Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Phillies Edge Indians In Repeat Performance

GAME RECAP: Cardinals Crush Phillies 10-3

A three-run homer by Adam Wainwright ignited a power surge at Busch Stadium, which didn't end until the Cardinals blasted the five home runs off Phillies pitching en route to a 10-3 victory that snapped Philadelphia's winning streak at six. The Phillies actually led early in this one, peppering Wainwright for three runs on three third-inning hits. But Wainwright erased the deficit himself the next inning when he sent a Jeremy Hellickson fastball into Busch Stadium's Big Mac Land, giving the Cardinals' ace his second consecutive three-RBI game. "Right now, it's all about wins for me," Wainwright (2-3) said. "We have to win the game when I take the mound until I get 100 percent back ready to rock and roll like I'm going to. That seemingly woke us up a bit." The Cardinals, who entered the day ranked third in the Majors with 35 home runs, weren't done depositing balls into the seats either. Matt Adams and Aledmys Diaz took Hellickson deep in a three-pitch span to give the Cardinals their first set of back-to-back homers on the night. Yes, there would be another. Those came in the seventh when Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk took reliever Brett Oberholtzer deep. "We haven't had one of those games in a while," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "They're bound to happen. Everybody has them."

  • Freddy Galvis' single in the third scored Hellickson and Peter Bourjos to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Maikel Franco followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Odubel Herrera to extend the lead. Galvis is hitting .306 (11-for-36) in nine career games at Busch Stadium with 6 RBI. "We'd like to have more offense obviously," Mackanin said. "Hopefully we're going to get better as the season goes on. … Freddy came up with a big hit. We just need to put them together."
  • "He just didn't make good pitches. He made too many mistakes. You make too many, you're not going to get away with them. … I know Wainwright's a good hitter for a pitcher, but the ball he hit out was right down the middle." -- Mackanin on Hellickson's struggles.
RHP Aaron Nola (1-2, 3.55 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the Cardinals as the teams play the second of a four-game series Tuesday at 8:15 EST. Nola is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his last two starts. He has allowed six hits and struck out 14 during that span.


Another Off Night – Two streaks for the Phillies came to an unceremonious end Monday night: their six-game winning streak and Jeremy Hellickson's road dominance. After being staked to an early 3-0 lead, Hellickson was victimized by a familiar nemesis. The right-hander gave up three home runs, including a three-run blast from pitching counterpart Adam Wainwright, in a 10-3 loss to the Cardinals. "Just couldn't find the zone," Hellickson said. "I didn't throw too many first-pitch strikes and I couldn't get myself back into counts with off-speed. Just a lot of balls up. A lot of balls early in the count." Hellickson (2-2) entered the game with a 2-0 road record this season. Through his first three road starts, he had a 0.96 ERA and had held opponents to a .127 batting average. According to Elias, since earned runs started being kept in 1912, the only other Phillies pitcher to have an ERA and an opponent's average that low through his first three road starts was Dick Ruthven (0.76 ERA, .127 BA) in 1979. Wainwright changed that with a 408-foot home run into the upper deck in left field, which erased the Phillies lead. "Games like this happen," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He just didn't make good pitches. He made too many mistakes. You make too many, you're not going to get away with them. You make one or two sometimes you get away with them, sometimes you don't. He didn't get away with them. "I know Wainwright's a good hitter for a pitcher, but the ball he hit out was right down the middle." Going to a 3-1 count against Wainwright put Hellickson at a disadvantage. "I fell behind," Hellickson said. "I don't want to walk the pitcher. I just got to get ahead. I think that was the story in general. Just beside the first inning I fell behind way too many guys, got too many three-ball counts, too many walks." Matt Adams and Aledmys Diaz led off the sixth with back-to-back homers to give the Cardinals a 5-3 lead. "One curveball I think was up," Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz said. "That curveball was a little different than the first three innings, a little sharp, he hung that one. The next one was a changeup. Nothing you can do about that, when you leave the pitch up, you're in trouble." Hellickson's night ended two batters later after a Randal Grichuk pinch-hit single. Grichuk, who entered the game on a 0-for-20 slide, scored on a Stephen Piscotty single off of Brett Oberholtzer. The three Cardinals home runs pushed Hellickson's season total to 7 in 26 1/3 innings. So far this season, 19.4 percent of the fly balls Hellickson has given up have left the park. The Phillies winning streak ended at a season-long six games. The streak was their longest since a seven-game winning streak from Sept. 5-12, 2012. "We haven't had one of those games in a while," Mackanin said. "They're bound to happen. Everybody has them."

Is This Really happening? – For now, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin isn't getting tired of being asked repeatedly whether his surging club is for real. "Every time we play somebody, I get the same question, but it's a good question because of course we do," Mackanin said. "We played the Mets, we played them well. We just got done sweeping the Nationals and that was one of those teams where we wanted to gauge how good we were. "Cleveland has got some pretty good hitters over there. At least through the first 25 games, we've held our own against contenders. I choose to believe that we'll be competitive the rest of the year because of our pitching and defense." The Phillies figure to face another test in their four-game series at St. Louis. The Cardinals have been to the postseason for five straight seasons and won five of seven from Philadelphia last season. But this is not the same club as the 2015 Phillies. "It is quite a different from last year when we were out of so many games so early and climbing out of a hole," Mackanin said. "And I don't want to say misusing the bullpen, but trying to piece together a full game to cover innings. Now we've got a little bit of a plan." That plan includes excellent pitching and stellar defense. The Phillies entered Monday's game with a 15-10 record and winner of their last six games despite scoring just 82 runs, which according to Elias ties the team with the 2012 Nationals for the fewest runs scored in the expansion era by a team that won at least 15 of its first 25 games. "The players should feel proud of what they've done so far this season, no matter what happens down the road," Mackanin said. "The biggest thing for me was how we reacted after going 0-4 at the beginning of the season. What have we gone 15-6 since then? It's a good feeling."

Phils Name Honorary Bat Girl – Linda Duaime is the winner of the 2016 Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Phillies. The contest recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to supporting the fight against the disease. Duaime was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August of 2014. Duaime's treatment started in September 2014 and included two types of chemotherapy as well as radiation, ending in late Spring 2015. She's been positive throughout her fight, even when two bouts with blood clots pushed back her final surgery. Duaime's diagnosis has influenced others to be checked and a breast cancer fundraiser in her honor raised enough money so she could donate back to her surgeon's support foundation for other breast cancer patients. The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.

Today In Phils History – Some days there a numerous events and games that bear mentioning while other days, like today, have little to offer those interested in the history of the franchise. In 1979 Mike Schmidt hit a home run off Rick Sutcliffe. He would go on to hit the team’s next seven homeruns. 1994 saw another oddity as Andy Carter was ejected from his Major League debut after hitting 2 of the first 3 batters he faced.

The Phillies are currently 15-11 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 54-40-0 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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