Thursday, September 24, 2015

Phils Fall In 11th In March To 100

GAME RECAP: Marlins Outlast Phillies 3-2

After making a nifty over-the-shoulder catch to end the top of the 11th inning, Dee Gordon ended things with his bat. The All-Star second baseman laced a two-out double that enabled the Marlins to walk off on the Phillies for a 4-3 win on Wednesday night, ending Miami's four-game losing streak. In the top of the 11th, Darin Ruf lifted a pop fly and Gordon ranged into short center field to make a great play. Then in the bottom of the 11th, Miguel Rojas singled off Jerome Williams, and after Ichiro Suzuki walked, Gordon doubled, giving Miami its ninth walk-off win. "We battled hard. We needed that win," Gordon said. "This just shows what type of character we've got. We're not giving up. This shows what time of character these guys have." "That's his first walk-off in a few years, since maybe 2012. It couldn't come at a better time," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "I was just happy for the quality of the at-bat he had right there. He put a great swing on that ball, split the gap. It's good to see Dee do what he does. It seems like every night he does something to help you." The Marlins beat the Phillies for the second time in the last 10 tries. The Phillies claimed a 3-2 lead in the 10th inning on Freddy Galvis' two-out RBI single off Kyle Barraclough. Barraclough got into trouble in the 10th with a one-out walk to Andres Blanco, who was forced out at second on Brian Bogusevic's fielder's choice grounder. After Bogusevic stole second, setting up Galvis' two-out single to left. But Miami pulled even in the bottom of the 10th, scoring an unearned run when Suzuki raced home on Carlos Ruiz's throwing error. Suzuki singled, and moved to second on Gordon's bunt single off Ken Giles, who blew his first save in 14 chances since becoming the Phillies' closer. On Donovan Solano's bunt, Ruiz gambled with a throw to third, but the ball skipped into the outfield. "You can't expect your closer to be perfect every time," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. "It happens. Unfortunately, it happened due to poor defense, which is lamentable to say the least."

  • Giles blew his first save in 14 opportunities since he replaced Jonathan Papelbon in July. Sloppy play played a major part in it with Giles dropping a bunt up the first base line and Ruiz throwing a ball into left field, trying to make a play at third base. "As much as I would love to be perfect, it's not going to happen," Giles said.
  • It has been a rough season for Phillies right-hander David Buchanan, who had a 9.11 ERA after his first 10 starts. But after allowing one earned run in five innings against the Marlins, Buchanan is hoping to carry some modest success into the offseason, posting a 2.45 ERA (three earned runs in 11 innings) in his last two starts. "Buchanan, we got him out early because we wanted him to leave on a positive note," Mackanin said.
  • Phillies pinch-hitter Erik Kratz appeared to score the game-tying run from third base on a passed ball in the eighth inning, but home-plate umpire Carlos Torres called him out. But instant replay showed Kratz clearly stepped on the plate as he collided with Marlins pitcher Mike Dunn. The call was overturned.
  • With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Bour bounced a grounder to Ruf, who threw to Galvis at second to get Solano going from first to second. The throw was high -- almost pulling Galvis off the base -- but he barely clipped the bag as Solano was ruled out for the second out of the inning. Jennings challenged the call, but the out was upheld after a two-minute, 29-second review. "You have to be in contact," Jennings said. "Part of the rule there to review that is to eliminate, unless there is a chance the guy can be involved in a collision. On one angle, it looked like he was off the bag. On the other angle, it was a little fuzzy. So my guess was that it probably wasn't conclusive enough to overturn."
  • Asher (0-4, 9.78 ERA) has struggled in four starts since his promotion to the big leagues on Aug. 30. The longest he has lasted so far is 5 2/3 innings. In his last start on Sept. 16, the rookie allowed four runs in five innings against Washington.
  • Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard remains sidelined with a bruised left knee. If he cannot take batting practice in the new few days, it could mean the end of his season. The same could be said for third baseman Maikel Franco, who has been out since August with a broken left wrist. He is in Clearwater, Fla., rehabbing, but continues to feel something in the wrist when he makes contact with the ball.
  • Injured Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria continues his comeback from a bothersome hamstring that sidelined him on Sept. 2. He may return to the lineup for the game, as manager Dan Jennings said the 26-year-old made more progress on Wednesday afternoon.

After a tough start to the season -- combined with a lengthy inner-ear injury -- Miami starter Jarred Cosart returned in early September with hopes of ending 2015 on a positive note. The righty has found success in his first three starts of the month, and is looking to continue that trend in the series finale with the Phillies on Thursday. He will match up with Philadelphia rookie Alec Asher. Cosart (2-4, 4.43 ERA) returned from vertigo on Sept. 6 and has allowed just three runs in 15 2/3 innings. He's coming off his best outing following his return, as he surrendered only two earned runs in six innings in a win at Washington on Thursday.


Moving On – Ken Giles had been perfect since the Phillies made him their closer in July. But nobody can be flawless forever. Giles' run of perfection came to an end on Wednesday night in a 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park. Giles blew his first save in 14 opportunities since the Phillies traded former closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals in July for Double-A pitcher Nick Pivetta. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin called Giles into his office after the game to remind his closer that these things happen. "He just wanted to tell me, 'I don't expect you to be perfect,'" Giles said. "Just be ready to go next time. He doesn't expect anybody to be perfect, and I don't expect myself to be perfect. As much as I would love to be perfect, it's not going to happen." Giles allowed a leadoff single to Ichiro Suzuki to start the bottom of the 10th inning. Dee Gordon followed, dropping a bunt up the first-base line. Giles had an easy play, so much so that Gordon essentially slowed to a jog to first. But Giles bobbled the ball and Gordon was safe. "I just rushed it," Giles said. "I got there in time, but I just rushed it with my hands too quick. I didn't want to rush it, but I was anxious to get him out, too." Donovan Solano followed with another bunt, this one in front of home plate. Carlos Ruiz picked up the ball and threw past third baseman Andres Blanco into left field to allow Suzuki to score to tie the game. "He tried to make a big play and it cost us," Mackanin said about Ruiz's throw. Giles limited the damage to one run, getting Christian Yelich to fly out and Justin Bour to ground out to end the inning. "The positive is I overcame something in a big situation like that, being able to give my team a chance to win the game," Giles said. "Not just there and done." In other words, despite the defensive miscues and the blown save, Giles did not unravel. Giles is 6-2 with a 1.38 ERA in 64 appearances this season. He has the lowest ERA among National League relievers and the best ERA among Phillies relievers since Roger McDowell posted a 1.11 ERA in 1989. Overall, he must be pleased with the way he has pitched. "I can't ask for anything better than what I'm doing right now," Giles said. But Mackanin can ask for better defense. Second baseman Darnell Sweeney's error in the second inning led to the Marlins' first run. Better defense and the Phillies might win on Wednesday. "As a matter of fact, I'm thinking about Spring Training next year and my thing for Spring Training is going to be defense and baserunning," Mackanin said. "That's what the theme is going to be. You don't want to lose games due to bad defense. That's why defense is so important. There was a perfect example of that tonight."

Looking For An Opportunity – Phillies first-base coach Juan Samuel would love to manage a big league team again. That opportunity is unlikely to come in Philadelphia, although incoming Phillies president Andy MacPhail and interim general manager Scott Proefrock interviewed Samuel and Pete Mackanin for the Phillies' managerial job Saturday before offering Mackanin the position Tuesday morning. Mackanin had been interim manager since Ryne Sandberg resigned on June 26. "Before I said yes [to the interview], I talked to my representative and let him know, 'Listen, I don't see where they could tell Pete, thank you very much, now Sammy is taking over,'" Samuel, 54, said before Wednesday's 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park. "I mean, let's be realistic. He said it cannot hurt you. You and Andy had a history together in Baltimore, so I'm sure he would value your opinion. So that's how I went into it." MacPhail made Samuel the Orioles' interim manager in 2010, when the Orioles dismissed Dave Trembley. MacPhail was Baltimore's president at the time. Samuel went 17-34 with an Orioles team that finished 66-96. "I've been cautious not trying to put my name out there because I just don't want to [interview] for the sake of doing it," Samuel said. "If I feel like I have a shot and I think I could be the right guy then, of course, I would do it. I also think that I'm capable of doing it, I'm prepared and I'm ready to do it. I got a taste of it in Baltimore and I enjoyed it. It's something that is my ultimate goal. Before I hang it up, I would like to get a shot, whether it's here or somewhere else." So now that Mackanin is entrenched at least through next season, could Samuel return to the Phillies' coaching staff after having been a candidate or would it be best to move on? "I don't know," Samuel said. "My contract does not expire until Halloween." But would he accept a coaching job next season with the Phillies? "Of course, of course," he said. "But I would also like to see what things open up out there and see if I get a chance. My ultimate goal is not to finish my career coaching first base. "I know I could offer more. But those things take longer. There are guys that have been in the game longer than me that haven't gotten a chance. Some haven't even gotten an interview. So I think just interviewing here will put my name out there a little more and hopefully people now know he wants to do it because I haven't really been vocal about it because I don't want to interview for the sake of interviewing. I don't want to get burned. But if somebody thinks I deserve a shot, then of course I will do it." Samuel said the interview with MacPhail and Proefrock lasted about 90 minutes. "I went after it like, yes, I have a shot because you never know what they're thinking," Samuel said. "Maybe they wanted a fresh start, maybe he liked what I did in Baltimore. I think it was a very good experience. We talked about the club. They had some questions for me. I answered the best way possible with my knowledge and having been here five years now. I think I did OK."

The Phillies have returned to their lackluster ways and regained their grip on last place in the NL East with a record of 57-95. 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 48-55-0 on this day.

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