Thursday, May 26, 2016

Once Again, Phillies Come Alive In Series Finale

GAME RECAP: Phillies Tame Tigers 8-5

Odubel Herrera's three-run home run and Peter Bourjos' solo shot powered a six-run attack against Anibal Sanchez as the Phillies captured the finale against the Tigers with an 8-5 win on Wednesday at Comerica Park. After a double steal of second and home punctuated a two-run second inning, a pair of Tigers errors in the fourth helped set up Herrera, who pounced on a hanging slider from Sanchez and sent it into the right-field seats. Bourjos ended the afternoon for Sanchez (3-6) with a solo homer to begin the seventh. "He had some real good innings and looked like he got in a groove, and then all of a sudden, he'd hang a pitch," said bench coach Gene Lamont, who filled in as manager for Brad Ausmus. "But we know how good of stuff he has. He just needs to put it together." Aaron Nola (4-3) picked up the win with six strikeouts over six innings of four-run ball, withstanding a Tigers three-run, five-hit rally in the fifth. Jeanmar Gomez retired the top of Tigers' lineup in order in the ninth for his Major League-leading 17th save.

  • The Phillies took advantage of Sanchez's deliberate delivery and Bourjos' speed on first base to take a run on a double steal in the second inning. Tigers catcher James McCann, who has thrown out nine of 16 would-be basestealers this season, tried to throw out Bourjos and sailed it, allowing Andres Blanco to dash home as shortstop Jose Iglesias corralled the throw. "We were going to come back home, but the throw [to second] got a little bit high and wide," Lamont said. "When it's like that, it just kind of takes the shortstop [out of position]. He just couldn't set himself to throw back home. If [Blanco] ran, we were going to throw back home."
  • After reliever David Hernandez had allowed three straight baserunners and a run in the seventh, Hector Neris came in to face the Nos. 4 and 5 batters of the Tigers' lineup. He threw a low splitter to get Victor Martinez to strike out swinging. With a full count during the next at-bat, Neris threw a quick pitch that froze Nick Castellanos to strand runners at first and second. "That's the first time I've been quick-pitched, probably since 'A' ball," Castellanos said. "It is what it is. I was frustrated that it happened. Usually, it's been attempted, but it's always been stopped. Usually, [umpires] give the hitter that courtesy, but just learn and move on."
  • "For me, it was a must-win. We've lost four out of five, and I felt like we needed to come out of here with a win. And when we scored early, I felt pretty good. They answered back, but we went ahead again. So it was nice to see. The guys battled, and to me, it looked like they played like we had to win this game." -- Manager Pete Mackanin, on Phillies avoiding a sweep.
  • Herrera has hit safely in 28 out of 31 games since he was moved to the leadoff spot on April 20.
  • Slugging Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco left the game with a right ankle sprain suffered while sliding into second base in the seventh inning. Cesar Hernandez took his place.
  • Freddy Galvis' whirling stop and throw to end an eighth-inning threat withstood a replay review when the Tigers argued that Iglesias beat the throw. After a one-minute, 28-second review, the call stood, stranding Steven Moya on third and preventing Maybin from stepping to the plate as the potential tying run.

Philadelphia travels to Chicago on Friday to start a three-game series against the Cubs that will wrap up a six-game road trip. It is the first of two series between the two clubs this season, and Adam Morgan will make the start opposite the Cubs' Jon Lester at 2:20 p.m. ET.


Evaluations Needed – Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco left Wednesday's 8-5 win over the Tigers with a mild right ankle sprain, injuring his foot sliding into second base during the seventh inning. Franco had a slight limp after the game, and manager Pete Mackanin said the training staff will evaluate him on Thursday, an off-day for the Phillies as they travel to Chicago for a three-game weekend series with the Cubs. Mackanin said he anticipates being cautious with Franco over the next several days. Mackanin said Franco immediately told third-base coach Juan Samuel that he had sprained his ankle when he slid into second base, but he did not come out of the game until between innings when Cesar Hernandez entered at second base and Andres Blanco moved to third. Franco, with tape on his ankle, said he was fine, but it is a little sore. The 23-year-old said he is already feeling better, and he anticipates that he will be ready to play Friday in Chicago after he ices his ankle Wednesday and Thursday. Franco went 5-for-11 with one home run in the Detroit series. He is hitting .260 on the year.

Bearing Down – Aaron Nola improved his record to 4-3 on the season behind six strikeouts on Wednesday in the Phillies' 8-5 win over the Tigers. Nola's curveball was working well for him, as he got five of his six strikeouts with it. He started the game by striking out the side in the first inning, all of them coming on the curve. He said the first inning gave him confidence for the rest of the game. "I knew after I struck the side out there in the first, I had to bear down more, because I felt like I needed to make better pitches after that inning," Nola said. "After the first couple of innings, I felt like my ball was kind of leaking over the plate and I was kind of yanking my fastball away to righties." Nola said he left some breaking balls over the middle of the plate, which led to good swings from the Tigers' powerful lineup. Nola surrendered three runs on five hits in the fifth inning, all of which were singles. "After that, I really kind of tried to forget about that and go out there in the sixth inning and put a zero on the board," Nola said. He was able to do that, getting the Tigers out in order on seven pitches. Manager Pete Mackanin said Detroit's bottom of the order was trouble for the Phillies on Wednesday, especially in the fifth. But he thought Nola did a great job against Miguel Cabrera in that inning, breaking his bat and inducing an infield popup. That at-bat helped lessen a big Detroit threat, as Victor Martinez came to the plate with two outs and one runner in scoring position, instead of Cabrera breaking it open and potentially ending Nola's day. "Aaron Nola is a good pitcher, and he made some mistakes in that fifth inning, but he can also make a lot quality pitches, and he did to a pretty darn good hitter," Mackanin said.

Double Trouble – The Phillies, trying to ignite their struggling offense in support of young starter Aaron Nola, swiped a run off the Tigers with a double steal, allowing Andres Blanco to steal home in the second inning for a run in Wednesday afternoon's 8-5 win over Detroit at Comerica Park. It was an aggressive play with two outs, but if the Phillies were ever going to try it, they had the combination. Blanco went from first to third on Peter Bourjos' two-out RBI single. With the speedy Bourjos on first base and Odubel Herrera batting against Anibal Sanchez -- who has struggled to hold runners all season while tinkering with the hip turn in his delivery -- Bourjos took off for second trying to bait a throw. Tigers catcher James McCann, who has thrown out nine of 16 would-be basestealers this season, tried to throw him out. Shortstop Jose Iglesias didn't appear to be expecting it. He came in late as the throw sailed high, allowing Blanco to score without much trouble for a 2-0 Phillies lead.

Studying The Competition – Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has dubbed the Tigers as "the most dangerous lineup." Rookie Tommy Joseph has also taken notice of the Tigers' firepower, and he's looking to take something away from Detroit's success as he adjusts to life in the Majors. The 24-year-old said he grew up watching a lot of the hitters on Detroit, which has the second-best batting average (.267) in the American League. Joseph thinks it's good to study the Tigers. "They're tough hitters, tough competitors. You sit there and watch them, and they're having a blast while they're playing, too," Joseph said. "I think it's good for us, too, to be able to take a little bit from playing them, getting the opportunity to watch and see how much fun they're having while they're playing well, and see what they're doing right. So it's something to learn from." Joseph went 1-for-3 Tuesday night, but he narrowly missed two more hits, lining out sharply twice. He hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning that plated the Phillies' lone run in a 3-1 loss. He's hitting .304 in eight games since joining the club. Even though Philadelphia has dropped four of its past five games, Joseph said the team is gaining confidence after starting the season on a hot streak. "Anytime you win, it's going to give you confidence, anytime you can put a few together like we did, it's going to give you even more confidence," he said. "So I think right now, Detroit's playing really good baseball, so with this day game today, we're going to try and take one from them. We definitely have a lot of confidence in here. I don't think we doubt each other, by any means. Just fight a little harder and get those key timely hits." Joseph said he has been working hard to try to keep the Phillies' turnaround season going on the right path. "I've only been here for a week, but throughout that week, you can tell with these guys, they want it bad," he said. "And I'm very happy to be a part of it, so I'm looking forward to continuing to work hard."

Today In Phils History – It is hard to believe that it has already been a decade since phan phavorite Chris Coste made his major league debut. And for some of you other phans, the same can be said of Bob Walk who debuted on this day in 1980. Even more improbable is the fact that two former Phillies first baseman have been away from the game for so long with Travis Lee and Ricky Jordan celebrating their 41st and 51st birthdays respectively. Of course, long before any of these events, Chuck Klein was making history when he hit for the cycle (his second time ass a Phillie) against St. Louis in 1933. In 1956, it was the opposing hitter that made history when Pittsburgh’s Dale Long connected for a homerun in his MLB record 7th consecutive game. 6 years later it was an opposing pitcher stealing the headlines as Sandy Koufax struck out 16 Phillies in the Dodgers’ victory. 1970 saw a better, and more unique, game when Tony Taylor hit a game winning inside the park homerun against the Expos. 20 years later was a night of mixed emotions as nearly 57,000 fans attended the ceremony to retire Mike Schmidt’s number at the Vet.    

The Phillies are currently 26-21 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 41-52-0 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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