Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Phillies Rotation Issues Persist Against Dodgers

GAME RECAP: Dodgers Down Phillies 10-7

Jimmy Rollins came through in the clutch against his old team and the Dodgers held on for a hard-fought 10-7 victory over the Phillies on Monday night at Dodger Stadium in a game that took four hours and 13 minutes to complete. Rollins came to the plate with two outs in the seventh inning with the score tied at 7, and drove in a pair of runs to give the Dodgers a lead they wouldn't surrender. Rollins was 2-for-4 in his first game against Philadelphia after spending 15 years with the Phillies. Howie Kendrick chipped in four hits for Los Angeles. "When you get a hit like that, it feels good, no matter who you're playing against," Rollins said. "If you don't, it's like 'damn it.' I definitely didn't want to have a 'damn it' moment against my former team, but it wasn't something extra. "You put me in situations where it counts, I've just had a knack for getting it done lots of times." Both teams had hot bats and struggled on the mound. Sean O'Sullivan lasted 5 1/3 innings as the starter for the Phillies, but allowed seven runs (six earned). Reliever Yimi Garcia made his first career start for the Dodgers, although he went just two innings by design. J.P. Howell earned the win as Los Angeles used seven pitchers in the game. "I wasn't really surprised," Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said about Rollins' late-inning heroics. "He's always been that kind of guy. Big-game situations, it doesn't matter what uniform he is wearing. He's always been that guy that wants to be up there in that situation. He's always been a guy who wants to be in that moment."

  • In the sixth inning, the Phillies had a chance to end a Dodgers rally before it even began. With Rollins on first, Joc Pederson grounded into what could've been an inning-ending double play, but Cesar Hernandez bobbled the ball and could only record one out. The next hitter, Kendrick, singled to left to put the Dodgers up, 7-6.
  • The Phillies got to Eric Surkamp in his Dodgers debut almost immediately once he entered the game in the third inning. Hernandez reached on a bunt single, then Maikel Franco walked on four pitches before Howard blasted a 2-2 curveball into the bleachers for a 5-3 Phillies lead. Surkamp pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, four runs and struck out four. Although there was no roster move made Monday night, Surkamp was cleaning out his locker after the game. "We wanted to take some of the pressure off Eric from the standpoint of not starting the game," manager Don Mattingly said. "Other than the rough first inning, he actually was not so bad."
  • The Phillies' rotation struggles continued. The Phillies gave O'Sullivan a 6-3 lead in the fourth, but he served up a three-run home run to Yasmani Grandal in the fifth to tie the game. O'Sullivan (1-6, 6.08 ERA) allowed eight hits, and seven of them were for extra bases (four doubles, one triple, two home runs). The Phillies outrighted him to Triple-A after the game. He has not decided if he will accept his assignment or become a free agent. The Phillies will announce a corresponding move Tuesday. It is likely to be a relief pitcher until O'Sullivan's turn in the rotation comes up Saturday. "I told him this is a bottom-line business at this level," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "You've got to perform. He said, 'I get it. I understand. It's not a big surprise to me.' We've got to get some length out of those starters."
  • Before Rollins' heroics, his replacement in Philadelphia had a headline-worthy game. Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis hit a two-run home run in the second inning to tie the game at 2. He then hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh to tie the game at 7. Galvis entered the night hitting .378 (17-for-45) with three doubles, three RBIs and an .884 OPS in 12 games since June 21.
  • "Under normal circumstances, very often what is happening is the pitcher gets into the fifth, and I don't really want to send the guy back out in the sixth, because he hasn't looked sharp, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we can, so that I don't abuse the bullpen." -- Mackanin, on Phillies starters' inability to pitch deep in games, which has taxed the bullpen. Phillies starters have been unable to complete at least six innings in 15 of the last 20 games.
Phillies right-hander Chad Billingsley faces his former team for the first time Tuesday night against the Dodgers at 10:10 p.m. ET. Billingsley spent his entire career with the Dodgers before joining Phillies in the offseason. Billingsley spent the final two years of his Dodgers career recovering from a pair of right elbow surgeries. Brett Anderson takes the mound for the Dodgers for the 7:10 p.m. PT start. He's looking for his fourth straight win and has allowed just three runs in his last 20 innings pitched. Anderson leads the Majors with a 69.2 percent ground-ball rate.


Another Long Night – The Phillies took Monday night's loss to the Dodgers to new lengths. They played what is believed to be the longest nine-inning game in franchise history. Their 10-7 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium lasted four hours and 13 minutes, with former shortstop Jimmy Rollins hitting a two-out single to left field to score two runs in the seventh inning to break a tie and help give the Dodgers the victory. "I wasn't really surprised," Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said about Rollins' late-inning heroics. "He's always been that kind of guy. Big-game situations, it doesn't matter what uniform he is wearing. He's always been that guy that wants to be up there in that situation. He's always been a guy who wants to be in that moment." It took a while to reach that moment. Elias Sports Bureau only could go back to 1987, but Baseball-Reference said Monday's game was the Phillies' longest nine-inning contest since 1914. "We looked at the clock, I couldn't believe what time it was," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. Both teams threw a combined 367 pitches. Phillies starter Sean O'Sullivan threw 123 in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, seven runs, two walks, two home runs and struck out three. He could not hold a 6-3 lead, serving up a three-run home run to Yasmani Grandal in the fifth. The Phillies outrighted O'Sullivan (1-6, 6.08 ERA) to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game. He has not decided if he will accept his assignment or elect free agency. "Not really surprising," said O'Sullivan, who posted an 11.05 ERA in his last three starts. "The last three games have obviously been below par." Phillies starters have been unable to pitch six innings in 15 of the last 20 games, which has put a tremendous strain on the bullpen. It has forced Mackanin to manage the game differently. "Under normal circumstances, very often what is happening is the pitcher gets into the fifth, and I don't really want to send the guy back out in the sixth, because he hasn't looked sharp, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we can, so that I don't abuse the bullpen," he said. "We just can't afford to use the bullpen. We've got to get more length." Maybe Mackanin handles the seventh inning differently. With runners on second and third and two outs, Mackanin could have intentionally walked Rollins to load the bases then bring in a lefty to face Joc Pederson. "Here we go again," Mackanin said. "I had to use my lefties in long relief a couple days ago, because of this situation. They weren't even available tonight. Maybe for one hitter, but it's hard to use a left-hander situationally, because I might need him to pitch two innings [the next day]."

Rollins Still Offering Opinions On Phillies – Jimmy Rollins is not feeling especially nostalgic this week at Dodger Stadium. The Phillies are in town, but they traded him to the Dodgers in December. So those warm and fuzzy feelings about facing his former team? "I haven't thought about it, honestly," Rollins said Monday before delivering the key hit for the Dodgers in their 10-7 win over the Phillies. "There's enough going on around here to keep me occupied. It'll be good to see the guys. Obviously, I've texted a few of them. A few of them return them right away, some wait a week or two. But, other than that, it's another baseball game, honestly. Going there will probably be different, but coming here, they're the team we want to beat." Rollins said he is not following his former team too closely, but he certainly knows the Phillies have the worst record in baseball. "I'm glad to have gotten out when I did," Rollins said. "But I'm glad to have gotten here. [Phillies senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.] and I spoke of where I wanted to go. I said Los Angeles, and they were able to get a deal done. So that helps, it helps a whole bunch, when you go somewhere you want to go if you have to leave, as opposed to just wherever you end up." Rollins touched on number topics Monday: Ryne Sandberg resigning midseason: "When you're not winning, things happen like that. It's unfortunate that had to happen that way, no one wants to see a manager get halfway through the season and walk away for any reason other than health issues, but that wasn't the case. Pete Mackanin, who is a jokester, he's probably changed the clubhouse over there a little bit." Owner John Middleton, who emerged as a face of the organization last week: "He's a great man. I enjoyed John. Obviously you guys know his fire and his passion. And all he wants to do is win. I've always said if there can be another [George] Steinbrenner, it'll probably be him. He wants to do whatever it takes to win. Him stepping forward doesn't surprise [me]. I think it's a place where he's always wanted to be." On if he's surprised the Phillies are this bad: "[Team president] Pat Gillick said they wouldn't be a competitive team for a couple of years. I know when we were there he said that [in 2006], and we did our best to prove him wrong and the next year we were right there in the playoffs, finally broke through two years later, won a championship. I remember him saying that. I thought he was up to his old tricks again, inspiring the boys. That hasn't happened so far. Maybe he was right. Maybe he was being honest, that with what they have and what they are going to eventually have in the farm system, they might not be competitive for a couple years." On Cole Hamels possibly being traded to the Dodgers: "That would be nice. Cole would be close to home. We know what type of pitcher he is, especially in big games. He wants those games. You have two big-game pitchers that are already here [in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke], so that would be three, and that's one heck of a combination."

Changes – The Phillies outrighted right-hander Sean O'Sullivan to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following Monday's game, and have recalled right-hander Hector Neris from Triple-A. In 13 games (all starts) with the Phillies this year, O'Sullivan has gone 1-6 with a 6.08 ERA. It's his second season with Philadelphia after going 0-1 with a 6.39 mark in three games last year. Neris, 26, has appeared in two games with the Phillies this season and allowed three hits and one walk over 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Papelbon Named All Star – If the Phillies handle July the way everybody in baseball expects them to handle it, Jonathan Papelbon will make one of his final appearances in a Phillies uniform next week at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Papelbon is the Phillies' lone All-Star, selected by National League manager Bruce Bochy based on strong numbers for a closer (1.65 ERA, 14 saves in 31 appearances entering Monday's series opener in Los Angeles) despite pitching for a team that entered play Monday winning only one-third of its games this season. "I think every one of [the All-Star Game selections] is special," Papelbon said Monday about his sixth All-Star appearance. "I think the best part about this one is my kids are a little bit older. I'll be able to let them go … and let them experience it and let them kind of be able to remember it more. That will be pretty cool for me." The Phillies are expected to trade Papelbon before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Depending on who is talking, either the Phillies are asking way too much for Papelbon or teams are trying to low-ball them. Either way, Papelbon hopes to be pitching for a contender by Aug. 1. "I would be surprised," Papelbon said, asked about being with the Phillies next month. "Yeah, that would be a pretty valid answer." Would he be disappointed? "Yeah, yeah," he said. "I would say so." Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause, but he reiterated it will not be an issue. "Any team that wants me, I'm willing to go to," he said. "I just think, for me, there are no doors closed right now." Except for teams that don't want him to close. Papelbon has no interest in being a setup man. Papelbon has a $13 million club option for next season that automatically vests if he finishes 48 games this season. He already has finished 28, so he should reach that number. But Papelbon could require the option to be picked up to facilitate a trade. He only said his agents will handle that. Papelbon's salary has been an issue in trade talks, although the Phillies have said they are willing to eat salary to get the right prospects in return. "The front office knows where my heart is and where my mind is," Papelbon said. "And that's to be with a contending ballclub. The ball is in the Phillies' court, the front office's court, or I should say Andy MacPhail's court? I haven't had the opportunity to speak with Andy. I wish I could have. And I would still like to speak with him. But for some reason, that hasn't been made possible for me." Of course, MacPhail isn't officially calling the shots yet. "Well, then [Phillies president Pat Gillick] knows where I stand and [senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.] knows exactly where I stand," he said. "I think everybody knows where I'm at. I've always been straightforward that I want to go play for a contender, and I'm not going to shy away from it. I feel like that's my right and my prerogative to have that opportunity, and, you know, it's in their hands. The ball's in their court. I guess that's kind of it." Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 4 p.m. ET on Friday. And the voting doesn't end there. During the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy. MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The 86th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (coverage begins 7 p.m. ET), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive 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 allstargame.com.

Getting Closer – Aaron Nola remains the Phillies' closest pitching prospect to the big leagues, especially with the rotation consistently struggling to pitch six innings. It would not be a surprise to see him with the Phillies before the end of the month. Nola, the club's No. 2 prospect, according to MLB.com, is 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, after going 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA in 12 starts for Double-A Reading. "He's close," senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday. "He's still working on some things. He struggled through a couple of games. He hasn't necessarily been knocked around, but it hasn't been easy for him. He's still learning some things and dealing with more veteran hitters in Triple-A, which is a good test for him. "I don't think he's that far away, but when he's ready he'll be here. Just because our rotation is very poor right now, it doesn't mean we're going to bring him to the big leagues for that reason. We're going to bring him when it's time for him developmentally."

Phillies Win? – The Phillies only truly began their rebuilding process last December, when they traded Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers for a pair of Minor League pitchers. The move proved symbolic, because the organization finally cut ties with one of its iconic players. "It absolutely was the right thing for us to do," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Sunday at Turner Field. "We'll continue to try to do those types of deals that'll help bring some talent into our system and afford opportunities for young players like Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco." The early returns for the Phillies are positive. Rollins entered Monday's series opener against the Phillies at Dodger Stadium hitting .208 with 10 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 24 RBIs and a .585 OPS, which ranked 161st out of 164 qualified hitters in baseball, though he did have the key hit in the Dodgers' 10-7 win. Meanwhile, Double-A Reading right-hander Zach Eflin, whom the Phillies acquired in the deal and is ranked the club's No. 4 prospect, is 5-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 14 starts. Reading left-hander Tom Windle, whom they also acquired and is the club's No. 5 prospect, just moved to the bullpen after struggling as a starter, but the Phillies think his arm will play big there. "We're very pleased. I'm very happy with [the deal]," Amaro said. "Eflin has a chance to be one of, if not the best, one of the best pitching prospects we have in our organization. Right now, [No. 2 prospect Aaron Nola] is the guy that people are focusing on, but Eflin has a chance to have every bit as high a ceiling. "Windle has a strong arm. His command wasn't really good enough to be a starter at this stage of his career, but we think throwing him in the 'pen gives him a faster track to the big leagues. There's great value in those guys that can throw in the mid-to-upper 90s [mph] from the left side."

Minor Update – Players of the Week: Player INF/OF Tyler Henson, Lehigh Valley...Henson, 27, batted .444 with a home run, 10 RBI, six runs scored, five doubles, four stolen bases and a triple last week on his way to Phillies Minor League Player of the Week honors. Henson went 3-4 with a home run, double and four RBI on June 30, setting the stage for his productive week. He went 10-26 in the four games that followed, recording multiple hits in three of them and multiple RBI in two. He raised his batting average 31 points in just seven games from June 29 to July 5, and was also named an International League All-Star. Henson was signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent in 2011 after originally being signed by the Orioles and Jim Richardson following his selection in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. Pitcher - LHP Adam Loewen, Lehigh Valley...The 31-year-old Loewen was named Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week for the second time in three weeks after four dominant relief appearances for the IronPigs. In those four games, he combined to throw 6.0 innings, allowing just one hit and no runs or walks while striking out nine and collecting two saves. The southpaw has not allowed a run since May 17, and in his last 8.1 innings has surrendered one walk, one hit and has struck out 14 batters. Loewen was signed by the Phillies in April of 2014 as a minor league free agent, and was originally signed by the Orioles and Dave Jennings after being selected in the first round by Baltimore in the 2002 draft. Lehigh Vslley IronPigs - International League North Division…36-49, 5th place…The IronPigs won six of their seven games last week, sweeping the first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in a three-game set before taking three of four from the second-place Rochester Red Wings. After starting 4-13 against IL North opponents, Lehigh Valley has pulled to .500 against divisional foes for the first time this season. Top hitting performers - INF/OF Tyler Henson was named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week after batting .444 in seven games with a team-high seven extra-base hits (five doubles, triple, home run) 10 RBI, six runs scored, four stolen bases and a 1.196 OPS…OF Aaron Altherr was 9-28 (.321) with five RBI, five walks, three doubles, a triple and six runs scored…C Gabriel Lino hit safely in all five of his games, batting .364 with four doubles, four RBI and four runs scored. Top pitching performers - LHP Adam Loewen appeared in four games in relief, combining to toss 6.0 scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and nine strikeouts. His performance earned him Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week for the second time in three weeks…RHP Jason Berken turned in his longest outing since 2007 on July 5, tossing 8.2 innings of two-run ball to help Lehigh Valley to a win over Rochester...RHP Aaron Nola made two starts for the IronPigs, combining to throw 11.0 innings while allowing three earned runs (2.45 ERA) and striking out 10 batters…RHP David Buchanan lasted 6.1 innings and allowed just one run in his first triple-A start since May 17. Reading Fightin Phils - Eastern League Eastern Division …43-39, 2nd place…Reading continues to put pressure on the Trenton Thunder for the top spot in the division after a 4-3 week which included a series win over New Britain. Reading currently sits just three games back of first place as they round out a series with the Thunder during the day on Monday. Top hitting performers - OF Kelly Dugan is now hitting .341 with Reading after collecting 11 hits in 31 at-bats for the Fightins last week. He has multiple hits in 10 of 21 games since his promotion…1B Brock Stassi not only hit .364, but also walked 11 times in seven games, giving him a .576 on-base percentage for the week. He also scored six runs for the Fightins…3B Harold Martinez collected a couple of three-hit games on his way to a .389 batting average and four RBI in six games…C Andrew Knapp drove in eight runs while batting .316. Since being promoted to double-A, Knapp has hit safely in all eight games and has three multi-RBI games. Top pitching performers - RHP Ben Lively surrendered just one run on six hits over 5.0 innings of work against New Britain on July 1…RHP Colton Murray made two multi-inning relief appearances, combining to throw 5.0 innings with no runs allowed and three strikeouts. Murray has held opponents scoreless in seven of his last eight outings. Clearwater Threshers - Florida State League North Division…8-3, 1st place, 45-36 overall… The Threshers are in the middle of a hot streak, as they won five of seven games last week and have taken 14 of their last 17 dating back to June 17. They have not lost a series since being swept by Tampa June 4-6. Top hitting performers - OF Andrew Pullin belted two home runs, drove in 10 runs and scored seven more while batting .323 over seven games. His home runs came on consecutive days, and he also recorded eight of his 10 RBI in those two games…C Chace Numata capped his week with consecutive three-hit games, helping him to a .357 average…C Willians Astudillo batted .348 with a home run, six RBI and three runs scored…1B Rhys Hoskins collected eight hits, walked four times, scored five runs and knocked in three more in seven games. Top pitching performers - RHP Yacksel Rios pitched to a 1.80 ERA (two earned runs in 10.0 innings) and 0.70 WHIP (five hits, two walks) in his two starts combined. Opponents hit just .139 against him…RHP Victor Arano earned the win in his lone start after scattering four hits and allowing just one run in 6.0 innings July 1 against Tampa…LHP Matt Imhof threw 6.0 scoreless frames and yielded only one hit to Tampa in his start on July 3. Lakewood BlueClaws - South Atlantic League Northern Division…5-6, T-4th place, 38-41 overall… Lakewood lost four straight contests to begin the week, but rebounded to win their series finale with Delmarva and the series opener with Hagerstown to salvage an otherwise tough week. The offense has been a bright a spot for the BlueClaws, scoring five runs or more in each of the last four games. Top hitting performers - 1B Kyle Martin, the Phillies fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft, led the team with five extra-base hits (four doubles and a triple) and 16 total bases last week. He hit .357 with six runs scored…INF Damek Tomscha hit a home run and added three doubles, helping him to a .360/.429/.600 slash line last week with four RBI…LF Cord Sandberg was 8-24 (.333) with three RBI and two runs scored. Top pitching performers - LHP Austin Davis came out of the bullpen for 4.2 innings and did not allow a run on June 29. He followed that up with a 3.0-inning, one-run relief appearance on July 3…RHP Tyler Viza struck out seven batters during a 7.2-inning, two-run quality start against Delmarva…LHP Elniery Garcia did not allow a run and surrendered just five hits in 7.0 innings during his start on July4…LHP Joey DeNato struck out three and allowed just one hit in 3.2 innings in relief. Williamsport Crosscutters - New York-Penn League Pinckney Division…13-3, 1st place…It took Williamsport 16 games-just about a quarter of their entire season-to drop back-to-back games. That is how good the Crosscutters have been in the early part of the 2015 season. They won four more games last week and already lead the Pinckney Division by six full games over the Auburn Doubledays. Top hitting performers - The Phillies 10th round pick in 2015, 2B Josh Tobias, posted four-multi-hit games as he batted .375 with a home run and six RBI for the Crosscutters…C Gregori Rivero hit .333 with a home run, three doubles, two RBI and a .667 slugging percentage. Top pitching performers -  RHP Jose Taveras lasted 6.0 strong innings and allowed just a run on two hits while striking out six in his start last week…RHP Alejandro Arteaga also allowed one run on two hits and struck out six in his 5.0-inning start against Auburn…RHP Franklyn Kilome let one unearned run cross the plate in 5.0 innings of work on July 3. He has allowed just one earned run in his first 16.2 innings this season (0.54 ERA). GCL Phillies - Gulf Coast League, Northwest Division…9-2, 1st place… The Phillies started and ended the week with three wins, sandwiching a lone loss to the GCL Braves in between as they continue their strong start to the season. Pitching has certainly been a focal point during this hot stretch, as the team pitched two shutouts and had two more games with just one run allowed. They have surrendered only 24 runs in 11 games this season, which is fewest in the league by nine runs. Top hitting performers - 1B Luis Encarnacion had 10 hits in 20 at-bats, including a home run and a triple. He drove in five runs and tallied 15 total bases…LF Cornelius Randolph, the Phillies first-round selection in the 2015 draft, hit safely in all but one of his six games. He doubled three times, drove in seven runs and reached base at a .423 clip…CF Juan Luis hit .294 with three runs, three stolen bases and a pair of doubles. Top pitching performers -  RHP Sam McWilliams started his season with 6.0-inning, two-hit, scoreless performance on June 30 against the GCL Astros…LHP Ranger Suarez has not yet allowed a run this season in 11.0 innings following a 6.0-inning scoreless start on July 3…RHP Ismael Cabrera made one start and appeared once in relief, combining for 5.0 scoreless frames with eight strikeouts.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now at the bottom of the NL east at 28-57. 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 31-70-0 on this day.

No comments:

Post a Comment