Saturday, August 15, 2015

Phillies Continue Their Regression In Loss To Brewers

GAME RECAP: Brewers Beat Phillies 3-1

Khris Davis' solo home run and RBIs from Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy backed seven scoreless innings from starter Wily Peralta to give the Brewers a 3-1 win over the Phillies on Friday at Miller Park. The victory was Milwaukee's fifth in as many games against Philadelphia this season. Friday's performance was Peralta's best since returning from the disabled list on July 28. The big right-hander scattered six hits over seven innings while striking out three. The outing was a positive sign for the Brewers, as Peralta had allowed nine runs in his last 10 1/3 innings (two starts) entering Friday. "I'm feeling better and better each start," Peralta said. "Tonight felt pretty good. I felt strong and commanded my pitches." Phillies starter Adam Morgan retired the final 11 batters he faced and surrendered just three hits to the Brewers over six innings, while potential trade candidate Chase Utley collected four of Philadelphia's nine hits. "We got a lot of hits, but couldn't get any big hits," said Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin, whose team went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.

  • He got no run support, but Morgan pitched well in six innings. He allowed three hits, three runs, one walk and struck out one. He has allowed four earned runs in 12 innings in his last two starts. "Everything felt great today, shoulder, body, everything," Morgan said. "I felt like I could go more, but my spot was up and I haven't been hitting that good. I'm just looking forward to the next one."
  • After driving in Milwaukee's second run with a single to center, Segura scored from second on Lucroy's deep sacrifice fly to right-center field. Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera stumbled over right fielder Domonic Brown while making the catch after miscommunication between the two, allowing Segura to narrowly beat the relay throw and Cameron Rupp's tag at the plate. "You don't see it a lot," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of the play. "You make a play like that, you add a run, it turns out to be a big play. How you run the bases is important, and [Segura] cut the corner as well as he could."
  • The Angels, Cubs and Giants remain the top three choices for a potential trade for Utley. Those teams liked what they saw Friday. Utley went 4-for-5 with one double and an RBI. He is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with four doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 7. "Over the last few years he's been trying to stay up the middle and use left field probably because of that shift. But he's pulling the ball. He's showing his bat speed. The bat speed is there," Mackanin said of Utley's recent success.
  • Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco still is recovering from a bruised left wrist he sustained Tuesday in Arizona. Mackanin said there are no plans to place Franco on the 15-day disabled list. Franco, who could trying hitting as early as Saturday, remains day to day.

Right-hander Jerome Williams (4-8, 5.73 ERA) pitches the second game of the three-game series Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Brewers. He has pitched better in his last two starts, allowing two runs in 12 innings. Milwaukee will turn to right-hander Jimmy Nelson on Saturday and hopes he can continue his recent run of good form. Nelson is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA over his last nine starts. He allowed four runs in five innings against the Phillies on June 29.


Resurgent Return – Chase Utley showed up Friday afternoon at Miller Park still a member of the Phillies. He left a member of the Phillies following a 3-1 loss to the Brewers. But his time could be running short. Sources told that the Phillies have received multiple offers for Utley, who essentially decides his fate at this point. Those sources indicated the Angels, Cubs and Giants might be Utley's top three choices because they offer the best combination of playing time, postseason contention or proximity to home. As a player with 10-and-5 no-trade rights (10 years in the Majors, five consecutive with the same club) who can reject any trade, Utley is mulling his options. The Astros, Dodgers and Yankees are also in the mix. The Angels are making a hard push. They had two top scouts at Friday night's series opener against the Brewers, but they have been keeping tabs on Utley for much longer than that. Their interest is more than cursory. The Angels have played Johnny Giavotella at second base the entire season. He has a .679 OPS in 442 plate appearances this season, which is better than Utley's .588 OPS. But teams are intrigued with the way Utley has looked since Aug. 7, when he returned from the disabled list with an improved right ankle. He went 4-for-5 with one double and one RBI on Friday, and is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with four doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored since his return. He has looked good running the bases and defensively in the field, too. "He looks as good as I've seen him," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's showing his bat speed. The bat speed is there." Utley declined comment because he knows he would be asked about trade possibilities, but Mackanin had no problem singing his praises. He even found something nice to say about Utley getting thrown out at second in the fifth, trying to stretch a single into a double. "He got a little aggressive," Mackanin said. "I think he's feeling pretty good about himself." The Cubs seem to rank next to the Angels in potential landing spots. They also can offer Utley playing time and a pennant race. It is worth noting that a top Phillies scout has been in Chicago this week watching the Cubs. The Giants have been very aggressive, too. They confirmed Thursday they have made an offer for Utley. "Not sure how it will unfold," Giants general manager Bobby Evans told in a text message. Utley spends his offseasons just outside of San Francisco, which would seem to be a factor. But Giants second baseman Joe Panik is expected to return from the disabled list at some point, which would cut into Utley's playing time. Sources said Utley wants to play fairly regularly because he plans to play next season, and for that reason think Utley might decide to go elsewhere. Utley, who cleared revocable waivers earlier this week, is owed about $4 million for the rest of the season, plus a $2 million buyout on a 2016 club option. Teams will want the Phillies to eat some of Utley's salary to facilitate a trade, but they have been willing to do that to make trades in the past. Is a trade imminent? Sources indicated Friday night it is not, but it is ultimately up to Utley. It is his call to make.

NOT A Top 10 Play – Not often do you see a runner tag up from second and score on a fly ball, but Brewers shortstop Jean Segura was able to do so on Friday night in Milwaukee's 3-1 win over the Phillies. After driving in a run with a single, and advancing to second on a throw home, in the third inning, Segura scored on Jonathan Lucroy's deep fly ball to right-center field. Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera stumbled over right fielder Domonic Brown at the base of the outfield wall while making the catch after a miscommunication between the two. "Odubel has been fantastic this whole year. I really like him in center field," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He caught the ball. Maybe he needs to be a little more vocal. He's definitely aggressive, but a little more vocal. And the corner guys have to peel off. They've got to get out of the way. But that kind of thing happens." "I saw them on the ground in the outfield, so I knew I had a good chance to score," Segura said. "[Third-base coach] Ed [Sedar] sent me and we did it. Any time you can take a chance with two outs like that, you have to take it." Herrera was able to regain himself and make a relay throw, but the throw home was slightly late, allowing Segura to slide in just ahead of catcher Cameron Rupp's tag to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead. "You don't see it a lot," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of the play. "How you run the bases is important, and he cut the corner as well as he could. ... I think one of Jean's best traits is that he helps you in every area of the game. Tonight was a night where he helped you on the bases."

Phillies System In Top 10 – The consensus pick to win the American League East, the Red Sox instead have posted the worst record in the circuit and are headed toward their third last-place finish in the past four years. Boston fans can take solace in the facts that the one exception, 2013, produced a World Series title and that the organization has enough young talent to make another championship more than just a dream for the distant future. 7. Philadelphia Phillies: Preseason Top 10: Not ranked. Prospects on Top 100 list: 6. The most improved system on this list, the Phils have risen from the bottom third in baseball thanks in large part to adding four Top 100 Prospects since June: right-hander Jake Thompson (No. 59), outfielder Nick Williams (No. 63) and catcher Jorge Alfaro (No. 68) from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade, plus outfielder Cornelius Randolph (No. 97) in the first round of the Draft. Having their past two first-rounders, shortstop J.P. Crawford (No. 6) and righty Aaron Nola (No. 22), continue to look better and better has helped, too.

The Phillies season has taken an unexpected turn for the better as they have officially climbed out of the bottom of the NL East with a record of 46-70. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances this season, this could still end up being the worst team in franchise history! All time, the Phillies are 53-59-0 on this day.

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