Monday, July 6, 2015

Offensive Juggernauts Take Scoreless Game Into Extra Innings

GAME RECAP: Phillies Shutout Braves 4-0

After Cole Hamels and Shelby Miller produced a pitching matchup that lived up to expectations on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field, Ryan Howard helped the Phillies claim a 4-0, 10-inning win over the Braves courtesy of the sacrifice fly he produced against Dana Eveland. Before Nick Masset loaded the bases with none out in the 10th inning, this was a pitchers' duel being waged between two teams that had recently gone in different directions. The Phillies had lost six straight and the Braves had won their past four games. "I like going up against the best," Hamels said about facing Miller. "When you're going up against the number ones of teams, it's enjoyable. If you're fearing to go against the best, what does that really describe about yourself?" Miller escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and then kept the Phillies scoreless while scattering seven hits and notching eight strikeouts over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. The All-Star candidate lowered his ERA to 2.07, but he remains winless over his past nine starts. The Braves have not scored a run while he has been the pitcher of record in any of his past four starts. "That's part of the game," Miller said. "At the end of the day, you look at the opponent you're facing and you're facing Hamels, a guy who has had a lot of success in the big leagues and is the ace of the Phillies. I'm just trying to go out there and pitch. Whether we score eight runs or one, it doesn't matter. We're just trying to win." Hamels also escaped a first-inning, bases-loaded threat on the way to keeping the Braves scoreless over seven innings. After surrendering A.J. Pierzynski's one-out double in the fourth inning, the Phillies' left-hander recorded consecutive strikeouts against Pedro Ciriaco and Jonny Gomes.

  • The Phillies loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th inning against Masset and Howard followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score the first run of the game. Carlos Ruiz and Freddy Galvis followed with hits to score three insurance runs. Masset and Eveland were both designated for assignment after the game.
  • Hamels allowed six hits and struck out six in seven scoreless innings, but got the no-decision. It was the eighth time in 17 starts this season the Phillies have not scored a run for Hamels while he has been the pitcher of record, explaining his 5-6 mark.
  • After Pierzynski's one-out single gave the Braves runners at the corners with one out in the ninth, the Phillies utilized Cody Asche as an extra infielder and saw Luis Garcia escape the jam. Ciriaco lofted a fly ball that was not deep enough to score Kelly Johnson and Garcia concluded the inning by striking out Juan Uribe.
  • Cesar Hernandez swiped his 10th and 11th bases, and Galvis stole his sixth Sunday off of Pierzynski. Those steals -- plus Odubel Herrera's mistake on the bases in the fifth inning -- brought Pierzynski's caught-stealing percentage to 16 percent (41 of 49 have been successful), which is essentially the same as turning baserunners into Billy Hamilton (41-for-47, 87 percent).
  • "He gets it. If you want to look at it from a selfish standpoint, from his part he could say I just put a bunch of zeros on the board for seven innings and lowered my ERA. He wants to win 20 games, but he's making pretty good money. He handles it very well. He doesn't come off going, get me some runs." -- Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin, on if the constant lack of run support bothers Hamels.
The Phillies open a four-game series Monday night at 10:10 p.m. ET against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, where they will see former teammate and franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies traded Rollins in the offseason for Minor League pitchers Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.


Nothing To Show For His Efforts – Cole Hamels had little to show for his efforts Sunday, but at least he helped to temporarily stop the bleeding. He pitched seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over the Braves in 10 innings at Turner Field, which snapped the Phillies' seven-game losing streak. The Phillies continue their 10-game road trip on Monday night against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. "Those guys did a good job," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said of the Phillies' offensive outburst in the 10th inning. "I wish they would have done it earlier in the game, you know? I kind of lamented the fact that Cole … I wish he would have matched up with one of the lesser pitchers, but nevertheless he's OK. He's fine with it." Hamels allowed six hits and struck out six, while Braves right-hander Shelby Miller threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings. But once again Hamels earned a no-decision because the Phillies could not score a run for him. It is a familiar story for him. Hamels is 5-6 with a 3.02 ERA in 17 starts this season. In eight of those starts the Phillies have not scored for him while he has been in the game. "It's unfortunate for us that we weren't able to get it done for him," said Ryan Howard, whose sacrifice fly in the 10th gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. "He was out there and throwing well. Both pitchers threw well, but to be able to get it in extras, you take it however you can." Hamels appreciates the supportive words from Mackanin and his teammates, who do feel bad they cannot give their best pitcher any help. But he is OK. "I like going up against the best," Hamels said. "When you're going up against the number ones of teams, it's enjoyable. If you're fearing to go against the best, what does that really describe about yourself?"

Injury Updates – Ben Revere has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball since the middle of May. He entered Sunday's series finale against the Braves at Turner Field hitting .333 (56-for-168) with five doubles, three triples, one home run, 10 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a .784 OPS in 43 games since May 16. He is eighth in baseball in batting average and 11th in hits in that span. Yet Revere has not started in eight of the Phillies' last 10 games. Revere said Sunday morning he has been battling "mild" right hamstring soreness, although he pinch-hit Thursday and played left field as a defensive replacement Friday. "Just a little thing," Revere said. "Give it a couple days to heal. Get back in there [this week] in L.A." It is worth noting the Phillies have been trying to trade Revere for weeks, so his status with the team is worth watching. They had been close to a trade with the Angels, but it never materialized. The Boston Globe said the Angels pulled out after agreeing to send them pitcher Trevor Gott… Right-hander Jerome Williams packed his bags for Double-A Reading, where he will begin a rehab assignment. Williams has been on the disabled list since June 17 with a strained left hamstring. He expects to make two rehab starts before the end of the All-Star break next week. He could rejoin the Phillies' rotation shortly after that.

Not The Trade We Were Waiting For – It is not Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon or Ben Revere, but the Phillies made a trade Sunday. They acquired the No. 1 overall signing slot ($3,590,400) for the 2015-16 international signing period from Arizona for Class A Lakewood right-hander Chris Oliver, Class A Lakewood left-hander Josh Taylor and the team's No. 9 overall signing slot ($1,352,100). The trade allows the Phillies to sign 16-year-old outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz and avoid penalties that would prohibit them from signing international players for more than $300,000 until the 2018-19 signing period. "We're trying to do some things internationally for this signing period," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said at Turner Field. "Clearly, that's important to us for a variety of reasons. One, for today and also for tomorrow. I think it was important for us not to curtail [our] ability to continue to add prospects." The Phillies entered the international signing period Thursday with an allotted $3,041,700 to sign international players, but the trade boosts that figure to $4,562,550 because teams can only acquire 50 percent of their international bonus pool. Sources told that the Phillies and Ortiz have agreed to a bonus near $4.2 million. This trade allows the Phillies to sign Ortiz and others, including Venezuelan catcher Rafael Marchan, and not incur a penalty. Teams that exceed their pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods, in addition to paying a 100 percent tax on the pool overage. The Phillies would have blown past that percentage without the trade. The D-backs, Angels, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees exceeded the 2014-15 pool by at least 15 percent, and cannot sign any pool-eligible players for more than $300,000 until the 2017-18 signing period. "This keeps our hands untied, so to speak," Amaro said. Amaro said he hopes the Phillies can finalize something with Ortiz in the next couple weeks. The Phillies selected Oliver in the fourth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and he is ranked by as the Phillies' No. 20 prospect. He went 4-5 with a 4.04 in 13 starts with Lakewood. The Phillies signed Taylor as an amateur free agent in August. He is 4-5 with a 4.61 ERA in 13 starts.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 28-56. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and performance so far this season, this could end up being the worst team in franchise history! All time, the Phillies are 41-64-0 on this day.

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