Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rookie And Veteran Team Up For Big Night

GAME RECAP: Phillies Beat Marlins 7-1

Jerad Eickhoff's Major League debut was an eventful and successful one. The right-hander, acquired from the Rangers as part of the Cole Hamels deal, threw six shutout innings and drove in two runs with a single in the Phillies' 7-1 victory over Miami at Marlins Park. Eickhoff, rated the Phillies' No. 15 prospect by, scattered five hits and struck out five. He also capped a four-run fourth inning by delivering a two-out, two-run single off Kendry Flores. "It's surreal," Eickhoff, 25, said. "You grow up dreaming about this, and words can't describe it. There's so many people you meet that help you get here, and it's just a testament to what they do. A lot of it is on them." Flores, the Marlins' sixth-rated prospect, made his first big league start and seventh appearance overall. He was tagged for five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in five innings. In the fourth, the Phillies broke through with four runs, sending nine to the plate. Odubel Herrera had an RBI single and Freddy Galvis lined a sacrifice fly to left, making it 2-0. The inning came apart for Flores with two outs, after Cameron Rupp was intentionally walked to load the bases. Eickhoff, who struck out in his first at-bat, slapped a two-run single to left. Derek Dietrich homered in the seventh for the Marlins, who had Dee Gordon, Ichiro Suzuki and Justin Bour each have two hits. But Miami was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. "We had three guys with two hits apiece, with Dee, Ichy and J.B.," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "Dietrich's home run. With runners in scoring position, 0-for-8. Just not a clean game. Not what we've been doing of late."

  • Eickhoff worked himself into trouble in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff walk, followed by a single. But the righty promptly worked himself out of the frame -- which proved to be his last of the contest -- by getting Martin Prado to fly out and Bour and Marcell Ozuna to strike out. "I took him out of the game because ... I think the adrenaline of his first Major League start and he hasn't run the bases ... that's why we lifted him after six innings," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was soaking wet. He looked to me mentally exhausted more than anything."
  • Ryan Howard notched three doubles in one game for the first time since 2008, with two of them going to the opposite field. He finished 3-for-5, hitting his doubles in the fourth, fifth and ninth innings. Howard also recorded two RBIs, giving him 1,125, which passes Del Ennis for third place in franchise history.
  • With two hits on Friday, Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera has hit safely in 21 of his last 22 games, including 37 of his last 41.
  • Gillespie was ruled safe at first after beating out a slow grounder to third baseman Andres Blanco, who made a barehanded play with one out in the second inning. However, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin challenged the call, and it was overturned to a 5-3 putout after a 56-seconds review.
  • "I hadn't had an at-bat in six or seven years. So I guess I just closed my eyes and swung." -- Eickhoff, on his two-run single.
Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.79 ERA) will try to break out of his August funk in the third game of the series Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. In three August starts, the veteran is 0-3 while allowing 18 earned runs in 15 innings. Rookie Justin Nicolino (2-1, 4.24 ERA) makes his fifth big league start on Saturday. The lefty was 7-7 (3.52) at Triple-A New Orleans.


Better Than Expected – For the past few days leading up to his Major League debut on Friday night, Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff had one thought on his mind. "I just wanted to get up there and get after them," he said. Eickhoff did exactly that, earning his first career win in Philadelphia's 7-1 victory at Marlins Park by tossing six scoreless innings on 75 pitches -- 52 of which were strikes. Eickhoff, who was acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, allowed five hits, struck out five and walked just one. With his performance, the 25-year-old became the first Phillies starter to not allow a run in his Major League debut since the man he was traded for, Hamels. "We were told that he likes to pound the strike zone with all his pitches, and he showed that he was able to do that," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. Eickhoff didn't just contribute on the mound, though. Batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the fifth, he notched his first career hit -- a two-run single through the left side -- to push the Phillies' lead to 4-0. It was actually his first professional hit as well, as he never had a plate appearance in the Minor Leagues. "I didn't know if the pain was going to sustain or go away, but I was fine," Eickhoff said. "It hit the good pad of my hand." Said Mackanin, "I took him out of the game [after 75 pitches] because ... I think the adrenaline of his first Major League start and he hasn't run the bases ... that's why we lifted him after six innings. He was soaking wet. He looked to me mentally exhausted, more than anything." Overall, it couldn't have gone much better for Eickhoff, who became the first Phillies pitcher to notch an RBI and pick up a win in his MLB debut since Dave Downs on Sept. 2, 1972, at Atlanta. Even more, the only other Phillies pitcher to record multiple RBIs in his big league debut was Tom Sullivan on May 15, 1922, at St. Louis. To top it all off, the rookie did it all in front of 16 friends and family members in attendance, most of who made the trip down south from his hometown of Evansville, Ind. "It's surreal," Eickhoff said. "You grow up dreaming about this, and words can't describe it. There's so many people you meet that help you get here, and it's just a testament to what they do. A lot of it is on them. It's unbelievable."

Howard’s Big Night – While Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff was busy working his name into the club's record books in Friday's 7-1 win at Marlins Park, first baseman Ryan Howard left his mark as well. Howard went 3-for-5 with three doubles, his first three-double game since June 8, 2008 -- and only the second of his career. He also recorded two RBIs in the process, which moved him past Del Ennis for third place in Phillies franchise history with 1,125. "I kidded him about the doubles," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He doesn't hit home runs anymore? I said, 'You're just a doubles guy?' But he had a nice night. A couple RBIs, he swung the bat well." Two of Howard's three doubles beat the Marlins' shift and went to left field. The first came in the fourth inning on a liner into the left-field corner. His next two doubles drove in runs -- a drive to right-center in the fifth inning and a shot to left field in the ninth. Howard now has 27 doubles on the season, and he boosted his average to .238.

Will We See Franco Again This Season? – While Maikel Franco's wrist injury recently went from bad to worse -- sending him to the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and seemingly ending his rookie season -- Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said prior to Friday's contest in Miami that there's a chance the third baseman will be back this season after all. "The prognosis for Franco is a little bit better than what they've previously noted," he said. "So he perhaps might be able to come back a little sooner. He might be back before the season is over." Franco's injury is a non-displaced left wrist fracture, which he suffered on Aug. 11 in Arizona when he was hit by a Jeremy Hellickson pitch. X-rays taken that night came back negative, but after little improvement the following days, Franco had an MRI exam this past week that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. described Tuesday as "a very small, non-displaced fracture of his ulnar styloid." Amaro added that the Phillies were going to be cautious with the promising 22-year-old, who is hitting .277 with 13 homers this season. However, while Franco will be in a splint for the next couple of weeks, and the last-place Phillies may simply play it safe with only a little more than a month remaining in the season, Mackanin said the most recent reports about the injury are positive. "That's still up in the air [if he would return], but he very well might be able to come back," Mackanin said. "I was told there's a chance he can come back and play some this year. ... It would be nice to get Franco's bat back in the lineup if possible." Franco has an .830 OPS with 22 doubles and 48 RBIs in 77 games with Philadelphia since his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 15. When he was placed on the DL on Tuesday (retroactive to Aug. 12), the Phillies recalled outfielder Aaron Altherr, who entered Friday 3-for-9 with a homer in three games.

The Phillies have returned to their lackluster ways and regained their grip on last place in the NL East with a record of 48-74. 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 55-55-1 on this day.

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