Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Phillies Outslugged by Miggy And The Tigers

GAME RECAP: Tigers Tag Phillies 5-4

On a night when the Tigers and Phillies combined for six solo home runs, two of them from Miguel Cabrera, Detroit pulled ahead on a Victor Martinez seventh-inning single that scored Cabrera for a 5-4 victory Monday at Comerica Park. The Tigers' seventh win in eight games moved them back to .500 (22-22) for the first time since May 6. Cabrera's second two-homer game in four days included an opposite-field loft in the third inning and a drive to left in the fifth, both of which tied the game. Both came off Phillies starter Vince Velasquez, who gave up as many home runs in four-plus innings (three) as he had all season entering the night. "He's a great pitcher," said J.D. Martinez, who went back-to-back with Cabrera in the fifth. "I think it was, in a way, bad timing for him, because he came in here, we're hitting, and we just faced [the Rays' Chris] Archer and [Matt] Andriese. We've faced a lot of similar pitchers to him. So I think it was just a rough time for him to come in here." Velasquez said he did not do a good job of using his secondary pitches, which allowed Tigers hitters to take him deep. He also said he needed to challenge hitters inside more effectively. "You can't pitch around it, even if your secondary pitches aren't working," Velasquez said. "You can use it to protect your fastball, but you've got to pitch inside to challenge hitters." Cabrera's double to right-center off Colton Murray (0-1) in the seventh stayed in the park, but put him in scoring position for Martinez, who lined a single into right field. Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph homered for Philadelphia, the latter to tie the game at 4.

  • Franco hadn't homered in his previous 11 games, but his homer to lead off the fourth off Tigers starter Mike Pelfrey was a no-doubter to left-center, giving him eight home runs on the season. Franco also singled in the first inning.
  • Odubel Herrera led off the game with a 14-pitch at-bat against Mike Pelfrey, including nine foul balls, before lacing a ground ball through the middle for a single. A double play erased Herrera two pitches later, but the hit set the tone on a night when Herrera had three hits off Pelfrey, including an RBI single in the third inning and a liner to center in the fifth. Despite the big night at the plate, Herrera was benched after he failed to run out a ground ball back to the pitcher in the seventh inning. "He didn't run," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "One of the ingredients to our success, to this point, is the fact that these guys play with energy, they play hard. We're training them, basically, to play the game the right way, and not running is not the right way."
  • The Phillies challenged an inning-ending double play in the eighth, arguing Freddy Galvis beat shortstop Jose Iglesias' throw to first. After further review, Galvis' foot hit the bag ahead of Cabrera getting the ball at first. The call was overturned, extending the inning, but Mark Lowe struck out Tyler Goeddel to end the threat.
  • The Phillies signed Cuban outfielder Osmel Aguila to a Minor League contract. He has reported to extended Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla. Aguila had a .280 batting average and 33 home runs during six seasons in Cuba.
  • Cabrera's double was the 500th of his career, making him the 62nd Major League player to reach the mark. Monday was also his 20th career game going 3-for-3 or better with a home run. Only Barry Bonds (23) and Lou Gehrig (21) have more such games in Major League history.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 3.99 ERA) looks for his third straight win when he takes the mound Tuesday night at Comerica Park in a 7:10 p.m. ET start. The former Tampa Bay Rays hurler owns a 1.86 ERA in five career starts against Detroit.


Lesson Learned – Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera led off Monday's game against the Tigers with a 14-pitch at-bat against Mike Pelfrey, which ended with a base hit. He went on to get hits in his next two trips to the plate, starting his night 3-for-3. But Herrera's solid start to the night turned sour when he didn't hustle down the line on a ground ball hit back to the pitcher in the seventh inning. Manager Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from the game, and the Phillies went on to lose, 5-4. Mackanin was willing to make a sacrifice to send a message to his team. "One of the ingredients to our success, to this point, is the fact that these guys play with energy, they play hard," Mackanin said. "We're training them, basically, to play the game the right way, and not running is not the right way. It's more important for me to set that tone than to take our best hitter out of the lineup." Mackanin said Herrera knew right away he had made a mistake. As he was approaching Herrera, veteran Ryan Howard was walking up to him to send him the same message. "You've got to keep going. I know it's not the at-bat he wanted, or whatever, but look at me, I'm still grinding," Howard said. "You never know on a ball like that, he might mess up because you're running hard." Mackanin said Herrera has had a bit of an issue with similar situations throughout the season. "I've seen it in the past, and it's been trickling in, and I just didn't like it, and I just made the decision," the manager said. Herrera will be in Tuesday's starting lineup, Mackanin said.

Vying For Playing Time – Tommy Joseph helped his case for the Phillies' starting first-base job on Monday night. The rookie went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a double in the Phillies' 5-4 loss to the Tigers. Joseph has been splitting time with Ryan Howard since being called up earlier this month. With the Phils at Comerica Park for an Interleague series, Joseph got the nod at first base Monday, while Howard started at designated hitter. That is the expected lineup throughout the three-game series. Joseph hit a game-tying shot to left field in the sixth inning off Tigers starter Mike Pelfrey. Howard went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. The veteran slugger is now hitting .156 on the season. Manager Pete Mackanin said he is going to look at the first-base position one week at a time, but he said it is possible that Joseph may earn the starting job at some point in the future. "At some point, it may come to that, but I wouldn't say it's imminent," Mackanin said. The 24-year-old said he's not focused on getting the starting role, but just wants to make an impact as he takes the opportunity to start his Major League career. "Any time you get the opportunity to play, you're also expected to produce," Joseph said. "Especially with as well as this ballclub had been playing when I got called up. There's no time to mess around, and you can see it with everybody on this team. Everybody wants to win. I'm just trying to follow that lead." Joseph said it was a good feeling to hit his home run in the sixth following the Tigers' three-homer fifth inning. "Anything I can do to contribute is great," Joseph said. "It was just a 2-2 slider that stayed in the middle of the plate."

Today In Phils History – The Phillies seemed to have been on the wrong side of history on this day as they first made baseball history when they lost the first night game in the major leagues to the Reds in 1935. Dodger Pee Wee Reese set an NL record by drawing walk in his ninth straight game in 1952. And, finally, Mariano Rivera made his last regular season appearance against the Phillies on this day in 2009 when he threw a scoreless 19th inning against them at Yankees Stadium… a legend in his own right, he was also the last player the Phillies would ever face who wore the number 42. On the flip side of franchise history is the fact that Phillies stalwart, Pat “The Bat” Burrell made his debut with the team on this day in 2000.  

The Phillies are currently 25-20 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 40-61-0 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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