Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This Could Be The Ugliest Series Of The Year

GAME RECAP: D-Backs Crush Phils 13-1

The D-backs' bats remained hot on Tuesday night, as they orchestrated an historic 11-run second inning featuring a grand slam by David Peralta and pounded the Phillies, 13-1, at Chase Field. The D-backs smacked a club-record 10 hits in the second, sending 15 batters to the plate. Aaron Hill hit a two-run homer and starter Jeremy Hellickson drove in three runs in the frame. Over the past three games, the D-backs have scored 30 runs on 47 hits. They've scored 13 or more runs in consecutive games for the second time in club history, the other time being Sept. 26-27, 2001. "We came out and really swung the bats, very impressive," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Good game plan and they executed it and just kept it going, even the pitcher. It's good to see." Phillies starter David Buchanan didn't make it through the second, lasting just 1 2/3 frames. But before he left, Buchanan became the first Phillies pitcher to allow 11 or more runs in a single inning since Hal Kelleher allowed 12 in the eighth in a relief appearance against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 5, 1938. Buchanan also became the first Phillies starter to allow 11 or more runs in a start since Al Jurisch allowed 14 over eight innings against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds on June 28, 1947. "There's not a lot to talk about," Philadelphia interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "We were out of it after the second inning."

  • Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco has been one of the team's best stories as he has played himself into National League Rookie of the Year consideration. But he left the game in the first inning with a bruised left wrist after Hellickison drilled him with a pitch. Fortunately for Franco and the Phillies, X-rays were negative. He is not sure how much time he will miss. "I was scared," Franco said. "The only thing that I think about when the ball hit me was it was broken."
  • Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera went 0-for-4 to snap his hitting streak at 13 games. It was the longest hitting streak by a Phillies rookie since Marlon Byrd had a 15-gamer in 2003.
  • "In these situations, you've got to man up and get out of it yourself. [Mackanin] gave me a chance. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get out of there." – Buchanan.
  • According to Elias Sports Bureau, Buchanan is the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to allow 11 or more runs in a single inning since the Astros' Jason Jennings allowed 11 in the first inning against the Padres on July 29, 2007. It is the first time the Phillies have allowed 13 or more runs in consecutive games since July 8-9, 1993.
  • The Phillies entered Tuesday with four players 25 or younger hitting .270 or better: Franco (23 years old, .277), Freddy Galvis (25, .271), Cesar Hernandez (25, .290) and Odubel Herrera (23, .290). No other team has more than two players like that on their roster.
  • Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera looks to start a new hitting streak after he went 0-for-4 on Tuesday, snapping his streak at 13 games. It was the longest hitting streak by a Phillies rookie since Marlon Byrd had a 15-gamer in 2003.

Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin planned to rest Chase Utley in Wednesday's series finale against the D-backs at Chase Field, but following Maikel Franco's left wrist bruise Tuesday, Utley might play. Utley is being showcased this month for a potential trade. He cleared waivers Tuesday, which gives the Phillies until the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline to move him. If Franco is out after being hit with a pitch, Andres Blanco or Cesar Hernandez could play third base. No matter who plays in the Phillies' infield Wednesday, they will be facing Arizona right-hander Chase Anderson, who is 5-4 with a 4.10 ERA. Anderson will be making his second start since coming off the disabled list. Last time out, Anderson tossed seven scoreless innings in a win over the Reds. He's faced the Phillies once before in his career, allowing one run in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision on May 15. Coming off a quality outing against the Padres, Phillies rookie righty Aaron Nola (2-1, 3.65 ERA) starts Wednesday's series finale at 3:40 p.m. ET. He'll try to cool off the D-backs, who scored 26 runs in the first two games of the series.


Franco Goes Down – It looked bad, but it could have been much worse. Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco suffered a bruised left wrist in the first inning of Tuesday night's 13-1 loss to Arizona at Chase Field. D-backs right-hander Jeremy Hellickson drilled Franco with a fastball, and Franco collapsed to the turf behind home plate, grabbing his wrist before being helped off the field. Fortunately for Franco and the Phils, X-rays came back negative. "I was scared," Franco said. "The only thing that I think about when the ball hit me was it was broken." Franco entered the night hitting .277 (82-for-296) with 22 doubles, 13 home runs, 48 RBIs and 43 runs scored. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would lead NL rookies with an .828 OPS and a .490 slugging percentage. Franco does not know how much time he will miss. "I mean, it's pretty sore," he said. "It's pretty bad, in the beginning when the ball hit me, I was just worried -- the only thing I was thinking about was that something bad was going to happen. I have to come in [Wednesday] and we'll see if I'm feeling better. I don't know how long it will take." Said Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin: "It looked bad. It sounded bad. I thought for sure it was broken."

Utley Clears Waivers – Chase Utley has cleared waivers. reported the news Tuesday afternoon, which means the Phillies have until the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline to trade the second baseman. It is a distinct possibility, based on the interest Utley has received from teams since he returned from the 15-day disabled list Friday. But trading Utley will not be easy. First, Utley has 10-and-5 no-trade rights, which means he can reject a trade to any team. Second, Utley is owed about another $4.5 million in salary this season, plus a $2 million buyout on a 2016 club option worth $15 million. The fact nobody claimed Utley on waivers -- including the teams scouting him in San Diego and Phoenix -- showed nobody wanted Utley at that salary. That means the Phillies will need to pay some of Utley's contract to move him. The Cubs and Angels have been interested in Utley. reported the Giants, Yankees and Cubs had scouts at Monday night's game against the D-backs at Chase Field. Utley is playing well as the Phillies showcase him to prospective teams. Entering Tuesday night's game, he was hitting .385 (5-for-13) with three doubles, three RBIs and three runs scored in four games since being activated from the DL. Would Utley accept a trade? He might. The Phillies are not expected to pick up his club option for next season, which would make him a free agent. The club figures to enter 2016 with Cesar Hernandez as its second baseman. So if Utley sees the end of his Phillies career just a few weeks away, he might decide it makes sense to go somewhere he has a chance to win a second World Series championship than play out the season in Philadelphia. Utley seems to have softened his stance about being traded. "I would be more than happy to listen to them," Utley told on Saturday. "I do love Philadelphia. I've had a great time playing here, but out of respect for them I would definitely listen to them." Asked Sunday if he expected to be with the Phillies at the end of the season, Utley told reporters, "Who knows?"

Rotation Shuffle Coming Soon – This is one reason why Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. acquired so much pitching over the past year. Phillies right-hander David Buchanan allowed 11 runs in the second inning in Tuesday night's 13-1 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field. He is the first Phillies pitcher to allow 11 or more runs in one inning since Hal Kelleher allowed a franchise-record 12 runs in the eighth inning against the Cubs on May 5, 1938. Buchanan also is the first Phillies pitcher to allow 11 or more runs in a start since Al Jurisch allowed 14 runs over eight innings against the New York Giants on June 28, 1947. A roster move could be coming soon, if for no other reason than the Phillies might want a fresh arm in the bullpen. But the Phillies also might want to have Buchanan, who has allowed 18 runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last two starts, work on a few things in Triple-A. If that happens, the Phillies could see one of the prospects they acquired in July a little earlier than anticipated. "We're probably going to discuss it [Wednesday]," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "We'll figure something out." Amaro sat in the GM box at Citizens Bank Park a little more than a week ago to discuss the July trades that sent Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to Texas, Jonathan Papelbon to Washington and Ben Revere to Toronto. The Phillies received eight prospects in those deals. Six of them are pitchers, and four of them are starting pitchers. Add them to the four hurlers they acquired in December for Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. "One of the biggest things that has affected us these past few years is we've lost Doc [Roy Halladay] and we've lost Cliff [Lee]," Amaro said. "When you lose top-of-the-rotation guys like that, they have to be replaced with quality, so that you can put yourself in a position to win every game. If you have quality starting pitching that can make up for a lot of deficiencies you have. That's one of the reasons why the Mets are outstanding. They're playing well. They're not a great offensive club, but they're doing enough defensively and have outstanding young pitching. That's something we're trying to focus on." Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander Alec Asher is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts since joining the organization. Lehigh Valley right-hander Jerad Eickhoff is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his first two starts in the system. Philadelphia acquired Asher and Eickhoff in the Hamels deal. They are legitimate candidates for a promotion. Of course, not all of the pitchers the Phillies acquired will pan out. They know this. But they hope a few will. Maybe one of them will take that first step in the near future.

Looking For Answers – Phillies right-hander Justin De Fratus watched video of himself pitching for at least an hour Tuesday afternoon at Chase Field. He is searching for answers. He entered Tuesday night's game against the D-backs with a 5.69 ERA in 49 appearances. It is a troubling jump from last year, when he posted a 2.39 ERA in 54 appearances, and from his first four seasons in the big leagues, when he posted a 3.08 ERA in 130 appearances. "You know what? Maybe it's my year to wear it," De Fratus said. "Baseball has its way of doing things. I don't know. Every bad outing is one closer to the next good one, I guess. I'm trying to stay positive. I'm doing badly, but the team is doing well. I've got to stay positive. It'll turn around. I know what type of pitcher I am. And I think a lot of people do know. It's just a matter of weathering the storm." "I don't see a tight slider," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackan said Monday, after De Fratus allowed four hits and three runs in 1 1/3 innings. "That makes a big difference." De Fratus had thrown 61 2/3 innings entering Tuesday, more than any reliever in baseball. Could he be struggling because of the workload? Is he healthy? "I feel healthy," De Fratus said. "I don't think there's any excuse for it." But De Fratus had identified one thing that might help. He said he needs to throw his sinker more frequently. "I've been throwing pitches that are flatter through the zone," he said. "Other than that you've got to chalk it up to, 'Hey, it's my turn.'"

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 45-69. 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 48-49-0 on this day.

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