Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Phillies Can’t Keep Lead In Loss To Mets

GAME RECAP: Mets Edge Phillies 6-5

If the Phillie Phanatic crushing a Mets helmet to smithereens during a between-innings gag was not evidence enough, then Larry Bowa's ejection sealed it. Make no mistake: the Mets may be in first place and the Phillies in last, but there's still a rivalry coursing down Interstate 95. That was apparent throughout the Mets' fifth straight win on Monday, a 6-5 victory at Citizens Bank Park that improved them to 10-1 against the Phillies this season. Noah Syndergaard earned his first road victory of the year, Travis d'Arnaud tied things on a bases-loaded walk and Michael Cuddyer gave the Mets the lead for good with a pinch-hit, two-run single off Jeanmar Gomez in the sixth. Warnings were issued an inning later, when Hansel Robles attempted a quick pitch before Darin Ruf was ready at the plate. The Mets had raised eyebrows in Monday's series opener for bat flips after more than one of their franchise-record eight home runs. "Tensions are high and it escalated from there," Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy said Tuesday. "We swung the bats well yesterday. We got a good win today. I know what we're concerned about in this clubhouse, and that's playing good baseball." The Phillies struck out nine times in five innings against Syndergaard, but took an early lead on two-run homers from Freddy Galvis and Ryan Howard. Gomez gave up one run of his own and two that he inherited from starter Jerome Williams, who also allowed a two-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes and an RBI double to Syndergaard.

  • Gomez had been one of the team's better relievers this season, posting a 2.08 ERA in 56 1/3 innings over his first 48 appearances. But Gomez has struggled lately. He replaced Williams with two on and one out in the sixth. He walked the bases loaded before he walked in a run to cut the Phillies' lead to one. He then allowed a two-out single to Cuddyer to score two runs to give the Mets a 6-4 lead. Gomez has allowed nine hits and seven runs in four innings in his last four appearances. "Lately his sinker, he hasn't been able to keep his sinker down," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's elevating the sinker. He had both of those guys with two strikes on them and he just couldn't put them away. The base hit to Cuddyer was a sinker but he elevated it. It was too on it."
  • Galvis and Howard each hit two-run home runs in the third inning to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. But for the second consecutive night against the Mets, the Phillies' could not hold the lead. "It's nice to see that we fought them," Mackanin said. "Knocked out their two starters last night and tonight. It's good to see that. We scored five runs. Had a chance to win. Just couldn't capitalize."
  • Bowa was ejected in the seventh inning after Robles attempted to pitch before Ruf was ready. Bowa began yelling from the dugout, prompting umpire Dan Bellino to eject him and warn Robles and both benches. The Mets also began spilling out of their dugout, though order was quickly restored and Robles struck out Ruf to end the inning. "I was surprised because I was trying to do my job, trying to do exactly what I've been doing before with the quick pitch," Robles said through an interpreter. "The batter got into the box and the umpire pointed to me, so I was ready to execute my pitches."
  • Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera leads Major League rookies with 25 doubles. He could become the first Phillie to lead big league rookies in doubles since Juan Samuel had 36 in 1984.
  • The Phillies need to win five of their final eight games against the Mets to avoid their worst season series ever against New York. They dropped to 1-10 against New York after Tuesday's loss.

Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon hopes to get on track for the stretch run beginning Wednesday night against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. He is 10-11 with a 4.90 ERA this season, but has posted a 6.08 ERA in his last seven starts. He has allowed 53 hits and 27 runs in 40 innings. Colon is 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts this season against the Phillies. The Phillies counter with rookie right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, whom they acquired last month from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade. Eickhoff pitched six scoreless innings in his big league debut last week against the Marlins at Marlins Park.


Where Have You Been Larry? – Give the man a chance to hit. Tempers flared and benches emptied in the seventh inning Tuesday night in the Mets' 6-5 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies felt Mets right-hander Hansel Robles quick-pitched a pair of their hitters on consecutive nights before they had a chance to get set in the batter's box. The second occurrence got Jeff Francoeur out of the dugout, bench coach Larry Bowa ejected and Daniel Murphy wondering why Bowa wanted him drilled in the ribs with a pitch. "Let the guy step in the box," Francoeur said. "That's all I ask. We saw [Jeurys] Familia quick pitch, but the guy was ready. LaTroy [Hawkins] did it to me earlier this year in Toronto. Ruffy [Darin Ruf] had one foot in the box [in the seventh]. That's chicken … that's what it is. I never met the guy and I have no problem with him. Let the guy get in the box. And if they can't understand why we are upset with that … it had nothing to do with anything else." Ruf had just raised his head in the batter's box when Robles delivered his first pitch to him to the plate. Home-plate umpire Dan Bellino immediately called off the pitch, but the Phillies felt Robles did the same thing Monday night to Cameron Rupp, which prompted them to start yelling. Francoeur quickly stepped out onto the field to express his displeasure. "Jeff, sit down! Jeff, sit down!" Bellino shouted to Francoeur. Bowa got ejected almost immediately after that. Bowa, who had more than a few memorable ejections as Phillies manager from 2001-04, then got in Bellino's face. "I stopped it," Bellino told Bowa about the pitch. "Larry just got a little bit aggravated because it happened two days in a row," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "Same pitcher. It's a legal play and there's nothing wrong with it. But the umpire's got to make sure that the batter is ready in the box because you can get hurt. Rupp just got his hand on the bat [Monday] and the pitch was on its way. So you've just got to be careful with it. Larry reacted." Mets manager Terry Collins disagreed with Bowa, whom Collins called one of his best friends. They worked together in Anaheim, when Collins managed the Angels. "I saw a quick pitch and Larry went like Larry is," Collins said. "He's pretty intense. I just said until they make the pitch illegal, you can do it. I see it all the time." It was a coincidence that Francoeur mentioned Hawkins, but when Hawkins pitched for the Mets in 2013, he encouraged Mets relievers to employ the quick pitch. Many obviously still keep up with the practice. Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud said he told Robles to wait to throw because he noticed Ruf looking down. Robles said through an interpreter that he saw Belllino point to him to throw. Murphy later saw Bowa yelling at him from the dugout. Bowa apparently did not like the way Murphy flipped his bat after he hit a home run Monday night. He told Murphy he should get a pitch to the ribs. It is at that point both teams got warnings. "I can't sit here and try to pretend to know what someone else was thinking," Murphy said. "If that's the reason, then he must have taken exception to it. But I can't put what somebody else is thinking at a certain moment." "I don't know what that was about," Mackanin said about Bowa. "I think he just got mad at everybody." Bowa left the clubhouse after the game and was unavailable to comment. "I had no problem with the way those guys played," Francoeur said. "They played hard. They are a great baseball team. I've got a lot of buddies on that team. My whole thing is to give the guy time because that's bull …"

Rotation Decisions – The Phillies want to see more Aaron Nola, Adam Morgan and Jerad Eickhoff in their rotation before the end of the season. They might want to see Triple-A right-hander Alec Asher, too. So where does that leave veteran right-hander Jerome Williams, who allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings in Tuesday night's 6-5 loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park? That remains to be seen. He could be bumped if the Phillies decide they want to see Asher or another prospect in September. Or he could remain, if the Phillies decide to use a six-man rotation. "You're always auditioning," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said before the game. "It's a big start for everybody the rest of the year because we're looking forward to next year and trying to decide who's going to stay and who's going to go. So every start from here on out is important." "I have no control over that," Williams said afterward. "All I want to try to do is go out there and pitch, leave it all out there on the field." The Phillies acquired Asher from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade. He is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts with the IronPigs. "There's a lot of things that we've discussed," Mackanin said. "Who do we want to call up, all those kinds of questions are mulling around right now. I'm sure some things will probably change. I don't know what, but we're going to have to wait until we get closer to that time and make the decision and then I'll have a better answer for you." Williams dropped to 4-10 with a 6.13 ERA. "I think he's got to continue to earn the spot," Mackanin said about Williams. "I haven't talked to Ruben [Amaro Jr.] about it. I don't know what his thinking is. I know one thing, we have to limit innings for Nola and I guess Eickhoff and Morgan because of his shoulder issues that he's had over the last few years. That being the case, that's when the possible six-man rotation came up, just throwing out ideas. If that's the case, maybe things won't change. There might be an addition."

Frenchy To Stay With Phillies – Every time Jeff Francoeur hits a home run, somebody wonders why a contender would not want him for the stretch run. But Francoeur will not be traded before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline. A source confirmed an report that Francoeur did not clear revocable waivers. A team claimed him, but the Phillies could not strike a deal with that team. That team could be the Pirates, who expressed interest in Francoeur before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Francoeur said before Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Mets that he is more than happy to finish the season with the Phillies. "I've enjoyed my time here," he said. "I think they know that." Francoeur is hitting .269 (68-for-253) with 13 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 38 RBIs and a .766 OPS. His OPS ranks second on the team only to Maikel Franco (.830), among Phillies with a 150 or more at-bats. Francoeur will be a free agent after the season. The Phillies seem interested in bringing him back, but nobody knows what will happen. First, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s contract expires after the season and incoming president Andy MacPhail has not announced any decision about the GM spot. The Phillies also need to decide who their manager is going to be, if it is not going to be interim manager Pete Mackanin. Of course, then the Phillies have to figure out how they want to configure their 2016 outfield. "I would come back for the right situation," Francoeur said. "Once they figure all that out, yeah, I'd definitely be interested." Could he handle another season on a rebuilding team? "I could. I really could," Francoeur said. "I like where we're going right now. Hell, we have the [fourth]-best record in the National League in the second half. At the same time, I'm not saying I've got to play every day, but I would want an opportunity to play if I'm playing well. I'm not saying every day, though. But for the right opportunity, yeah, I'd definitely come back."

First Hand Look – Somehow, someway, the Phillies have the third-best record in the National League and the fourth-best record in baseball since the All-Star break. They have mostly young players to thank for that. Phillies fans will get a look at two of them for the first time this week at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies host the Mets in a four-game series. Rookie right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, whom they acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade, starts Wednesday night against the first-place Mets. Rookie infielder/outfielder Darnell Sweeney, whom they acquired from the Dodgers in the Chase Utley deal, made his debut at Citizens Bank Park in Monday's 16-7 loss to the Mets when he flew out in the 7th inning as a pinch-hitter. Eickhoff allowed five hits, one walk and struck out five in six scoreless innings in his big league debut Friday against the Marlins in Miami. Sweeney crushed a homer for his first big league hit Saturday against the Marlins. He started Sunday and walked three times in four plate appearances. "I like him," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said about Sweeney. "He looked like a sure-handed outfielder. He moves well. He went to the ball well. I was just talking to [bench coach] Larry Bowa and [hitting coach Steve] Henderson about the first time [Sweeney] took batting practice. The ball wasn't coming off his bat in batting practice very well. He wasn't really popping the ball. Then he hits that home run to left-center [at Marlins Park.]" The ball traveled a projected 445 feet, according to Statcast™. "He crushed it. That got rid of any doubts we might have had about his pop," Mackanin said with a smile. The Phillies' farm system had been ranked near the bottom in baseball for years, but the prospects Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and his staff acquired in the past month, along with strong Drafts the past two or three years, have jumped them to No. 7 in baseball, according to Eickhoff and Sweeney are two of the reasons why.

Minor Update – Player OF Aaron Brown, Clearwater…Brown, a 23-year old in his second professional season, earned Player of the Week Honors after batting .455 (10-22) with a home run, six runs scored, two doubles, two RBI and a walk in six games. He began the week with four straight multi-hit games, including his fourth three-hit game of the season on August 18. He has scored or driven in at least one run in six of his last seven contests. Brown was selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2014 draft out of Pepperdine University and was signed by Shane Bowers. Pitcher - RHP Ricardo Pinto, Clearwater…The 21-year-old Pinto made one start for the Threshers, tossing 6.0 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and just three hits allowed as he was named Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week. He has allowed just one run in his last 19.2 innings (0.92 ERA), and over that span has surrendered just 11 hits and three walks (0.71 WHIP) while striking out 16 batters. This is the right-hander's second Pitcher of the Week award this season, with the first coming for the week of June 22-28. Pinto was signed by the Phillies and Jesus Mendez as an amateur free agent in December of 2011. Lehigh Valley IronPigs - International League North Division…57-71, 5th place… The IronPigs ended the week on a strong note with back-to-back wins over Pawtucket as they went 3-2 in a week shortened by an off-day and a postponement. Lehigh Valley's pitching led the way as they allowed two runs or fewer in four of their five games, including a 2-0 shutout of the Red Sox on August 22. Top hitting performers - OF Brian Bogusevic recorded three multi-hit games, batting .333 for the week with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored…INF Chase d'Arnaud hit his fifth home run of the season, scored three runs and drove in two…OF Kelly Dugan hit his second home run of the year as a member of the IronPigs. Top pitching performers - RHP Sean O'Sullivan pitched a career-high 8.1 innings and allowed just one unearned run on three hits while striking out nine batters in his start against the RailRiders…RHP Alec Asher made one start, holding Pawtucket scoreless over 7.0 innings while surrendering only five hits…RHP Dustin McGowan converted all three of his save opportunities, combining to throw 2.2 scoreless innings. Reading Fightin Phils - Eastern League Eastern Division …72-54, 1st place…The start and finish to the week were complete opposites for Reading, who entered the week on a roll and now find themselves with a three-game losing streak. They took three straight from New Hampshire, scoring six runs or more in all of them, but then were swept by New Britain, scoring just seven runs in three games. Despite the mini skid, Reading still holds a 3.5-game lead in the division. Top hitting performers - 1B Brock Stassi hit safely in all six games, going 7-17 (.412) with a home run, eight runs scored, six RBI, six walks, a .520 on-base percentage and a 1.285 OPS. He now has 83 RBI this season…OF Destin Hood drove in 10 runs in five games thanks to a career-high 6-RBI game on August 19, during which he homered twice and doubled…SS J.P. Crawford hit .308 with a double, triple, four runs scored and three stolen bases. Top pitching performers - RHP Jake Thompson tossed 6.0 innings, striking out seven while allowing just two runs. He has pitched 6.0 innings or more and allowed two runs or fewer in all four of his starts with Reading…RHP Ethan Martin did not allow a run in his 5.2 frames on August 22 and now has allowed only two runs in his last 17.2 innings (1.02 ERA)…RHP Reinier Roibal made two appearances out of the bullpen, combining to surrender one unearned run on one hit in 4.1 innings. Clearwater Threshers - Florida State League North Division…35-22, 2nd place, 72-55 overall… The Threshers' offense exploded last week as they combined for 48 runs in seven games on the way to a 5-2 record. They won three straight over Dunedin on the road, took the opener of a three-game set from Brevard County and rebounded from two losses to win game one of an important series with the first -place Daytona Tortugas. Top hitting performers - OF Aaron Brown was named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week after batting .455 in six games with a home run, two doubles and a couple of RBI…OF Dylan Cozens recorded four multi-hit games, scored seven runs, doubled, tripled and drove in three runs…1B Rhys Hoskins displayed his power, homering twice and driving in 10 runs in seven games. He also recorded four doubles, helping him to a .750 slugging percentage as he was named Florida State League Player of the Week…3B Mitch Walding batted .409 (9-22) with four RBI, three runs scored, two doubles and a stolen base…OF Andrew Pullin leads the Florida State League with 14 home runs after adding two more to his total last week. They both came in the same game-a 4-4, 4 RBI effort on August 23. He batted .348 with seven RBI for the week…C Willians Astudillo had hits in all four of his games, batting an even .400 with three runs scored and two RBI. His .331 average leads the league. Top pitching performers - RHP Ricardo Pinto was named Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week after holding Dunedin scoreless over 6.2 strong innings on the hill. He struck out six batters and allowed only three hits…RHP Yacksel Rios also had a strong outing during which he surrendered just three hits over 6.0 shutout innings…RHP Alexis Rivero struck out eight batters in 5.0 innings, nailing down two saves in as many chances. His five strikeouts and 3.0 innings on August 19 were both season highs…RHP Alberto Tirado struck out six batters and did not allow a hit over 5.0 innings in relief (two games). Lakewood BlueClaws - South Atlantic League Northern Division…30-26,T-2nd place, 63-61 overall…Lakewood fell 9.0 games out of first place after winning only two of their seven games last week. Their wins came consecutively-the finale of a series against Delmarva and opener of a series against West Virginia-and they finished the week with three straight losses. Top hitting performers -OF Jiandido Tromp recorded a team-high 10 hits as he batted .400 with a home run and five RBI and a stolen base…1B/3B Damek Tomscha had hits in all but one of his six games, driving in five runs and scoring four more while hitting .350…2B Scott Kingery went 7-24 (.292) and led the team with six runs scored and three stolen bases…C Deivi Grullon hit two home runs-they came in consecutive games-and drove in five runs. Top pitching performers - For the second time in three starts, RHP Tyler Viza threw 8.0 innings and allowed one unearned run as he lowered his season ERA to 3.38…LHP Elniery Garcia yielded five hits over 6.0 frames, with just one run crossing the plate…RHP Manny Martinez had two relief outings of 3.0 innings, allowing no hits with four strikeouts in the first and one hit with two strikeouts in the second…RHP Will Morris tossed 5.0 scoreless innings in his lone start and now has back-to-back scoreless outings. His ERA is 1.59 through his first 12 games. Williamsport Crosscutters - New York-Penn League Pinckney Division…39-22, 1st place…The Crosscutters had an abbreviated week of action as the New York-Penn League All-Star Break took place from August 17-18. They returned from the break as hot as they were entering it, winning four of five including a three-game sweep over Auburn. They held a 5.5-game lead in the division with 15 games to play as of Monday. Top hitting performers - CF Carlos Duran had multiple hits in three of his four games played, batting .500 (7-14) with an RBI, run and stolen base…2B Josh Tobias batted .333, drove in four runs, scored three and stole a couple of bases for Williamsport…OF Mark Laird had six hits in 18 at-bats (.333) with three RBI and three runs scored. He had three straight two-hit games to finish the week…C Austin Bossart hit safely in three of his four games (.333, 5-15) and has now hit safely in 25 of 28 with the Crosscutters. Top pitching performers - RHP Alejandro Arteaga has now allowed only one earned run in three straight starts after tossing 6.0 innings of one-run ball on August 22 against Auburn…RHP Franklyn Kilome tied a season-high 6.0 innings pitched on August 21, allowing just one run…RHP Robert Tasin now has 13 saves in 14 chances this season after securing two saves in two chances last week. GCL Phillies - Gulf Coast League, Northwest Division…32-20,2nd place…The Phillies Gulf Coast League affiliates sit 2.5 games out of first after a 3-3 showing last week. They had a chance to gain some ground on the Blue Jays with a two-game sweep, but they split the home-home series, ending the week with a 3-1 loss on Saturday. Top hitting performers - C Edgar Cabral is batting .294 this season after hitting .308 with three runs last week…OF Juan Luis had four runs scored, three walks and a pair of triples in six games played. Top pitching performers -  RHP Felix Paulino picked up the win on August 20 after allowing one run on five hits in 6.0 innings of work…RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez made two starts, firing 2.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts in the first and 3.0 shutout frames in the second…RHP Adonis Medina started one game, shutting out the GCL Blue Jays for 5.0 innings while surrendering only three hits…LHP Zach Morris came out of the bullpen for two games, combining to throw 4.1 innings with no runs allowed, one hit and seven strikeouts.

Moyer To Honor Montgomery – Jamie Moyer left the Phillies' broadcast booth last fall to spend more time with his family. But he returned to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday to promote The Moyer Foundation's third annual Champions for Children luncheon on Sept. 15 at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia, where Phillies chairman David Montgomery will be presented The Jamie Moyer Legends Award. Montgomery also will be honored with the foundation's Community All-Star Award. "Honoring David was easy," Moyer said. "We know he's not real keen on those types of accolades. He's involved with so many things. I just think it was the right thing to do." The luncheon brings together hundreds of Philadelphia business leaders and community members to support the foundation's mission to "provide comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss and family addiction." Chris Wheeler will emcee the luncheon, which will be attended by former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Phillies greats like Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Bob Boone and Greg Luzinski. Proceeds will benefit The Moyer Foundation and its two signature programs: Camp Erin and Camp Mariposa. Visit for more information.

The Phillies have returned to their lackluster ways and regained their grip on last place in the NL East with a record of 50-76. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances this season, this could still end up being the worst team in franchise history… at least that is something to hope for this year! All time, the Phillies are 51-58-0 on this day.

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