Cash In – Down one run with the bases loaded, no outs and their hottest hitter at the plate, the Phillies couldn't have asked for anything more. It was the perfect setup to not just tie Saturday's game with the Pirates at PNC Park, but potentially grab a few runs and the lead. Eight pitches later, Pittsburgh's fielders were trotting back to their dugout to a raucous applause from the sellout crowd: they held the Phillies scoreless -- and effectively ended the 4-3 Phillies loss to the Pirates. The Phillies faltered Saturday when they absolutely could not. Lacking the key hit with runners in scoring position plagued them in a one-run, 13-inning loss the evening before, and it haunted them once again. "We put ourselves in a really good position not only to tie it, but possibly win," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Really the game came down to that." Tony Watson, Pittsburgh's shutdown left-handed setup man, took the bump to start the eighth inning. Watson isn't accustomed to hitters getting on base often -- he entered Saturday's game with opponents hitting .186 off him. But Ben Revere doubled to lead off the inning, Jeff Francoeur scored Revere with a pinch-hit single, and Chase Utley followed up with a base knock of his own. And after walking Ryan Howard, Watson was in a precarious position. "It was an ugly inning, definitely," Watson said. "Things got a little crazy there." It was, until Watson got Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco reaching. Franco, a 22-year-old rookie, extended his hitting streak to 11 games and, after Saturday, has hit .432 in that span. But Pirates catcher Chris Stewart figured the youngster would be "geeked up" and ready for a fastball, so he and Watson went with a changeup. Franco attacked it and rolled over, sending a grounder to third baseman Josh Harrison, who made the force play at the plate. "He did exactly what we wanted him to," Stewart said. After Franco, 24-year-old left fielder Cody Asche grounded out to Watson, who flipped it home for the out, and Freddy Galvis rolled one to second baseman Neil Walker to end the frame. Franco said that in that situation, you have to be aggressive at the plate, and Sandberg agreed to an extent. The manager said he thought Franco, Asche and Galvis might have been too overanxious to do too much, like driving in a few runs as opposed to getting just one. The Phillies' inability to push a run across in that sequence was what kept them from a win, but Sandberg hopes, at the very least, that his younger hitters learn from their mistakes. "It's a situation where young players were up there," Sandberg said. "It's something that they'll experience, that they'll grow from."

The Day After – The day after a heated dugout exchange between reliever Ken Giles, manager Ryne Sandberg and pitching coach Bob McClure, the righty said the three have resolved their differences. "Everything's buried in the dirt. Nothing to worry about," Giles said. "It's never going to happen again." With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning of Friday's 1-0 loss to the Pirates, Giles seemed irritated following a mound visit, after which he intentionally walked Bucs first baseman Pedro Alvarez. The right-hander issued another free pass before putting away the inning. "I'm just out there to compete," Giles said. "I just don't like giving freebies. That's about it. ... My emotions just got the best of me." What increased Giles' frustrations was how well he felt he was throwing. The 24-year-old was topping out at 98 mph with his fastball and locating it well. Giles made a hand gesture walking off the bump, put his head down, and took a seat in the dugout, where Sandberg was waiting to voice displeasure with how his player had behaved. Giles said he got "a little too fired up" about the decision to walk Alvarez, and he smoothed things over with Sandberg and McClure following the game. "We're players, too. We're all the same. We have the same mentality," Giles said of Sandberg, a Hall of Famer who played for 15 seasons. "He understands, and I also have to understand the situation and his position, as well."

Rupp Looks For Increased playing Time – As temperatures rise, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg foresees increased playing time for catcher Cameron Rupp. Sandberg said the daily grind behind the plate can be tough, so the heat certainly plays a factor. But so does Rupp's hot hitting. In his last 11 games, the 26-year-old from Texas is hitting .367 (11-of-30) with four doubles and four RBIs. Rupp added two more hits in Friday's 1-0, 13-inning loss to the Pirates. "In the way that he's performed as of late, I can see him getting some more looks," Sandberg said. "He's swung the bat well. He's showed a very strong arm. It looks like he's coming along behind the plate." After starting 18 games last year for the Phillies, Rupp has already started a career-high 19 games this season. He has reached base safely in 14 of those games. Rupp has filled in for Carlos Ruiz the last two games, getting two hits in each game. And with Philadelphia opening its series against southpaw Jeff Locke and the Pirates, Rupp also provides solid numbers against left-handed pitchers. It's a small sample size, but in 30 career plate appearances against lefties, Rupp totes a .259 batting average and .333 on-base percentage. Even though Ruiz's season averages against southpaws are better (.350 average, .409 on-base), Sandberg is riding the hot stick as the summer -- and competition -- heats up.

Trading Places – The Phillies recalled outfielder Domonic Brown after optioning Darin Ruf to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, manager Ryne Sandberg announced after Saturday's 4-3 loss. Brown will join the team for Sunday's 1:35 p.m. ET series finale at PNC Park. Brown, who played in 144 games last year, will mostly play right field when seeing his first time in the big leagues this season. In 52 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the 27-year-old left-handed hitter hit .257 with two home runs and 26 RBIs. "He'll get some chances to start," Sandberg said. "I'll try to mix and match and rotate the guys as I see fit." Ruf, hitting .235 with a .279 on-base percentage this season, said he was shocked by the move. "You never know with things like this," Ruf said. "Hopefully I can go down and swing the bat well." Ruf has served as an on-and-off starter recently. After starting the first seven games of May, the 28-year-old first baseman started in just six of the 19 games since. Sandberg said the intent of sending down Ruf is to get him more steady at-bats. "It is what it is," Ruf said. "Everyday at-bats don't really matter if I'm just going to come up and resume the same role."

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 22-41. 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 42-57-0 on this day.

No comments:

Post a Comment