Thursday, July 9, 2015

Phillies Overmatched By Kershaw And Dodgers

GAME RECAP: Dodgers Blank Phillies 5-0

Clayton Kershaw made his case for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote and A.J. Ellis and Jimmy Rollins homered as the Dodgers beat the Phillies, 5-0, Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. In his last start before the All-Star break, and last audition for the Final Vote, Kershaw fired his first shutout of the season. The MLB leader in strikeouts tied a season-high with 13 strikeouts and allowed eight hits. Kershaw's ERA is 1.53 in his last nine starts and his season ERA dropped to 2.85. "He was really strong. He was 0-1 all night long, which sets up the entire at-bat for Clayton," Ellis said. "Hopefully, and rightfully so, Major League Baseball gets to see this guy next week." Adam Morgan lasted just four innings and took the loss for the Phillies. In his third career start, Morgan allowed five runs, all coming on the home runs, his second straight outing allowing multiple home runs. "It's a process, but I feel great right now," Morgan said. "I still feel like there's more, so I'm just going to keep working my butt off and hopefully take the ball whenever I get the chance again."

  • The Phillies felt pretty good after Morgan allowed two runs in seven innings last weekend against Atlanta, but he could not replicate that success against the Dodgers. He allowed six hits, five runs, one walk and two home runs in just four innings. "We were careful with him," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's allowed to not be sharp once in a while, especially when you're a rookie. I think he's better than he pitched today. I think he's more like the last two starts than he was today."
  • Morgan's early departure forced the Phillies' already overworked bullpen into another long night. That is worth noting with rookie right-hander Severino Gonzalez pitching Thursday night's series finale. Gonzalez has not pitched more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his six starts this season.
  • "When a guy like Kershaw is pitching like he did tonight, you're in trouble. Obviously, he's got six losses, so somebody caught him at the right time. We unfortunately didn't." – Mackanin.
  • The Phillies had not been shut out since June 15. They had averaged 4.86 runs per game since, which ranked 8th in Major League Baseball.
Rookie right-hander Gonzalez rejoins the Phillies' rotation for Thursday night's series finale against the Dodgers. He is 2-3 with an 8.28 ERA in six starts and has been unable to pitch more than 5 1/3 innings in any of them, but the Phillies would rather give him another look than right-hander Kevin Correia, whom they designated for assignment Tuesday. Zack Greinke will be on the mound for the final game of the four-game set at 7:10 p.m. PT. Greinke leads the Majors with a 1.48 ERA and hasn't allowed a run in his last 27 2/3 innings, a streak that spans four consecutive starts. Greinke has lasted at least six innings in every start this season.


Getting Through The Night – Adam Morgan had allowed just three runs in the first 12 2/3 innings of his Phillies career. But he had no illusions pitching in the big leagues would be so easy. Wednesday night proved to be a reality check anyway. Morgan allowed six hits, five runs, one walk and two home runs in four innings in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. It was the shortest start of his very brief, three-start career, and the 16th time in the last 22 games a Phillies starter has been unable to pitch six innings. "I felt off a little bit," Morgan said. "The biggest mistake that I think that I made was falling behind on guys, trying to pick too much." Morgan walked Howie Kendrick with one out in the first, then hit Justin Turner with a pitch. Freddy Galvis made an ill-advised flip to Cesar Hernandez on a ball up the middle, which loaded the bases. Morgan worked out of the jam, but he served up a two-run home run to A.J. Ellis in the second inning to hand the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. It was Ellis' first homer of the season. Morgan then allowed a three-run homer to Jimmy Rollins in the third to make it 5-0. Rollins has enjoyed playing against his former team. He entered the series hitting .208 with seven home runs, 24 RBIs and a .585 OPS. He is 4-for-12 with one double, one home run and five RBIs in three games against the Phillies, which includes the game-winning hit Monday night. Morgan hit in the fifth inning, but did not pitch in the bottom of the fifth, despite throwing 88 pitches. Interim manager Pete Mackanin explained that since Morgan has dealt with shoulder problems in the past -- he had left shoulder surgery in January 2014 -- that he erred on the side of caution. "We were careful with him," Mackanin said. "He's allowed to not be sharp once in a while, especially when you're a rookie. I think he's better than he pitched today. I think he's more like the last two starts than he was today." That is the Phillies' hope. And that is exactly why Morgan will get more starts after the All-Star break next week. "You pull for Adam Morgan because of the way he goes about his business," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday. "The way he's handled himself so far, you have to respect that and hope that it continues." "It's a process, but I feel great right now," Morgan said. "I still feel like there's more, so I'm just going to keep working my butt off and hopefully take the ball whenever I get the chance again."

Who’s At Second? – Chase Utley is the greatest second baseman in Phillies history, but it appears Cesar Hernandez's time has come. Hernandez, 25, is hitting .301 (55-for-183) with 10 doubles, one triple, one home run, 19 RBIs and a .768 OPS in 72 games. He was 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout in Tuesday night's 7-2 win over the Dodgers. But is the iconic Utley, 36, still the primary second baseman when he returns from the DL? "Not for me he's not," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Cesar Hernandez is our best second baseman." So whenever Utley returns … "I would assume that Cesar will be our second baseman," Amaro said. "Chase's situation will kind of dictate itself, how he feels. There'll be time for him to play, I think. He could play some first base. He could play some second. But as far as I'm concerned, just like what our plan has been for a long, long time, that's to give opportunities to young men who could be part of our future. Cesar Hernandez has been one of our best players on the field right now in a variety of ways." Not surprisingly, Utley had little reaction about Amaro's comments. "Well, I think Cesar has done a really good job," Utley said. "There you go." Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin seems to be on board with Amaro. Asked for a health update on Utley before the game, Mackanin said, "I haven't heard a word. But with Cesar playing so well, it's not really a big deal for the simple reason that Utley has not played and seen pitching, so when he does come back … you really can't count on him. How long has it been? Two weeks. And by the time he starts taking BP and all of that stuff, it's probably going to be a month before he comes back in and then what do you do? I don't know." Utley's ankle has improved since a cortisone injection. He could begin baseball activities before the end of the road trip. He also said recently he could be back on the field before the end of the month.

Head Toward The Light – The Phillies have the worst record in baseball, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he sees a light at the end of a long tunnel. "I would put our farm system up against anybody's," Amaro said Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. "I'm not saying that because I'm the GM, I'm saying it because at this stage right now from top to bottom, from [Class A] Williamsport to the [rookie-level] GCL to [Double-A] Reading and with [Aaron] Nola and [Aaron] Altherr and some guys in Triple-A, I would put our organization up against any of them. "We have players," he said. "We have more players since I've been here … 17 years. When you can move players from low A to high A and not skip a beat, that's when you know you're starting to build depth in your organization. "We've got players. I'm telling you. Are they all going to be Major Leaguers? Absolutely not. Will they be impact players? Absolutely not. But as far as depth …" He said it's the best he has seen since he has been in the Phillies' front office. Minor matters: Right-hander Jonathan Pettibone will have right shoulder surgery (an interval closure) on July 22. It is Pettibone's second shoulder surgery. He had his first in June 2014; Right-hander Sean O'Sullivan accepted his assignment and will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies outrighted him Monday; Right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez continues to have shoulder problems. He has been shut down from throwing.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 29-58. 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 40-49-0 on this day.

No comments:

Post a Comment