Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Votto And The Reds Overpower Phillies

GAME RECAP: Reds Crush Phils 11-2

Joey Votto walloped three home runs on Tuesday night to lead the Reds to an 11-2 victory over the Phillies and secure the three-game series at Great American Ball Park. Votto finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs. It was his third career three-home run game -- joining Johnny Bench as the only Reds to accomplish that feat -- and his second multi-homer game of the season. "It's very cliche to say it, but any time you're alongside a name like that, it's an honor, it's meaningful," Votto said. The Reds generated plenty of offense off Phillies starter Aaron Harang for a second straight week. This time, Harang gave up a season-high seven earned runs on seven hits in six innings. Harang also gave up four of Cincinnati's five home runs, which matched his season total of home runs allowed. Anthony DeSclafani held the Phillies to only two runs, despite giving up 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. The rookie right-hander picked up his third straight win and improved to 5-4 on the season with a 3.53 ERA. The Phillies have lost 14 of 18 to fall 16 games below .500 (22-38). "We got off to a rough start in this one," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We need to play solid games and put some games together."

  • Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco continued his torrid June with a double to left leading off the second inning. Franco, batting .469 (15-for-32) with five doubles and four home runs since June 2, later scored on a two-out single by Carlos Ruiz. He finished 2-for-3.
  • Votto hit two solo shots and a two-run homer. He first hit a pair of solo home runs in the third and fifth inning off Harang -- his first sparking a back-to-back effort with Todd Frazier, who followed with his 17th long ball. He finished with a two-run homer to deep right field in the seventh off Dustin McGowan, giving him 13 home runs on the season. "Boy he had a great game," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Votto. "Really set the table in the first inning by getting the walk. Brandon [Phillips] and Joey each getting the game going with two walks and sets the stage for [Jay Bruce's] hit, an RBI, and [Zack] Cozart with the three-run homer, which gave us a nice early cushion."
  • Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg appealed Votto's fifth-inning home run off Harang, suggesting fan interference. The ball dropped between the hands of a fan reaching out from his seat in left field. The replay official reviewed the play and confirmed the call, saying the ball would have been out anyway, after a 1-minute, 25-second review.
  • Bruce was ejected in the third inning after he voiced his displeasure with a called strike three from home-plate umpire Adam Hamari. Bruce was noticeably not happy after making the second out, and he had made it all the way to the dugout before Hamari tossed him. It was the first time since June 19, 2008, that Bruce had been ejected. The ejection combined with Phillips' injury left the Reds with only catcher Tucker Barnhart and an injured Billy Hamilton on the bench.
  • Harang's ERA jumped 59 points (2.45 to 3.04), but his batting average jumped 76 points (.091 to .167), thanks to singles in both of his at-bats.
  • "The first-inning walks killed me. That's what got me. I was too tentative, picking at the corners." – Harang.
  • The only active Reds to have faced Williams are Brennan Boesch (0-for-5) and Brayan Pena (1-for-1).
  • Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton was left out of Tuesday's starting lineup due to issues with his left wrist. He is day to day.
  • Moscot is the third Reds pitcher to make his MLB debut this season, joining Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen.

Jon Moscot survived his first look at Major League hitters. Wednesday afternoon, Moscot goes to work on the rest of his career. Cincinnati's rookie right-hander made his big league debut Friday and was charged with four runs over five innings of a 6-2 loss to San Diego. He takes the mound for the second time against Philadelphia, trying to lead the Reds to a fourth straight victory and a three-game series sweep. "When you get out on that mound and you have a third deck in the stadium, it takes over a little bit," Moscot said after the loss. "I wasn't pitching my game that first inning, I just normally attack hitters and I was trying to be too fine." He struggled early, throwing 37 pitches in the first inning while walking three and allowing two hits. Moscot eventually settled in and retired 11 of the last 12 Padres he faced. The 23-year-old is ranked by as the Reds' No. 14 prospect. He had previously fared well in nine starts at Triple-A Louisville (7-1, 3.15 ERA). The Phillies will counter with Jerome Williams (3-5, 5.68), who has one win to show for his last eight starts. The veteran right-hander has surrendered 87 hits in 63 1/3 innings with a .323 opponents' batting average. Williams hasn't started against the Reds since 2006, when he was with the Chicago Cubs. He is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA vs. Cincinnati in two starts and four relief appearances.


Sandberg Pushes For Papelbon – Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg knows exactly for whom he would cast his 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. During a pregame All-Star discussion Tuesday, Sandberg mentioned pitchers Jonathan Papelbon, Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang as well as shortstop Freddy Galvis as Phillies who should be considered. But, Sandberg noted, Papelbon can make a particularly strong case. "He has been our most consistent performer, day in and day out doing his job," Sandberg said. "You look at what he's done with those opportunities and the quality of them ... if you look at it that way, he's a strong candidate for us." Papelbon has a 1.13 ERA in 24 games and was 12-for-12 in save opportunities entering Tuesday night's game against the Reds. Philadelphia's all-time saves leader has converted 28 of 29 chances since last July 24. Closers on struggling teams must often battle an irregular workload. Sandberg said Papelbon has been a true professional about making sure that battle doesn't have an unfavorable outcome. "He communicates that to us," Sandberg said. "There are times when he might sit five, six days depending on how the games go. He knows when he needs fine-tuning, when he needs an outing." Papelbon came into Tuesday needing four saves to tie Rollie Fingers (341) for the No. 12 spot on the all-time list. No Phillies player is among the highest vote-getters in's third National League All-Star voting update. Fans can cast their votes for starters at and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots. Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info. Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities. The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit

Phillies Look To Fill Gaps With Draft – The Phillies took a high school shortstop and a college second baseman on Monday night in the first two rounds of the 2015 MLB Draft. The Phillies took a high school shortstop, a college first baseman and a high school pitcher with their first three picks Tuesday. "We're very excited overall," Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said. "Extremely confident that everyone is going to be reporting here pretty soon." Here is a look at the Phillies' selections in Rounds 3-5 on Day 2. The Draft concludes Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on beginning at noon ET. Round 3 (83rd pick overall): SS Lucas Williams, Dana Hills (Calif.) HS: Williams (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) has committed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The right-handed hitter, who goes by Luke, posted a .315 batting average in 32 games, and he has good speed. Williams set the school's career stolen-base record this year. "This is somebody who we feel is a really good athlete with the ability to hit," Almaraz said. "He can run. He can throw. We see him more as a third baseman with some type of power. We were really pleased to draft him. He's somebody we believe has a high ceiling, along with the fact he knows how to play the game." Round 4 (114th pick): 1B Kyle Martin, South Carolina: Martin earned second-team All-America honors during his senior season with the South Carolina Gamecocks. He hit .350, with 12 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 56 RBIs, a .455 on-base percentage and a .635 slugging percentage. Martin (6-foot-2, 240 pounds) walked 39 times, and he struck out just 27 times. The Angels selected Martin in the 20th round of the 2014 Draft, but he returned for his senior season. "We believe he's a very good prospect," Almaraz said. "He's got above-average power. He's got the ability to go the other way. He came to our workout and answered some questions, as far as his athleticism is considered." Round 5 (144th pick) LHP Bailey Falter, Chino Hills (Calif.) HS: Falter is 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds. He throws in the mid-to-high 80-mph range, but scouts believe his velocity will build in time. The southpaw has committed to UC-Santa Barbara. "He's a projection," Almaraz said. "I felt he was one of the top pitchers in the country, whether it be college or high school. The ability to pitch and command his pitches. That is something you cannot teach, and he possesses that. He's got a bright future and a chance to be a frontline starter."

But Can They Sign Them? – The Phillies selected two college pitchers, two college hitters and one high school hitter in Rounds 6-10 of the 2015 MLB Draft on Tuesday. The Draft concludes Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on beginning at noon ET. Round 6 (174th pick): LHP Tyler Gilbert, USC: He went 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA as a junior with the Trojans, for whom he spent most of his time in the bullpen. Gilbert allowed 68 hits, 21 earned runs, 25 walks and struck out 66 batters in 67 1/3 innings. Round 7 (204th pick): RHP Luke Leftwich, Wofford College: Leftwich (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) is a junior with family ties. His father, Phil, made 34 starts with the Angels from 1993-96. Leftwich's grandfather, Tom Timmermann, pitched six season for the Tigers (1969-73) and the Indians (1973-74). Leftwich went 7-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts) this season. He struck out 114 and walked 28 in 89 innings. Round 8 (234th pick): OF Greg Pickett, Legend High School (Parker, Colo.): Pickett is listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. He hit .420 this season, and he has power from the left side of the plate. He has committed to Mississippi State, but amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz is confident Pickett and everybody else the Phillies selected the first two days will sign. "Our area scouts really did a great job in keeping the lines open with these high school kids and college kids that sometimes have a tendency to not give us very accurate signability [information]," Almaraz said. "We stayed on him. We got some information that really, really made us make the decision of taking him in that round. We're pretty sure that we're sending him out there pretty quickly to start his career in the Gulf Coast League." Round 9 (264th pick): CF Mark Laird, LSU: Laird has good speed, but he lacks power. Laird (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) played the corners in college, but the Phillies see him as a center fielder. He has hit .323 with nine doubles, one triple, one home run, 23 RBIs, a .379 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage. He stole 23 bases in 29 attempts. "He can really run. He can really play defense," Almaraz said. "If those speed guys learn how to bunt and use both sides of the field, they're going to create havoc." Round 10 (294th pick): 3B Josh Tobias, Florida: Tobias hit .373, with 14 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 41 RBIs, a .557 slugging percentage and a .447 on-base percentage as a senior. He is listed at 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds. "My biggest interest was that Tobias just started hitting left-handed this year," Almaraz said. "He possess above-average ability. At that point in the Draft, if you can select somebody who can have an impact on the Major League club -- whether it's as an everyday player, a left-handed bat off the bench or even an extra outfielder or utility-type guy -- that's considered a really good Draft."

Phillies Select Leftwich In 7th Round – The scouts who made their way to Wofford College in South Carolina the past three seasons often noticed the last name first. Leftwich, Leftwich, how do I know that name? Hey, did his dad pitch in the big leagues? Yes, actually. Wofford College junior Luke Leftwich's father, Phil, made 34 starts with the Angels from 1993-96, and his grandfather, Tom Timmermann, pitched six seasons with the Tigers (1969-73) and the Indians (1973-74). But Leftwich, whom the Phillies selected on Tuesday in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft, needed more than baseball history in the family to get selected on Day 2 of the Draft. "We feel we have somebody who has the ability to start and stay in that starting role because of his tools," Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said. "Along with the ability to pitch, our people felt that he was an extreme competitor." Leftwich went 7-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts) this season. Forget about the ERA for a moment -- the occasional big inning inflated that -- and consider the fact Leftwich struck out 114 batters and walked just 28 in 89 innings. "You guys are going to get him at his best," Wofford College baseball coach Todd Interdonato said. "We've only seen him scratch the surface of his best in the last six weeks. He's definitely on the way up. He's not one of these guys you see go high [in the Draft], and they kind of sputter out. I really think he's going to make a steady climb, because he's just matured so much. I think he's just at the start of making a really nice run." Interdonato said interest in Leftwich really spiked after a successful relief appearance in late April against Clemson. Leftwich struck out three in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. "After that, there were just a lot of people there every Saturday [to see Leftwich pitch]," Interdonato said. "I started to receive a lot more phone calls, a lot more emails, a lot more text messages. It just seemed like every one of his starts, his last four or five, there were between 15 and 30 people watching him every weekend." Leftwich's fastball sits at 92-93 mph, and it occasionally hits 95 mph. He also throws a slider, curveball and changeup. "We knew we had something special the first day he showed up on campus as a freshman," Interdonato said. "He showed up on the first day of campus and he looked like a man. Our pitching coach and I looked at each other like, 'This is not the kid we visited in high school. This kid looks like a man.' Everything from there just gradually increased." Leftwich's family history might have gotten scouts to notice him initially, but Almaraz confirmed it had no bearing on the Phillies' selection. "Not because his dad or grandfather played at that level," Almaraz said of the pick. "You've still got to earn it on the back end," Interdonato added.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 22-38. 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 42-53-0 on this day.

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