Monday, May 16, 2016

Dutch Returns To Watch Phillies Lose

GAME RECAP: Reds Overpower Phillies 9-4

Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall each notched three hits while Jay Bruce reached base five times as the Reds won their third road game of the season on Sunday by taking a 9-4 victory over the Phillies, snapping a three-game losing streak. "Today is a big day, a different day," Suarez said. "We finally did good with men in scoring position." Duvall's RBI double and Tucker Barnhart's RBI single in the second inning off Phillies lefty Adam Morgan gave Cincinnati a 2-0 lead. Timely hitting and Philadelphia miscues opened up opportunities for the Reds in the fourth. The bases were loaded with one out when Morgan walked Reds starting pitcher Dan Straily -- hitless in his 12 career plate appearances -- on four pitches to force home a run. Next, Tyler Holt hit a potential double-play ball to first baseman Ryan Howard, who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove before making the force-play throw to second. That enabled Suarez to bat and drive a 3-2 Morgan pitch to center for a three-run homer and a 7-0 lead. Morgan allowed seven earned runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings with three walks and one strikeout. "Right from the gate, I felt like I was searching for the rhythm and the tempo and it was just one of those days where the command wasn't there," Morgan said. Straily flirted with danger all afternoon, as he stranded a runner in scoring position in each of his five shutout innings. While throwing 109 pitches, Straily gave up six hits and three walks with six strikeouts. "I think today was bend but don't break," Straily said. "I was fighting myself. I had developed a nice little blister [on my middle finger] and was fighting that. I just kind of made pitches when I absolutely had to. I try to do that every time but bases loaded and guys on third base in what seemed like every inning, I was able to find a way to get out of it." The chilly afternoon became a slog in the late innings as the pitching staffs combined for 14 walks over the three-hour, 52-minute game. Zack Cozart hit a bases-loaded single for two runs and 9-3 Reds lead in the ninth. But reliever Drew Hayes gave up three hits and a bases-loaded walk with one out in the bottom of the inning. It became a save situation for Tony Cingrani, who entered and got the final two outs for his third save.

  • The Phillies had a chance to answer the Reds' five-run fourth in the bottom of the inning when Cesar Hernandez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Hernandez hit a shot that hooked foul down the right field line and eventually struck out. It was not the only time the Phillies failed to get runners home in the loss. Philadelphia went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position during the first five innings and stranded a total of 16 runners on base in the game. "We just couldn't capitalize with men in scoring position, men on base," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "It is what it is. We've been playing so well up to this point and this was a hiccup."
  • Maikel Franco broke the Phillies' runners-in-scoring-position slump in the sixth inning when he hit a two-run double with two outs. The hit, Franco's seventh double of the season, glanced off Holt's glove in center. Franco also had a run-scoring single in the eighth to raise his season RBI total to 22.
  • Odubel Herrera earned his 28th walk of the season in the fourth inning on Sunday, matching his total from last season. The Phillies outfielder needed just 162 plate appearances to do so after totaling 537 in 2015.
  • Reds first baseman Joey Votto was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, snapping his streak of reaching safely at 20 games. Votto is also hitless in his last 14 plate appearances since hitting a homer on Monday. His recent funk didn't prevent him from having fun at the fans' expense. In the bottom of the sixth, he fielded a Hernandez foul ball and motioned that he would give the fans a souvenir. It proved to be a fake-out as Votto instead turned and tossed the ball back to Barnhart amid boos. Votto showed a sly smile and pumped his fist in jest. During his final at-bat, fans at Citizens Bank Park booed him lustily and cheered when he struck out for the third time. 
The Phillies will continue their homestand when they open a three-game series against the Marlins on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Jerad Eickhoff will get the start for Philadelphia, which took two of three from Miami last weekend. .


Lack Of Location – Adam Morgan had a tough time locating pitches in Sunday's 9-4 loss to the Reds. It caught up to him in the fourth inning. Morgan, making his fourth start of the season, came unraveled in a 39-pitch frame which featured five Cincinnati runs. The first run of the inning came when the lefty walked opposing pitcher Dan Straily on four pitches with the bases loaded. The last three came when Eugenio Suarez crushed a 3-2 changeup for a three-run homer. It would be the last pitch of Morgan's outing, the most trouble-filled of his short career. The second-year Major Leaguer allowed a total of seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up eight hits, including four in the Reds' two-run second inning and walked another three batters as 41 of his 87 pitches missed the strike zone. "Right from the gate, I felt like I was searching for the rhythm and the tempo and it was just one of those days where the command wasn't there," Morgan said. The 3 2/3 innings ties for Morgan's shortest start in the Majors, and the seven earned runs were the most he has given up in his 19 outings with the Phillies. The start raised Morgan's season ERA from 3.94 to 6.41. "It wasn't coming out of his hand real well," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "It was uncharacteristic of Morgan because he normally has outstanding command and he relies on that. And when he doesn't have it, what happened today is likely to happen." Morgan, who made 15 starts last season and was promoted from Triple-A in late April after Charlie Morton suffered a season-ending hamstring injury, spent a lot of the day working out of the stretch. He allowed hits in every inning he was on the mound. In the second, Morgan gave up hits to the first four batters and Cincinnati got on the board thanks to back-to-back doubles from Jay Bruce and Adam Duvall. Walks hurt him in the fourth inning. Morgan issued a walk to Bruce to start the inning, and after intentionally walking Tucker Barnhart to load the bases with one out, Morgan threw four straight pitches out of the zone against Straily. Straily stepped to the plate 0-for-12 in his career at the plate, and Morgan said, "It's one of the loneliest feelings in the world, walking a pitcher and walking a run in." He's looking to put the inning and the outing behind him. "It goes back on trusting your stuff and trusting your routine," Morgan said. "You just keep going. There's 20-something more starts left. You can't really sulk over this one, and I know I need to be better."

Aftermath – A day after taking a game-winning blow at home plate, Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp's left leg was feeling sore Sunday. His status for the next few days was uncertain after the Phillies series finale against Cincinnati. Manager Pete Mackanin said after Sunday's 9-4 loss to the Reds that Rupp would be evaluated again on Monday morning, and the team may have to call up another catcher if he is unavailable for an extended period of time. "We're going to check him out early in the morning to see where he is and see how he is," Mackanin said. "If it's going to be three or four days, we're going to need to get a catcher up here. At this point, we're just going to wait until [Monday]." Rupp collided with Cincinnati's Eugenio Suarez on a play at the plate to end Saturday's 4-3 win. Suarez was thrown out by left fielder Tyler Goeddel and Rupp held onto the baseball to clinch the win. The 27-year-old -- who is hitting .238 in 22 games this season -- had his left ankle wrapped and did not play on Sunday. Carlos Ruiz, who has played in 16 games, is currently the only other catcher on the Phillies 25-man roster.

Dutch Returns – Darren Daulton made thousands of plays behind the plate in his Phillies career. On Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, Daulton got to be on other end of the battery in a special pregame ceremony. Daulton threw out the first pitch to breast cancer survivor Linda Duaime as the Phillies recognized those Going to Bat Against Cancer on Sunday. Daulton, the former All-Star catcher who spent parts of 14 seasons with the Phillies, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. After surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy, Daulton announced in February he had a clean brain scan. Since his diagnosis, he has founded The Darren Daulton Foundation, which provides financial aid to those who suffer from brain tumors, brain injuries and brain cancer. Duaime had her own fight against breast cancer, and the Northeast Philadelphia resident was diagnosed in September 2014. She was named the Phillies' 2016 Honorary Bat Girl. Both Duaime, who had about 100 friends and family on hand, and Daulton received an ovation before the Phillies' game against the Reds on Sunday.

Continuing The Tradition – In 1971, Philadelphia resident Jack Bradley took an idea to the Phillies: Let's hold a community youth home run derby. It would be open to children 7-12 from all over the Delaware Valley and the finals would take place at Veterans Stadium. Frank Sullivan, then the director of promotion, and the Phillies loved it. They'd make it an annual tradition. It has also become a family operation. Jack's son, Paul, has helped out since the inaugural edition -- he was 12 in 1971 -- but he took over as president when he graduated college. This year marks the 46th Home Run Derby, and the 40th Paul has been in charge of. Over the past four decades, Bradley has pitched to the preteen incarnations of Mike Trout, Jamie Moyer and Mike Scioscia. More than a dozen professional ballplayers have come through the Derby. "Probably the only one I saw coming was Trout," Bradley said. "As a 12-year-old, he hit the ball over a 290-foot fence." Trout didn't even make the finals, though. Because of the point system, Trout's 300-foot jacks counted the same as his opponent's 200-foot ones. On 10 swings, one point is awarded for any fair hit, two points for over 125 feet and five points for anything over 175 feet. The reigning American League MVP scored a 34, but it wasn't enough. "To this day, I think about trying to get in touch with that kid, tell him that's who you beat," Bradley said. "You beat Mike Trout." While the Bradleys have partnered with the Phillies since the start, this is the first year they've partnered with Major League Baseball. In addition to going to the finals at Citizens Bank Park, one participant will go on to represent Philadelphia at the All-Star Game in San Diego. Those types of opportunities offered to the kids of Philadelphia are part of what keeps Bradley going after the 46th year. And the operation is only growing. "There are kids who won home run derbies in the '70s call me now and say they want to have home run derbies in their towns," Bradley said. "Because of the experiences they had as kids." The Phillies celebrated Play Ball Weekend by hosting one of dozens local competitions. The top three in each age group -- 7/8, 9/10, and 11/12 -- advanced to regional finals, which then decide who gets to compete at Citizens Bank Park in September. And just like he's done for almost his whole life, Bradley fired up a pitching machine for about 50 kids in total. In the not so distant future, it could be a third generation Bradley in charge. Paul hopes to pass it down to his children when they graduate college, just like his father did for him. "I've seen a lot of good hitters, but I've seen even better memories in the 46 years," Bradley said. "Let's get into a third generation, go to 75 years."

Today In Phils History – After serving his country in the Army during the Korean Conflict, Curt Simmons was honored on this day in 1952 with gifts including a car, a TV, a refrigerator, and a gold watch. Exactly one year later, Simmons gives up a leadoff single, then retires the next 27 batters to 1-hit the Braves. Five years after Simmons dominated the Braves, Harry “Sparky” Anderson hit a long fly ball off the catwalk at Connie Mack Stadium which allowed him to circle the bases for an inside-the-park home run. The following year, the Phillies bid farewell to Granny Hamner who was traded to Cleveland. In 1967, the plans for Veterans Stadium became a reality as Philadelphia voters approved $13 million in bonds to pay for the project in South Philadelphia. 5 years later, Greg Luzinski hits a legendary 500-foot home run off the center field Liberty Bell. Steve Carlton has a grand memory on this day as well as he hit his only career grand slam off of Fernando Valenzuela in 1984. Pitcher Don Carman wasn’t as good a hitter but he did get his first career hit (his first in 49 career at bats) on this day in 1987. 2 years later, Juan Samuel hit his 4th leadoff homer of the season setting a new franchise record. And finally, on this day during the 2008 season, Jayson Werth hit 3 home runs and collected 8 RBI in the win over the Blue Jays.

The Phillies are currently 22-16 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 48-46-0 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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