Monday, August 17, 2015

The Phillies Get Slammed By The Brewers

GAME RECAP: Brewers Sweep Phillies 6-1

Ryan Braun backed rookie starter Taylor Jungmann by crushing a grand slam to tie Robin Yount for the Brewers' all-time franchise record for home runs, as Milwaukee completed a series and season sweep of the Phillies with a 6-1 win on Sunday at Miller Park. Jungmann bounced back from his first poor outing in the big leagues by working a scoreless 6 1/3 innings and striking out a career-high nine batters. The tall right-hander fanned the side in the first on 11 pitches and again in the third on just 10 pitches. Jungmann allowed three hits and lowered his season ERA in 13 starts to 2.23 with the performance. "I was confident he was going to bounce back for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Jungmann. "There's going to be blips in the road, and he came back and pitched a really nice game." Philadelphia's offense went quiet once again, producing seven hits with the only run coming from a solo shot off the bat of Andres Blanco. The offense went 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position during the three-game series. Starter Aaron Harang surrendered a run in the first before Braun's slam and two subsequent singles ended his day in the fifth.

  • Braun tied Yount for the franchise lead in home runs in grand style. With the bases loaded in the fifth against Harang, Braun launched his 251st homer to give Milwaukee a 6-0 lead. The grand slam was the fifth of his career and second this season, and it was his 21st homer this year. Braun also drove in Jonathan Lucroy with a groundout in the first, giving the right fielder five RBIs on the day. "Robin's obviously the greatest player in franchise history," Braun said. "He played here for 20 years, accomplished so many amazing things, so any time you are mentioned alongside his name, it's definitely a special accomplishment."
  • Harang kept the Phillies in the game until an ugly fifth inning soured his final line. Scooter Gennett led off with a double and came in to score on a one-out single by Elian Herrera. Harang then fielded Jungmann's sacrifice bunt attempt, but second baseman Cesar Hernandez was late to cover the bag. After a walk to Lucroy, Harang surrendered Braun's grand slam. Adam Lind and Khris Davis followed with singles, causing Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin to turn to the bullpen. After allowing six runs in 4 2/3 innings Sunday, Harang has a 12.60 ERA over his last two starts and a 9.72 ERA in five starts since July 1. "I was getting guys out," Harang said. "I was getting ground balls. Guys weren't really squaring anything up. It just spiralled out of control really quick."
  • Blanco broke the shutout with a solo home run to right-center field off Brewers left-hander Neal Cotts in the top of the ninth. Blanco has now homered in each of his past two starts, and he has four home runs on the season. Carlos Ruiz and Jeff Francoeur singled off Cotts, while Darin Ruf walked to put the tying run on deck with two outs. The late comeback attempt fell short, as Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez came on to retire Hernandez to end the game. "We made them a little nervous at the end, but I'd rather win the game than make them nervous," Mackanin said."
  • Mackanin won his second challenge in as many days when replay overturned first-base umpire Fieldin Culbreth's safe call in the first inning. With Lucroy on third base, Braun hit a slow roller that shortstop Freddy Galvis charged and threw to first. Braun still received an RBI as Lucroy scored on the play, but the safe call at first base was overturned after a one-minute, three-second review.
  • The win gave the Brewers a season sweep over the Phillies, winning all seven games in 2015. It was just the fourth time in franchise history that Milwaukee produced a season sweep over an opponent (at least six games). The Brewers outscored the Phillies, 41-23.
  • Nola picked up a victory in his last outing despite allowing four runs over five innings. He has a 2.45 ERA in two starts at Citizens Bank Park in his young career.
  • Dickey is 5-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 11 career starts against the Phillies. He's made one start against them in 2015, throwing eight scoreless innings while allowing two hits in a win on July 29.

The Blue Jays begin a two-game Interleague series against the Phillies on Tuesday, with R.A. Dickey taking the hill in the opener against Philadelphia rookie Aaron Nola. Dickey is looking to extend his hot streak since the All-Star break, as the veteran right-hander has posted a 4-0 record with a 1.49 ERA in six second-half outings. He's tossed seven straight quality starts. After dropping a three-game series to the American League East-rival Yankees following a 12-game winning streak, the Blue Jays are once again setting their sights on first place.


Without A Spark – The Phillies and Brewers entered their weekend series in similar situations -- well out of the postseason race and looking toward the future. Over their three days in Milwaukee, the Phillies couldn't solve the three of the young pitchers around whom the Brewers are centering their rebuild. Taylor Jungmann followed the path Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson blazed in the first two games of the series by holding Philadelphia scoreless over 6 1/3 innings in the Phils' 6-1 loss on Sunday. Playing the series without injured third baseman Maikel Franco, the Phillies left Miller Park having scored just four runs in three games, mostly due to going 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position. "In this series, we faced some pretty good pitchers," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "We only scored four runs in the series. That was basically the whole story of the series." Despite collecting six hits against Peralta on Friday, the Phillies couldn't scratch a run across over seven innings. The offense squandered numerous scoring chances Saturday against Nelson, who limited the Phillies to two runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Phillies didn't put up much of a fight offensively against Jungmann on Sunday. The rookie right-hander struck out a career-high nine batters -- including seven of the first nine hitters he faced. "You don't see many curveballs consistently like that," Mackanin said. "Guys have good curveballs, but they don't throw them that often. He had us fishing for it all day long. "He had our guys looking for the curveball and sneaking fastballs by them. When we were looking for the fastball, he'd drop a hammer. I have to give him a lot of credit. I thought he pitched very well." After going 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position over the first two games of the series, the Phillies were hitless in five at-bats with RISP on Sunday. "That's the name of the game," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "Those guys were able to capitalize when they had runners in scoring position and we weren't. That's basically what the game comes down to -- being able to capitalize and take advantage of situations when you can." The Phillies threatened to break out of their offensive slump in the ninth inning by bringing the tying run to the on-deck circle. Gregor Blanco hit a one-out solo home run off left-hander Neal Cotts, while Ruiz and pinch-hitter Jeff Francoeur reached on two-out singles. After Cotts walked Darin Ruf to load the bases, Brewers manager Craig Counsell turned to closer Francisco Rodriguez. Hernandez fouled off a pair of 1-2 pitches from Rodriguez before bouncing into a fielder's choice to end the game. After beginning their nine-game road trip with a sweep of the Padres, the Phillies returned to Philadelphia unable to solve the last-place Brewers. "The series we played here is not us," Mackanin said. "We're not this team. You go through peaks and valleys during the season. I think this is one of those valleys."

Taking A Break – After starting the first two games of the series against the Brewers, second baseman Chase Utley was out of the starting lineup for the Phillies for the finale Sunday afternoon at Miller Park. Utley's absence will undoubtedly further fuel the trade speculation that's surrounded him of late. However, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin revealed his intentions to give Utley the series finale off following Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Brewers. "Just to be cautious," Mackanin said. "He's playing so well I don't want to take any chances." After missing 37 games due to right ankle inflammation, Utley started six (and appeared in seven) of Philadelphia's eight games entering Sunday since he was activated from the disabled list Aug. 7. The 36-year-old was batting .500 (13-for-26) with a home run, five doubles and five RBIs over that span. Utley hasn't started more than two consecutive games since his return, as he has followed the pattern of being out of the starting lineup for the third game of a series after starting the first two games. With Utley and rookie third baseman Maikel Franco out, Cesar Hernandez moved over to second base with Andres Blanco playing third base Sunday.

Maturing In The Bullpen – Despite Elvis Araujo never having thrown a pitch above the Double-A level, the Phillies took a chance on the coveted Venezuelan left-hander by signing him to a Major League contract last November. In May, Philadelphia gambled on Araujo again when it called him up despite a 7.45 ERA with Double-A Reading. The Phillies have been rewarded for their faith in the 24-year-old, especially of late. Araujo did not allow a hit over his past nine appearances entering Sunday, a span of eight innings dating back to July 19. "I'm just working hard every day and trying to keep the ball down and continue to just make my pitches work," Araujo said. "[I've had to learn] my routine, [this] being a process, continuing every day to get better." Araujo allowed just two earned runs over his first 10 innings after being recalled from Reading on May 2. He then posted a 5.52 ERA over his next 15 appearances -- 14 2/3 innings -- to raise his ERA to a season-high 4.01 on July 11. Opposing hitters are 0-for-27 with just three walks against Araujo since, as he's become a weapon in the bullpen for Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin. "He's got a good downward plane," Mackanin said of the 6-foot-7, 270-pund lefty.. "He's a big, tall guy. He's showing a good mound presence. He looks like he's in control of himself. It all boils down to him making good, quality pitches. "You can throw 98 mph, but if you are leaving it thigh-high down the middle, most likely it is going to get hit. You hit either side of the plate and keep the ball down, you've got a chance. That's what he's been doing. He's showing a better breaking ball than we saw earlier. We're going in baby steps with him and he's responding. He has a lot of confidence right now." Araujo has done so in Philadelphia's series in Milwaukee. He struck out a pair in a scoreless inning against the Brewers on Friday and struck out Shane Peterson in the seventh inning Saturday to strand a pair of inherited runners. "I just take the good things and the bad things," Araujo said. "[I'm going to] keep what I'm doing and growing from there."

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 46-72. 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 49-64-0 on this day.

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