Monday, April 25, 2016

Brewers Avoid The Sweep Against Off Eickhoff

GAME RECAP: Brewers Beat Phillies 8-5

Wily Peralta finally delivered a quality start, and the Brewers rewarded their struggling Opening Day starter with a go-ahead, six-run rally for an 8-5 win over the Phillies on Sunday at Miller Park. Peralta surrendered four runs (three earned) on seven hits in his first six-inning outing this season, and he notched his first victory thanks to a 10-batter, six-run outburst in the sixth that turned a 4-2 Brewers deficit into an 8-4 lead. Scooter Gennett and Alex Presley homered in the frame, the biggest single-inning rally for Milwaukee this season. Relievers Michael Blazek, Tyler Thornburg and Jeremy Jeffress preserved the lead, Jeffress rebounded from a two-homer outing the night before by recording his sixth save in as many chances. "We've been swinging it pretty good, and as starters, we have to step up and try to go deep," said Peralta, well aware that Brewers starting pitchers own baseball's highest ERA. "Every time we go out there, we have to step up and give us a quality start." Most of the damage came against Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff, who hit an RBI single in the second for an early lead. But he was charged with seven earned runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. "I don't know what happened to Eickhoff," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "They just kind of all together seemed to know what was coming. They hit him pretty hard, which is hard to figure."

  • Entering the game, Eickhoff had allowed only two extra-base hits on curveballs in his 11-start career. He gave up three Sunday: Ryan Braun's solo homer in the fourth and doubles from Nieuwenhuis and Villar in the sixth, when the Brewers scored six runs to take an 8-4 lead. Opponents had hit .081 (6-for-74) with a .108 slugging percentage against Eickhoff's curveball before Sunday. Eickhoff, who struck out all seven batters on breaking balls, surrendered a career-high seven runs to fall to 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA. "Yeah, he's got a good curveball,' Counsell said. "He really has command of his curveball. He can throw it for strikes when he wants, and he bounces it when he gets ahead in the count. We did a nice job as the game went on, knowing what he was going to and getting pitches to hit." 
  • Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera singled in the third to reach base safely in 16 consecutive games. Franco then singled to score Herrera as the pair has rejuvenated the Phillies' offense. The Phillies have averaged 6.25 runs per game in the past four games after averaging 2.5 runs per game in their first 15.
  • The Phillies lost a challenge in the seventh inning, when Freddy Galvis was caught stealing second base. They thought Galvis' foot beat the tag from Gennett. But after a three-minute review, the play stood as called.
The Phillies have a day off Monday before they open a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET Tuesday against the Nationals at Nationals Park. Right-hander Vince Velasquez hopes to bounce back after the Mets scored five runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings against him last week in Philadelphia. Velasquez struck out 25 batters in 15 scoreless innings in his first two starts this season.


Breaking Bad – It is easy to see why Jerad Eickhoff is filled with confidence every time he throws his curveball. Eickhoff had allowed only two extra-base hits on curveballs in 11 career starts before Sunday's 8-5 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park: a double to Marcell Ozuna on Aug. 21, 2015, and a double to Melvin Upton on April 13. Opponents had hit a feeble .081 (6-for-74) with a .108 slugging percentage against the pitch. "If I get beat on my curveball, I'll live with it," Eickhoff said. It looked like history would repeat itself Sunday. Eickhoff struck out seven batters through five innings, with each strikeout coming on a curveball. The only blip came in the fourth when Ryan Braun hit a solo home run on a 1-2 curve. Eickhoff carried a 4-2 lead into the sixth, a frame that proved disastrous. Eickhoff did not finish the inning when five runs scored on him. He allowed a career-high seven runs in 5 1/3 frames. "They just kind of all together seemed to know what was coming," manager Pete Mackanin said. "They hit him pretty hard, which is hard to figure." Eickhoff allowed a solo homer to Scooter Gennett on a first-pitch changeup in the sixth to make it 4-3. Braun followed with a single on a 3-2 fastball and Chris Carter doubled on a 1-1 fastball to put runners on second and third with no outs. Eickhoff then threw Kirk Nieuwenhuis two breaking balls for strikes. Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp put down the sign for a 0-2 fastball, but Eickhoff shook him off. Rupp called for another breaking ball. "He was confident in the pitch he wanted to throw," Rupp said. Nieuwenhuis ripped a 0-2 breaking ball down the first-base line. It deflected off Ryan Howard's glove to allow two runs to score and give Milwaukee a 5-4 lead. "I faced him with the Mets before, and in my mind, I was thinking, 'I'm going to get him with that,'" Eickhoff said about the curveball. "Even though it's 0-2, I was confident I would get him with that third one, but I left it up just a little bit." Get the curveball down and Eickhoff loves his chances there. "I think he wanted to bounce it and let him swing over the top of it," Rupp said. "It happens. He makes a mistake, and that's supposed to happen when you make a mistake. You've got to pay for it. It hadn't really happened to him the first three starts. With him and his confidence in his curveball, I had no problem with it." Two batters later, Jonathan Villar hit a 3-2 curveball for a double to score Nieuwenhuis to give Milwaukee a 6-4 lead. "Eick had a little hiccup there," Mackanin said. "Well, you know, they have a game plan and what they're trying to do ... I can't explain it. There's not an exact formula for anything, really. We have a book on hitters, but [stuff] happens." Eickhoff will be back Saturday against the Indians at Citizens Bank Park, and he will be back throwing his curveball. Why wouldn't he? It's his moneymaker. "Your confidence saying they're not going to hit this, no way," Eickhoff said. "But a big league hitter can hit a poorly located pitch no matter what it is, so I could have been a little better from that end."

Two For One – The Phillies placed Charlie Morton on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of a strained left hamstring. The Phillies recalled right-hander Luis Garcia from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Morton's spot on the 25-man roster. Garcia is expected to help the bullpen through this week's three-game series against the Nationals at Nationals Park, but Triple-A left-hander Adam Morgan is expected to take Morton's spot in the rotation Friday night against the Indians at Citizens Bank Park. Garcia allowed one hit in a scoreless inning of relief in Sunday's 8-5 loss to the Brewers. "He was certainly going to miss at least the next start, if not the next two," general manager Matt Klentak said about Morton. Morgan is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts with Lehigh Valley. He lost the Spring Training battle to be the team's No. 5 starter to Vince Velasquez. Top prospects like Mark Appel (3-0, 1.62 ERA in three starts) have pitched well, but the Phillies want to give their younger prospects more time to develop in the Minor Leagues. "The whole Triple-A staff has been doing a really nice job," Klentak said. "We're fortunate that we do have -- whether Charlie is out for a couple of starts or longer -- we do have options within the organization. We're comfortable with that." Morton, who was injured running to first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt, will receive an MRI on his hamstring Monday. Morton, who has been on the disabled list in seven of the previous eight seasons, entered Saturday 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts, although he had allowed just one run in 12 2/3 innings in his last two outings. He allowed seven hits, six walks and struck out 13 batters in that two-start stretch against the Padres and Nationals. "Frustrated," Morton said about the injury.

Let The Voting Begin – The Phillies have not had two position players named to the National League All-Star team since 2011, when Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino made the squad. But the Phillies could have two at the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, if Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera keep hitting like they have through the first three weeks of the season. Major League Baseball announced its All-Star Game ballots Sunday, and that pair is the Phillies' best bet to play in the Midsummer Classic in July in San Diego at Petco Park. Franco is emerging as one of the best third basemen in the NL. He has homered three times in the past two games and is batting .299 with two doubles, five home runs, 12 RBIs and an .890 OPS, which ranks 18th among all NL players. Franco's OPS also ranks third among NL third basemen. Only Colorado's Nolan Arenado (.984 OPS) and Cincinnati's Eugenio Suarez (.963 OPS) have been better. Herrera is looking more and more like an incredible find in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. He is hitting .283 with one double, one triple, two home runs, eight RBIs, 17 walks, four stolen bases and an .875 OPS, which ranks 20th among all NL players. Herrera's OPS puts him 10th among NL outfielders and third among NL center fielders. From June 7, 2015, through Saturday, Herrera is hitting .322 with an .850 OPS in 417 plate appearances. Also on the ballot for the Phillies are catcher Carlos Ruiz, first baseman Ryan Howard, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, shortstop Freddy Galvis, left fielder Cody Asche and right fielder Peter Bourjos. Browsing the ballot: The other side: Why is David Ortiz retiring again? The Red Sox designated hitter is batting .286 with eight doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs and a .992 OPS in 16 games. Tip of the cap: Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich is having a crazy good start. He is hitting .396 with seven doubles, one home run, five RBIs, 15 walks and a 1.113 OPS in 16 games. His OPS ranks fourth in the NL. A rising star: Have you seen Tyler White's numbers? The Astros' first baseman is hitting .298 with four doubles, five home runs, 12 RBIs and a 1.001 OPS in 17 games. His OPS ranks sixth in the American League and 14th in the Majors. Fans can cast their votes for starters at and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 times. Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info. Following the announcement of the 2016 All-Stars, be sure to return to and cast your 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game., MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit

Today In Phils History – Today is one of opposites as on one side of the mound we have Steve Carlton’s dominant shutout performance over the Giants in 1972 allowing just 1 hit and striking out a then franchise record for left handers with 14 while on the other side we have Chan Ho Park giving up 2 homeruns to the Marlins setting the Major League mark of allowing at least one homerun in each of the first 16 games of the season. Another pair of opposites come first in 1904 when Phillie Frank Roth and two members of the Brooklyn home team, in a move by the NYPD Commissioner to test the validity of a new city blue law, are arrested two pitches into a game on the charge of playing an organized sport on Sunday. 74 years later, the Phillies, and baseball as a whole, receive a bit of jovial relief when The Phillie Phanatic made his debut in 1978. It is not surprising which one has stood the test of time.

The Phillies are currently 9-10 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. The Phillies finished the spring exceeding most expectations compiling a record of 15-11-3 (18-11-3 if you include the exhibition games against Reading and the University of Tampa). All time, the Phillies are 37-50-2 on this day. I expect the Phillies to finish in the bottom half of the division but not last in the NL East by finishing the season with a 77-85 record. Let the rebuild begin!

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