Sunday, July 5, 2015

Once Again, Phillies’ Starter Shelled In Short Outing

GAME RECAP: Braves Batter Phillies 9-5

Cameron Maybin finished a triple shy of the cycle and the Braves provided Alex Wood more than enough support with two four-run innings against Kevin Correia during Saturday night's 9-5 win over the Phillies at Turner Field. Kelly Johnson produced a two-run single in the four-run first and chased Correia with an RBI single in the four-run fourth inning that also included a Nick Markakis two-run double. The early offensive support was welcomed by Wood, who was fortunate to allow just four runs while surrendering 10 hits over six innings. "He had a lot of baserunners, but he battled," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He bent a little bit, but he didn't give in and he kept us right there, and we were able to give him a little cushion and we end up winning the game." In the process of winning four straight games, the Braves have produced three four-run innings. They entered Saturday having scored at least four runs in just three of the previous 14 games since Freddie Freeman was sidelined by a right wrist injury. "Early on we had some really good at-bats against Correia," Gonzalez said. "And that was good to give [Wood] the lead. And we converted it."

  • Correia got hit hard early and often in 3 1/3 innings of work. He allowed 10 hits and tied a career high with nine runs allowed. It was a bad night, but it continues a troubling trend for the Phillies' rotation. Its starters have pitched fewer than six innings in 14 of the previous 18 games, which is putting a tremendous strain on the bullpen. "It's like Groundhog Day for us," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said about the rotation's struggles.
  • Playing time has been scarce for Darin Ruf. He made just his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 24. He hit a three-run home run to left field in the fifth inning. It was his fourth homer of the season. "The home run by Ruf, the three-run johnson, and he almost hit another one," Mackanin said about Ruf's flyout to center field in the third. "He swung the bat pretty well."
  • Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He is hitting .447 (17-for-38) during the streak.
  • "In my position, I'm not even going there. I'm not going to ask them. That's up to the front office. They see the same thing we're seeing. I'm sure they're not real crazy about it either." -- Mackanin, on if he follows the progress of or asks about Triple-A right-hander Aaron Nola, who seems to be getting closer to a promotion.
Left-hander Cole Hamels faces the Braves in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Turner Field. He pitched well last week against Milwaukee, allowing five hits, two runs and one walk and striking out seven in seven innings, but he got little run support in a 4-3 loss. As has been the case this season, every start Hamels makes before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline could be his last with the Phillies, with the organization looking to trade him to boost its rebuilding efforts. Atlanta will counter with Shelby Miller, who stands as one of the candidates to serve as the National League's starter in this year's All-Star Game. Miller tossed a three-hit shutout against the Phillies on May 5.


Papelbon Endorsed by Skipper – The Phillies entered Saturday on pace for 109 losses, which means Jonathan Papelbon has not been a particularly busy closer this season. But when he has pitched, he has pitched well. Papelbon entered Saturday 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 14 saves in 14 opportunities over 30 appearances. His ERA was 20th out of 130 qualified relievers in baseball. His 4.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio was tied for 27th and his 1.04 WHIP was 48th. Those numbers are why Papelbon figures to be the Phillies' lone representative for the National League All-Star team. "Papelbon, probably," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday at Turner Field, asked for the Phillies' most worthy All-Star choice. "His save numbers aren't there, but when you look at the other numbers, he's been very efficient. He's the first guy that comes to mind." The AL and NL All-Star teams' starters will be announced Sunday, with the pitchers and reserves announced Monday. "He gets it," Mackanin said of Papelbon's lack of work this season. "He wants to get 45, 50 saves if he can, but he's been great. He's been asked to pitch in losing situations to get some work. The other day we double-switched to keep him in the game because we needed it. No problem. He's always ready. I know he's got his issues, but at the same time when he goes out there, he competes well and he knows what he's doing. You can't ask for more. ... Well, you can ask for more than that, but he's been fine."

Troubling Trend – Something has to give and that something could put Triple-A right-hander Aaron Nola in the big leagues before the end of the month. Phillies right-hander Kevin Correia allowed 10 hits and nine runs in just 3 1/3 innings Saturday night in a 9-5 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. It was the 14th time in the past 18 games a Phillies starter had not pitched six innings. Phillies starters have pitched six or more innings just 42 times in 83 games (50.6 percent) this season. Compare that to the 2011 rotation, which pitched six or more innings 128 times in 162 games (79.0 percent). "We were on the bench talking about it," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "It gets more difficult as we go along because by the time we get to the middle or end of August these guys [the relievers] hopefully are not going to be used up. A lot of appearances. A lot of innings. A lot of pitches thrown. Something's got to give. We've got to get length out of our starters. At least two or three of them." The Phillies rotation entered Saturday averaging the third-fewest innings per game (5.59 innings per start) in baseball, which has put a tremendous strain on the bullpen. "Since I got here, that's the thing I think about most, how to keep pitchers healthy and not overdoing it," Mackanin said. Cole Hamels, who pitches the series finale Sunday afternoon, has been the only consistently reliable starter of the group, and he could be traded before the end of the month. Sean O'Sullivan pitches Monday in Los Angeles. He has pitched six-plus innings in just five of 12 starts. Chad Billingsley, who pitches Tuesday, has pitched more than five innings just once in four starts. Correia has not reached six innings in five starts. "That's the most frustrating part," Correia said. "I can deal with getting hit around. I can deal with pretty much anything. But I want to be out there as long as possible, and that's just not happening right now." What are the options? Well, Aaron Harang is on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis. Jerome Williams is on the DL, but he carried a 6.43 ERA and pitched six-plus innings in just five of 14 starts. Nola is the best and most logical choice. He allowed nine hits, three runs and struck out six in six innings Saturday night against Rochester. He has a 2.28 ERA in four starts with the IronPigs. The Phillies are mindful of his innings pitched, considering he has not pitched to this extent in the past. They also do not want to rush their prized prospect, but the time for his promotion is drawing near, regardless of when or if Hamels is traded. "In my position, I'm not even going there," Mackanin said about Nola. "I'm not going to ask them. That's up to the front office. They see the same thing we're seeing. I'm sure they're not real crazy about it either." Another option is David Buchanan, who rejoined the Triple-A rotation Thursday after being on the DL with an ankle injury. He allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings in his first start back.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 27-56. 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 55-54-0 on this day.

No comments:

Post a Comment