Sunday, May 8, 2016

Phillies Even Series With Comeback Win

GAME RECAP: Phils Catch Fish 4-3

Anything can happen when you put the ball in play. The Phillies found that out in the eighth inning on Saturday on Maikel Franco's routine grounder to third that should have resulted in an inning-ending double play. But first baseman Chris Johnson, who switched from third to first in the inning, dropped the ball, allowing the decisive run to score in Philadelphia's 4-3 comeback win over the Marlins at Marlins Park. Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez each slapped RBI singles to pull the Phillies even in the eighth. Herrera eventually scored the go-ahead run on Franco's grounder. Miami had its four-game winning streak snapped, and the Phillies won for the first time in four games. "I just dropped it," Johnson said. "I didn't go look at it. I don't need to go look at it. Just messed up. Lost the game for us." The Marlins, behind Tom Koehler's strong, seven-innings start, led 3-1 heading into the eighth. Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour each homered, and Ozuna added an RBI single off Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. Miami used three relievers in the eighth. Kyle Barraclough, who hadn't allowed a run in 10 2/3 innings, was charged with two runs on Herrera's and Hernandez's singles off Craig Breslow. Bryan Morris got the groundball he was looking for, but the error by Johnson capped a three-run Phillies frame. "That was a break," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "But it's good to get a win, especially against these guys. They've got a real good team, and that's the best I've seen Koehler. They say most close games are lost by one team, not necessarily won by the other. I think it was a little of both, but that really helped us."

  • Pinch-hitter Andres Blanco worked a double off Barraclough after a 12-pitch at-bat to start an eighth-inning rally that erased a 3-1 deficit and put the Phillies in front, 4-3. Blanco came back from an 0-2 count to slap his two-bagger down the right-field line. It also helped get Barraclough out of the game. The Phils greeted Breslow with back-to-back RBI singles from Herrera and Hernandez. The Phils then took the lead when the Marlins failed to turn a double play. Johnson, who started the game at third base, dropped a routine throw to first, and Herrera scored the go-ahead run. "It's a lot of responsibility, and I make sure I [give] everything I can," Blanco said of his role as a pinch-hitter. "I got lucky. A lot of foul balls on good pitches. He threw a lot of good ones, and I was about to throw my bat to foul it off and stay alive."
  • Phillies right fielder Peter Bourjos fired a strike to catcher Carlos Ruiz to nail Derek Dietrich at the plate to end the fifth inning and keep Miami's lead at 2-1. Dietrich was attempting to score from second on an Adeiny Hechavarria single, but Bourjos' throw was there in plenty of time for Ruiz to put a tag on Dietrich, who collided with the Phillies' catcher. Momentarily dazed, Ruiz remained in the game. "He's fine, he's a tough guy," Mackanin said.
Aaron Nola takes the mound for the Phillies on Mother's Day. Nola brings a 2-2 record and a 2.93 ERA into Sunday's series finale at 1:10 PM ET. He has not given up a run over his past two seven-inning starts.


Blanco Sparks Rally – Four runs were not good enough on Friday, but they proved to be the magic number a night later. The Phillies bounced back from a 6-4 loss to the Marlins to even the series on Saturday with a 4-3 win. Pinch-hitter Andres Blanco worked a 12-pitch at-bat against Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough that culminated in a double that opened the door for a three-run eighth-inning as the Phils overcame a 3-1 deficit. Blanco got behind in the count 0-2 before slapping a hit down the right-field line. Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez followed with back-to-back RBI singles to tie the game. The Phillies took the lead when the Marlins could not complete a double play on a routine throw to first base that was dropped by Chris Johnson, who started the game at third. Herrera was able to score the go-ahead run. "We'll take it," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "There's our four runs." Blanco said he was just happy to contribute coming off the bench. "I just go out there and give the best I can for me and for the team," said Blanco, who knew his feisty at-bat fired up the club. "Any time you're battling and have a good at-bat, you pass it [on]. Everybody gets the message and wants to do it, too. Everybody wants to keep it going and finally get the run that we really needed. "Fortunately, [the winning run] was an error, but it counts. Whatever way it takes to score a run, I'm happy." Blanco said he took a moment to reassure himself in between the long plate appearance. "'Don't give up, keep battling,'" Blanco said. "'See it, fight. Just hit it [and] put the ball in play.'" It was a much-needed effort for a team looking to snap a three-game skid. The Phils had dropped four of their last five games and needed the lift. "To win this game tonight the way the guys battled back and the way the pitching kept us in the game was really nice to see," Mackanin said.

Some Things To Work On – Jeremy Hellickson knows he has some things to work on. The Phillies' right-hander has surrendered five homers over his last two outings, including two in Saturday's 4-3 comeback victory over the Marlins. It marked the third start in Hellickson's last four that he yielded multiple homers. He got the no-decision and remains 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA. Hellickson was tagged for solo homers by Marcell Ozuna in the second inning and Justin Bour in the fourth. But the Phillies were able to battle back with a three-run eighth inning to overcome the shaky start. "It definitely could have been a lot worse," Hellickson said. True, but Hellickson can't continue to dig himself into trouble. He threw 104 pitches (61 strikes) and lasted only 5 1/3 innings. The Marlins collected eight hits and three runs. Hellickson struck out four and walked one. "Just working way too hard there the first few innings," Hellickson said. "I think I threw maybe 30 pitches that first inning. I only had one 1-2-3 inning. I get into the sixth inning, I'm at 90-95 pitches, and your stuff kind of falls off a little bit." Hellickson wasn't in command early, falling behind too many hitters, which led to the mounting pitch count. It utimately took its toll. "When I'm getting ahead, I'm making bad two-strike pitches," Hellickson said. "And then I'm not getting ahead the other times. I've just got to get some easy outs, and that starts with throwing some first-pitch strikes and just getting ahead of guys."

Balance Behind The Plate – As the Phillies continues looking for ways to score runs, Carlos Ruiz remains a viable option. The 37-year-old lifetime .267 hitter is enjoying a good season, with his shoulder healthy once again following surgery in 2014. But the dilemma persists for manager Pete Mackanin, who must balance a juggling act with Ruiz and Cameron Rupp, the organization's up-and-coming catcher. "I believe he's swinging the bat well because he's not overworked," Mackanin said of Ruiz, who entered the weekend series hitting .311 with three homers in 45 at-bats. "I'm giving Rupp every opportunity. Rupp's been swinging the bat pretty well. He hasn't produced a lot of runs, but he still gives you a pretty good at-bat most of the time." And that's where Mackanin must find a happy medium. Ruiz is bouncing back from posting a .211 average in just 86 games in 2015. "I don't want to jump on Chooch's bandwagon right now and say that he's going to provide more offense, because if you catch him three or four days in a row, it wears and tears on your body," Mackanin said. "That position beats you up." Ruiz could be in his final season with the Phillies. With a $4.5 million option for 2017, it is likely the club will instead opt for the $500,000 buyout. "We're looking towards the future here," Mackanin said. "[At the same time], I'd like to add to the offense. If Chooch were giving us quality at-bats every time he plays, I might lean to him more." Ruiz continues to add to his value with outstanding defense. "One thing about Chooch, you can never question his work ethic," Mackanin said. "He's not a guy that worries about his offense. He takes his defense real seriously. That's a bonus. That's a defensive position. "He's a quality player. I just want to keep him healthy, because it is a long season. But I'd also like to get offense from anywhere I can."

Today In Phils History – Long after Dan Brouthers retired (he was born on this day in 1858), George McQuillan made his major league debut in 1907 allowing no runs in relief. This would be the beginning of a 24 straight scoreless innings streak to start his career, a record that stood for over 100 years. Things weren’t always so smooth on this day as in 1918, Phillies players, down by one run to New York, mobbed the field following Irish Meusel being called out at home plate in the 9th inning by Umpire Charley Moran who had to be protected by the two team managers. The game on this day in 1939 had a very different outcome as Chuck Klein was called to pinch hit with the bases loaded I the 8th inning. He would triple and then score the winning run. All of these games are part of the history of the team and on this day two years ago the Phillies lost to the Blue Jays in the 20,000th game in team history joining only three other clubs (Cubs, Braves, and Giants) that have reached that benchmark.

The Phillies are currently 17-14 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 38-50-0 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment