Sunday, June 5, 2016

Brewers Bounce Back Against Phillies

GAME RECAP: Crew Cramps Phils 6-3

Domingo Santana led off the eighth inning with a tiebreaking home run and Scooter Gennett delivered insurance in the ninth, as the Brewers overcame an early deficit to beat the Phillies, 6-3, on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. Playing his second game back from a two-week stint on the disabled list for a sore right shoulder, Santana finished 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and his first home run since May 1. The go-ahead homer came against Phillies reliever Hector Neris, who had just entered a 3-3 tie. "He's an offensive player, for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Santana, "and he's obviously got some slug in his offense, too. He does make a difference, certainly." Jonathan Villar and Jonathan Lucroy each had three hits for the Brewers, including Villar leading off the game with a home run, his third long ball in as many games in this series. But the Phillies pushed ahead with two home runs off Brewers starter Junior Guerra during a three-run second inning before the Brewers mounted their comeback, tying it with a run each in the fourth and fifth against starter Jeremy Hellickson. Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg and Jeremy Jeffress pitched the final three innings for Milwaukee on 30 total pitches, Smith earning the win in his second outing off the disabled list and Jeffress his 15th save in 16 chances. The Brewers have won eight of their last 12 games overall, and 11 of their last 13 games in Philadelphia.

  • For the first time this season, the Phillies hit two home runs in the same inning. Tommy Joseph led off the second with a blast to center field. Tyler Goeddel followed with a triple, and then Cesar Hernandez went yard. The long ball accounted for all three Phillies runs. For Hernandez, it was his first home run in 501 at-bats -- since May 30, 2015. Joseph, meanwhile, has four since being called up. The Phillies' 45 home runs on the season are the second-fewest in baseball, but they're still 23 more than what the last-place Braves have. "After that second inning, I thought we were going to have a good day offensively," manager Pete Mackanin said. "Boy, I couldn't believe Cesar hit that home run to dead center. That's why I thought we were going to be in for a good day. The ball was really carrying."
  • Neris, for the second time in four appearances, allowed the go-ahead run. He entered a tie game in the eighth, but Santana almost immediately changed the score, homering to lead off the inning and giving the Brewers a 4-3 lead. Neris had pitched two scoreless innings since allowing three runs to the Nationals on Monday, though he walked two in Friday's game. He's now allowed as many runs in his last four games as he had in 26 prior, raising his season ERA to 2.27. "He just doesn't look the same," Mackanin said. "He looks a little bit more tentative. I don't know why that is. Hitters go through slumps and so do pitchers at times. I'm not worried about him; I just wonder why he's taking more time between pitches."
Aaron Nola (4-4, 2.88) starts for the Phillies in the series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET. Last time he faced the Brewers, Nola went seven innings, allowing just one run and striking out seven. While that ranks near the top of his outings this season, Nola has been remarkably consistent, going at least six innings in 10 of his 11 starts and recording a quality start in nine of them.


Hernandez Homers – One year ago Saturday, Cesar Hernandez might still have been celebrating the last home run he hit. It came on May 30, 2015 -- a shot to right. Five hundred and one at-bats later, Hernandez lined a 3-1 slider from the Brewers' Junior Guerra right over the 401 sign in center field in the second inning of the Phillies' 6-3 loss. "Boy, I couldn't believe Cesar hit that homer to dead center," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He said he was going to faint," Hernandez said, through a translator, of Mackanin. Hernandez's 3-for-4 effort on Saturday was him reaping the rewards of hard work before the first pitch is thrown. Entering Saturday's game, Hernandez's average was at its lowest point since April 22. It had fallen to .244 as he'd been mired in a May-long slump. Since May began, Hernandez has hit .222 with only four extra-base hits. "A .250 singles hitter is not what you are," Mackanin told Hernandez. "You're a better hitter than that." "I didn't mean for him to hit a home run to dead center," Mackanin said. "But I was glad to see it." Hernandez had been working on being more selective and getting on top of the ball when he did make contact. Mackanin didn't complain about Hernandez getting under the ball he hit over the center-field fence, though. "I don't want to see him start trying to hit home runs," Mackanin said. "But it was good to see him get three hits." Mackanin told Hernandez he needed to get better at identifying strikes. Mackanin also said he needed to do better with two strikes. When faced with a two-strike count this season, Hernandez is hitting .145, with an OPS of just .397. Hernandez twice found himself in hitters' counts on Saturday, working 3-1 counts before his home run and his ninth-inning single. "Things were not working well for me," Hernandez said. "But I've been trying really hard, and that's my approach. I just want to get better."

Will Howard See Some Action? – Tommy Joseph is 5-for-16 with a home run since Pete Mackanin said he was going to sit Ryan Howard for "three or four days." On the fourth day, Mackanin continued to praise Joseph but said Howard will be re-inserted into the lineup for the Cubs series that begins on Monday. Joseph has started each of the last four games, as Mackanin said would be the case. After going 0-for-4 the first night, he's recorded hits in his last three games, including a home run in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Brewers. Since being called up, Joseph is 15-for-53 (.283) with four home runs. "He looks like he belongs here," Mackanin said of Joseph. But the 5-for-16 run over the last four games wasn't enough to earn Joseph the role permanently. He will start again Sunday, before giving way to Howard. His run could extend one more game, though, as lefty Jon Lester is slated to start Monday for the Cubs.

Goeddel Embracing Shift – The Phillies have gone through a bit of an outfield shakeup over the last week. It has left those still in the mix settling into new roles. Philadelphia activated Cody Asche from the disabled list and acquired Jimmy Paredes from the Blue Jays. Asche had been sidelined with an oblique injury since the beginning of Spring Training. To make room, Philadelphia designated utility man Emmanuel Burriss and outfielder David Lough for assignment. Burriss cleared waivers Saturday and was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Tyler Goeddel had settled into a starting role in left field, but manager Pete Mackanin said Thursday that Asche will strictly be a left fielder. Since Asche returned, Goeddel said he's been working exclusively in right field, where he's played sparingly this season. He made only his second start of 2016 in right on Saturday against the Brewers. "I'm comfortable [in right]," Goeddel said. "[Third-base coach and outfield instructor] Juan Samuel told me to start taking everything out there, so I've been doing that." Goeddel played five Spring Training games in right. He also played 25 games there with Double-A Montgomery during his time with the Rays last season after being converted from a third baseman into an outfielder. His strong arm should play well in right. Expect Goeddel to split time between the corner outfield spots going forward. The additions of Asche and Paredes should only continue to cut into Peter Bourjos' playing time. The speedy outfielder hasn't started in five games. As Mackanin searches for offense, Bourjos' .196 average has begun to outweigh his defense and baserunning ability. Goeddel hit .288/.342/.452 in May, raising his batting average from .143 at the start of the month to .255 by the end. While he may have played himself into a starting role, Goeddel expects Mackanin to roll with the hot hand. "Whoever's hitting is probably going to play," Goeddel said. "Hopefully, I'll continue to play well and stick out there."

Today In Phils History – Today is primarily about pitchers with Grover Cleveland Alexander throwing a 1 hitter against St. Louis in 1915 (with Beals Becker in the outfield whom the Phillies acquired on this day in 1913). In 1919, the Phillies lost a former pitcher, John McClosky, when he, along with nearly 100 of his coworkers, perished in a mine explosion near Wilkes-Barre, PA. Nearly 30 year later, in 1948, Richie Ashburn ties the rookie record by recording a hit in his 23rd consecutive game. And, finally, be begin how we started. This time it is Steve Carlton tossing a 1 hitter against the Astros in 1979.

The Phillies are currently 27-29 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 53-49-1 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