Friday, May 13, 2016

Herrera Hits And Rupp Drives Them In

GAME RECAP: Phillies Outlast Braves 7-4

Cameron Rupp's three-run double proved to be the decisive blow the Phillies needed to fight off a Braves comeback attempt and claim a 7-4, 10-inning win on Thursday night at Turner Field. "They're better than their record, and I'm glad we kind of got them while they're down right now, because they're going to be better than their record right now," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of the 8-25 Braves. Odubel Herrera capped his four-hit night by leading off the 10th inning with a triple against Braves reliever Jason Grilli, who exited with runners at the corners and one out. Ian Krol entered the game and struck out Darin Ruf before walking Freddy Galvis to load the bases ahead of Rupp's three-run double. The Phillies chased Aaron Blair during a three-run fourth inning and seemed to be in prime position with Vince Velasquez entering the seventh with a 4-0 lead. But after surrendering just two hits through the first six innings, Velasquez surrendered three hits and a walk, including a three-run double by Gordon Beckham, before exiting the game with no outs in Atlanta's game-tying four-run inning. Atlanta has now lost 17 of its first 19 home games. The Phillies went 13-6 while playing 16 of their past 19 games on the road. "It would be great if we'd win the game," Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Comebacks are great, but if you don't win the game, it doesn't much matter."

  • Jeff Francoeur resurrected his career last year in Philadelphia, and he took advantage of the chance to damage his former team when he capped the Braves' four-run seventh with a game-tying single off right-hander David Hernandez, who replaced Velasquez. Freddie Freeman and Pierzynski notched singles ahead of Beckham's three-run double, while Kelly Johnson walked in between them.
  • With his leadoff triple to start the Phillies' 10th-inning rally, Herrera tied his career high with four hits. He also drew a walk in his first plate appearance. Herrera scored what would be the decisive run on Rupp's bases-clearing double in the 10th, and he scored on Maikel Franco's first-inning sacrifice fly. The center fielder also produced a two-out fourth-inning infield single that enabled Velasquez to score from second base when Johnson made an errant flip over Freeman. "I'm gonna go out on a limb: He's a good hitter," Mackanin said. "This guy, he's a potential batting champion at some point. He just has a knack for it."
  • Pierzynski played in his 2,000th game, becoming the eighth active player and 10th catcher to reach this milestone.
  • Velasquez did not tally a plate appearance at the Minor League level. With a pair of singles on Thursday night, he is now 4-for-14 at the plate this season.

After playing 16 of their past 19 games on the road, the Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park on Friday to begin a nine-game homestand with a three-game set against the Reds. Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to throw the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET.


What Happened During The 7th Inning Stretch? – For the first six innings of the Phillies' 7-4, 10-inning win over the Braves, Vince Velasquez was in complete control. After pounding the zone with his fastball for six scoreless innings, Velasquez stumbled in the seventh when he shied away from throwing his fastball. "He just changed his whole approach," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "Earlier, he started throwing some soft, off-speed secondary stuff. I would have rather he went right after the hitters in that seventh inning, and he just threw too many off-speed pitches. But he's going through a learning experience. This is pitching in the big leagues, and he's going to make mistakes." The Phillies gave Velasquez a 4-0 cushion heading into the seventh. After Freddie Freeman led off the frame with a single to center, Velasquez walked Kelly Johnson and gave up another single to A.J. Pierzynski to load the bases with no outs for Gordon Beckham. "I just started slipping," Velasquez said. Velasquez decided he wanted to throw a curveball to Beckham, who was 0-for-2 up to that point. The result: a bases-clearing double to left-center to make it a 4-3 contest. "Beckham was pretty much late on all my fastballs, and I don't know why I threw that pitch in the first place," Velasquez said. "... I always challenge guys, and why I was passive and threw that off-speed was my doing, and I take full responsibility for that." The Braves tied the game at 4 after Jeff Francoeur's RBI single off David Hernandez, who relieved Velasquez after the three-run double. But the Phillies rallied back in extra innings as Cameron Rupp put them back on top, 7-4, with a bases-clearing double.

A Little Superstition – Superstitious or not, every Friday the 13th, we're probably all a little wary of any black cat that decides to cross our path. Naturally, though, if you want to know more about the holiday, Vin Scully will break it down for you. And while most people probably look at Friday the 13th as a silly superstition, don't say that to a ballplayer. After all, since the game of baseball began there have been bizarre tricks and routines players have been obsessively following in hopes of gaining an edge. Jack Glasscock, who played from 1879 to 1895, was nicknamed "Pebbly" for his habit of fastidiously inspecting the infield dirt. Jim Leyland famously refused to change his underwear during a Tigers winning streak in 2011. Mike Hargrove became known as the Human Rain Delay for his intricate pre at-bat routine. Richie Ashburn would sleep with his bat during a hot streak, while R.A. Dickey names them things like Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver. But while the utility of each of those beliefs is suspect, they still have nothing on these five truly superstitious Major Leaguers. Kevin Rhomberg: How Rhomberg ever appeared in 41 Major League games is a mystery. Not only would Rhomberg refuse to make right-handed turns because there are no right-handed turns on a baseball field, but should someone ever touch him, he would have to touch them back. It's how he earned the nickname "Touch Me, Touch Me" from teammate Mike Hargrove. It wouldn't end there though. Once others learned of his superstition, they were relentless: Rick Sutcliffe once reached under a bathroom stall to touch Rhomberg on the toe. Not knowing whom the culprit was, Rhomberg went around the clubhouse and touched each player. Brook Jacoby once told of tagging Rhomberg with a ball in the minors, then throwing it out of the stadium. Jacoby said that Rhomberg spent two hours looking for the ball before finding it. An umpire once halted play during a game in New York to tell Yankees players to stop touching Rhomberg. Rohn and Rhomberg were teammates in Venezuela for winter ball, and Rohn touched him one night, then ran off to the clubhouse to hide after his last at-bat. "He looked for me for two hours," Rohn recalled. "I was hiding under desks, in the shower, the bathroom. He couldn't find me." Of course, despite all this, Rhomberg was pretty successful at the plate. In 47 career at-bats, the left fielder hit .383/.423/.447. Mark Fidrych: No one represents superstition to fans quite like Fidrych. Coming up at the age of 21 with a lean, wiry body and long, wild hair that led to his nickname "Bird," Fidrych looked the part of the quirky Major Leaguer. And he lived up to it. While capturing the attention of baseball fans everywhere during a rookie campaign that saw him lead the league in ERA and shutouts (with a shocking 24), collecting the Rookie of the Year Award along the way, Fidrych also fascinated people with his on-field habits. He would smooth over the cleat marks on the mound, talk to the ball and ask the umpire for a new baseball after every hit. The starter explained: "That ball has a hit in it. I want that ball to get back in the ball bag and goof around with the other balls. I want him to talk to the other balls. I want the other balls to beat him up. Maybe that'll smarten him up so when he comes out the next time, he'll pop up." Fidrych would also shake the hands of every teammate and umpire following his start, just as he did after his nationally televised outing against the Yankees on June 28, 1976. Unfortunately, injuries would spell doom for Fidrych. After pitching 250 1/3 innings in 1976, the Bird would throw only 162 more over parts of the next four seasons. Derek Holland: The man who will happily dress like he's in Dumb and Dumber. And grow the wispiest mustache this side of Snoopy's brother Spike. Is also a man with quite a few superstitions. Though he no longer drops $30 on fast food on the night before his starts, he does have a few other rituals. Namely: "Every night before I pitch, I have to play Nintendo hockey. Every night before I pitch, I have to watch the movie 'For The Love Of The Game,' the Kevin Costner movie. I watch the same part every time but never the whole movie. I've never seen the whole movie, and I never will until I retire. People tell me how it ends, but I don't care. I won't watch it until I retire. But I have to watch it every night before I pitch. It's what helps get me ready to pitch." Honestly, out of all the superstitions on this list, these sound like the most fun. Wade Boggs: While plenty of ballplayers have a favorite meal they like to have before a game, with Justin Verlander eating tacos before every start, no one was as fastidious as Wade Boggs. On his way to 3,010 hits and a Hall of Fame career, Boggs became known as the "Chicken Man" by eating up to one-and-a-half birds every day. As for how he got his start: "It started in '77. I had a Minor League budget and a growing family to feed. Chicken was cheap and I really felt better eating lighter food rather than a lot of heavy meat and gravy. Then I noticed my batting average going up. Ever since I've been a `chicketarian.'" It even led to Boggs getting his own chicken recipe book, "Fowl Tips," which is sadly and shockingly out of print. But Boggs' routine didn't end there. He would write the Hebrew symbol for life, "Chai," in the batter's box before every at-bat and made sure to take 117 ground balls during every infield practice. Which, hey, that strict regimen lead to five batting titles, 12 All-Star Games and a Hall of Fame plaque, so perhaps we should all start eating chicken. Turk Wendell: Of course, like Candyland, this list leads only one place: Turk Wendell. With the amount of free time that relievers have to develop new and ever-stranger habits, it's odd that there aren't more pitchers like him. During an 11-year career with the Cubs, Mets, Phillies and Rockies, Wendell was known for: Not just stepping over the foul lines, but leaping them; Wearing a necklace featuring the teeth from animals he had hunted; Never wearing socks. Because they were a waste of money; Chewing licorice on the mound; Brushing his teeth in the dugout between innings. (Which, given all the licorice, was probably a good idea); Signing a contract with the Mets worth a total of $9,999,999.99 in honor of his number: 99. Of course, it turns out that the real secret to Wendell's success wasn't any of this. It was honey.

Today In Phils History – Today is about wins but, unfortunately, more about losses. In 1902, the Phillies gave up a team record of 28 hits losing to Cincinnati by a score of 24-2. But at least they weren’t shut out. For that record we look at this day in 1960 when the Phillies tied the major league record by losing by a score of 1-0 for the third consecutive game. On that same day the Phillies traded away Ed Bouchee to the Cubs for Tony Taylor. Larry Anderson was also released on this day in 1986… he would return to the team later in his career. Despite the losses, today is also known for wins as in 1954 Robin Roberts followed a leadoff homerun by the Reds by shutting down the next 27 batters. Four years later, Roberts would beat Milwaukee 5-2 setting the franchise record for career wins (191).  

The Phillies are currently 20-15 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 44-53-1 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment