- Phillies starters and pitched well Monday and Wednesday, but Morton struggled in the series finale. He allowed five hits and six runs in 3 ⅔ innings. The bullpen continued its struggles, too. Stumpf allowed a grand slam in the fourth to give the Reds a 9-2 lead. "I got my feet wet," Stumpf said about his Major League debut. "You can't go any lower than what I did today. There's only room for improvement at this point."
- Phillies third baseman got hit with a pitch just below his left elbow in the ninth. Franco stayed in the game, and he said afterward he should be fine. Franco had his elbow wrapped in ice after the game. He said he did not have an X-ray. "I'll be fine. I'll be good," Franco said. "We'll see how it is tomorrow, but I'll be fine."
- Hunter hit a solo homer to right field in the fourth. It was the first long ball of his career and his first hit in the big leagues since April 5, 2011. It was also just the second hit from a Phillies outfielder this season.
- Howard singled to right field with runners in scoring position in the third. It marked the Phillies' first hit with a runner in scoring position this season. The Phillies and Padres both entered Thursday 0-for-11 in those situations. Howard later connected on a two-run homer to center field in the fifth. It was his first dinger of the season.
- "We know what we're up against. I'm hoping we got this out of the way. There's no excuses. We're not going to be the best hitting team in the league, but I don't think we're the worst hitting team in the league. I think we're going to show better than we did. We've hit good pitchers before. It's not like I'm going in there thinking we're in trouble." --
Friday, April 8, 2016
Phillies Start The Season With A Sweep
GAME RECAP: Reds Sweep Phillies 10-6
With and leading the charge on Thursday, the Reds erupted with an eight-run fourth inning en route to a 10-6 victory over the Phillies and three-game series sweep to open the 2016 season. Bruce notched two homers in the win, with a career-high-tying five RBIs. Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the third when Bruce's fielding error on 's single let pitcher score an unearned run off of Robert Stephenson. Bruce redeemed himself in the fourth with two men on base and no outs when he slugged a three-run homer to right field. The rally continued as reliever couldn't stop the momentum in his Major League debut. With the bases loaded and two outs, Suarez launched the first grand slam of his career into the left-field seats. Cincinnati sent 13 men to the plate in the fourth, and Bruce returned to hit an RBI single to center field to score . He added a second homer -- a shot to center field -- that led off the seventh. Stephenson, the Reds' according to MLBPipeline, allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings with six hits, two walks and one strikeout for the victory in his big league debut. He was to Triple-A Louisville following the game. hit his first career homer in the fourth to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Howard knocked a two-out two-run homer in the fifth off of Stephenson to center field. cut the deficit to 10-6 in the eighth with a two-run dinger to left. It is the first time the Phillies 0-3 since 2007, when they lost three at home to the Braves. "You play a few games and you just try not to let the results affect you either way," Morton said. "Obviously, you try to take the positives and move forward. But try not to let the momentum of negative things happen. Try not to carry those things with you." The Reds are off to their second-straight 3-0 start after they began 2015 with a 4-0 record. "Everybody wants to come out there, and we feel like we've got a good ballclub," Reds manager Bryan Price said of his retooling club that wasn't picked to contend in 2016. "It's only going to get better as our pitchers continue to get healthy out in Goodyear, [Ariz.] There's a lot of optimism here. We don't look at ourselves as a bad team. We like our team, and I think throughout the course of the spring and summer, there will be a lot of good baseball in Cincinnati."
The Phillies head to New York to open a three-game series at 1:10 p.m. ET Friday against the Mets at Citi Field. Right-hander makes his 2016 debut. He earned a spot in the Phillies' rotation based on eight strong starts late last season after joining the organization in the trade with Texas in July.
Taking Stock After Sweep – The Phillies expected their share of struggles this season, but they never expected to start the season like this. They lost, , Thursday afternoon to the Reds at Great American Ball Park to fall to 0-3. It is the first time the Phillies have been swept to begin a season since 2007, when they opened 0-3 at home against the Braves. It also is the first time they have been swept to open a season on the road since 2000, when they went 0-3 against the D-backs. "You play a few games and you just try not to let the results affect you either way," right-hander said. "Obviously, you try to take the positives and move forward. But try not to let the momentum of negative things happen. Try not to carry those things with you. It was nice to play well in spring, but we've got to come in and win ballgames, and I didn't do my part." Morton allowed six runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. He pitched well through three frames before things fell apart in the fourth. Rookie left-hander replaced Morton with runners on second and third and two outs. Stumpf, who made his Major League debut, had at 0-2, but he walked him to load the bases. Stumpf got ahead of before surrendering a grand slam. "I got my feet wet," Stumpf said. "You can't go any lower than what I did today. There's only room for improvement at this point." The Reds swept the Phillies for a few reasons. First and foremost, the Phillies' bullpen lost a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning Monday and a 2-1 lead in the ninth Wednesday. The Phillies' bullpen has a 12.91 ERA (11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings) through three games. Secondly, the offense has struggled. The Phillies had scored just four runs and just twice in 18 innings entering Thursday. They were one of two teams without a hit with runners in scoring position entering the series finale before ended that with an RBI single in the third. Phillies outfielders had tallied one combined hit. "Well, I'm not discouraged by it," manager Pete Mackanin said. "I'm not happy with it. We're not swinging the bats like we did in the spring. I don't want to take anything away from their pitchers, but we're not facing [Zack] Greinke and [Clayton] Kershaw. I would like to have seen a little bit more offense. We got some late today, which was good to see some of the guys getting some hits, but we need to do a better job of hitting the ball." It does not get any easier for the Phillies. They open a three-game series Friday afternoon against the Mets at Citi Field. They are scheduled to face Jacob deGrom on Friday and on Sunday. "We know what we're up against," Mackanin said. "I'm hoping we got this out of the way. There's no excuses. We're not going to be the best hitting team in the league, but I don't think we're the worst hitting team in the league. I think we're going to show better than we did. We've hit good pitchers before. It's not like I'm going in there thinking we're in trouble."
A Long Wait – had waited a long time for this. He waited five years and two days, in fact. Hunter hit a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning of Thursday's to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. It marked Hunter's first big league homer and his first big league hit since April 5, 2011. Elias Sports Bureau found the last non-pitcher to go at least five years and two days (1,829 days) between hits was Jason Lane, who went six years, 320 days (Sept. 11, 2007 - July 28, 2014). "It's crazy," Hunter said. "Because we lost and we got swept, I'm not really cherishing the moment like I wish I could. But it's great to get the first hit out of the way. And for it to be a home run, it's just a blessing." Hunter said he had 26 family members from Atlanta at Opening Day on Monday, when he went 0-for-4. His father attended Wednesday's game, when he went 0-for-1. Hunter said he had no family members at the series finale. "I'll probably give [my father] a shout-out text to stay at home next time, watch it on TV," Hunter said, laughing. "But I'm excited for my family to make it out to Cincinnati. For them to drive all the way up here, it means a lot." But here is what makes Hunter's story more remarkable: He never got the ball from his first big league hit in 2011, when he played for the Padres and got a pinch-hit single against Giants right-hander Guillermo Mota at Petco Park. "They threw it in the dugout, told me they were going to do the print on it and everything and I never got it," Hunter said during Spring Training. The 28-year-old will get the home run ball. A fan threw it back onto the field. A ball boy retrieved it, but before he could toss the ball into the stands, Phillies first-base coach Mickey Morandini got his attention and got it from him. Morandini safely tucked the ball into his back pocket. Phillies director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger confirmed the team has the ball. "That's cool," Hunter said. So what exactly ran through his mind as he circled the bases? "Nothing was running through my mind," Hunter said. "I was just in the moment, kind of in awe."
Taking Turns – The next man up in the Phillies' closer carousel? It looks like right-hander . The Phillies didn't need a closer in Thursday's to the Reds at Great American Ball Park, but manager Pete Mackanin said afterward Gomez likely would have been the guy. "We're auditioning," Mackanin said. "We've got to find out. It's a daily question. Why not Gomez? Let's see what he can do." The Phillies' bullpen has a 12.91 ERA (11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings) in three games this season. lost a lead in the eighth inning Monday. did the same in the ninth inning Wednesday. Interestingly, asked following Hernandez's struggles Monday about Gomez possibly pitching in the eighth, Mackanin said Gomez did not respond well in those situations last season. But the Phillies are willing to try anything right now. "He hasn't told me he's uncomfortable there," Mackanin said. Gomez saved his first and only game in 2014, when he pitched for the Pirates. He threw a clean inning. "Any role, any inning they give me the opportunity to throw, I'll be ready," Gomez said. "No matter if it's seven, eight or nine or six or four. It doesn't matter. I don't think too much about it. "You know, I think every pitcher has the capacity to throw any inning. We've prepared in Spring Training to help the team win in any situation, any inning where the manager wants to put us. So I think all the bullpen has the capacity for that role." Of course, so far that has not been the case. "It's still a toss-up," Mackanin said.
Small Adjustment – Phillies fans see all. They correctly noticed in the past week that the script on the front of the Phillies' jerseys is slightly larger than seasons past. Uniforms are big business, so the tweak deserved an explanation. It turns out the Phillies' new alternate home jerseys had something to do with it. The script on that red jersey, which will be worn in six regular-season games, is bigger than the Phillies' traditional pinstripe uniforms. "The style guide was a little bit off at MLB, so they wanted to get a consistent size of the 'Phillies' because that red alternate was a little bit different," director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger said. "It's got some border around it."
Today In Phils History - Phillies find themselves victims of the Cubs only opening day walk off win in 1969 despite 2 homeruns by Don Money (Deron Johnson also made his Phillies debut that day). Chase Utley is also know for getting hits on this day as he was hit on 3 separate occasions on this day in 2008. Twenty years earlier, another Phillies second baseman had an interesting day when he caught Gary Carter with the hidden ball trick. When it comes to debuts, there are some memorable ones as it marked the beginning of the Ivan DeJesus era in 1982 (Bo Diaz also debuted for the Phillies that day). They joined the team the year after a key championship player first put on a Phillies uniform, Gary Matthews. However, the most memorable Phils to take the field for the first time were Mitch Williams in 1991 and Curt Schilling the following year. While he didn't debut on this day, the Phillies did acquire Willie Montanez on this day (the historic deal was originally for Curt Flood). And, while not known for his time in Philadelphia, today is also the birthday of Kirby Higbe.
The Phillies are currently 0-3 this season putting them on pace to meet 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 13-18-1 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!