Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Phillies Come Back In 9th Against Diamondbacks

GAME RECAP: Phils Stun D-Backs 4-3

The Phillies came from behind to beat the D-backs, 4-3, on Tuesday night at Chase Field, striking for a pair of runs in the ninth inning to win consecutive games for the first time since May 17-18 and clinch their first series victory since then as well. "It's been May since we've done it, I think, and it was good to win, obviously," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "[Starter Jerad] Eickhoff just kept pitching himself in and out of trouble all day and he ended up with a pretty good outing." D-backs closer Brad Ziegler (2-3) blew just his second save opportunity of the year -- both coming in his last three appearances. Pinch-hitter Jimmy Paredes hit a leadoff double, then scored on a single by Andres Blanco. Veteran first baseman Ryan Howard drew a bases-loaded walk with one out for Philadelphia's go-ahead run against Ziegler, his old college teammate from Missouri State University. "I'm sure [Howard] would have preferred to hit a grand slam to win the game, but I'm sure he's happy with getting that run across with a walk," Mackanin said. "He battled." Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco went 2-for-5 with a homer and reliever Hector Neris (2-3) picked up the win. Jeanmar Gomez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 21st save. D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb went 2-for-3, reaching base three times. He gave Arizona a 3-2 lead in the seventh with his team-best 16th homer, after Yasmany Tomas had tied the game the previous inning with a solo blast of his own. Arizona starter Zack Greinke exited with left oblique tightness prior to the third inning. The D-backs' bullpen limited the Phillies to one run over the next six innings until Ziegler's mishaps in the ninth. The D-backs lost their fourth in a row. "It's definitely frustrating, we don't like to lose games at all, period," said Ziegler, whose team fell to 13-27 at home. "We get the idea that we should be better at home than we are and it's tough to explain. Tonight, guys put us in a good position to win, especially with Zack going down early."

  • Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff helped his own cause with a single to right field that scored Freddy Galvis in the top of the second inning to give his team a temporary 1-0 lead. The D-backs answered in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 1. The RBI was the third of the season for Eickhoff.
  • Howard's seven-pitch walk with the bases loaded proved to be the difference in the game. The veteran fell behind 1-2 against Ziegler but didn't bite on the reliever's changeups and sinkers out of the zone. "He's been battling and taking better at-bats lately," Blanco said of Howard. "It was not a hit but it counts as a big at-bat."
  • "It reminded me of the way we played for the first two months of the season. We stayed in the game and scratched and clawed to just eke out a win. That's the way we did it for two months." - said Mackanin.
  • Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera is among NL leaders in games, four-hit games, singles, infield hits and outfield assists.
  • Philadelphia's Peter Bourjos continues to be one of the hottest hitters in baseball, hitting .500 with three doubles, two two triples and six RBIs in his previous 15 games entering play Tuesday.
  • Bradley is 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA through eight starts. He was 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA in eight starts last season.

D-backs' starter Archie Bradley will establish a career-high in starts when he takes the mound for the ninth time in the series finale against the Phillies on Wednesday at Chase Field. The Arizona right-hander has been on a roll lately, sporting a 0.82 ERA over his last two outings, including six scoreless innings against the Phillies on June 19. He struck out five in the 85-pitch outing. The Phillies will counter with Zach Eflin, who has a 1.54 ERA in two starts since allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in his big league debut June 14. Eflin allowed two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings against Bradley and the D-backs. He struck out three and walked one batter in the 5-1 loss.


Potential On Display – There are games when Phillies' third baseman Maikel Franco shows off his potential. There are others when he shows his age. On Tuesday, the 23-year-old did both, picking up a pair of hits -- including a crucial home run -- and striking out twice in his team's 4-3 victory against the D-backs to clinch the series win. Franco, who is hitting .246 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs, finished 2-for-5. "I'm just trying to get better every day and help my team," Franco said in Spanish. "I'm working on controlling my excitement at home plate and I feel like I'm getting better in that area." It was quite a night for the young infielder. He flied out to center on the first pitch he saw from D-backs starter Zack Greinke in the first inning and later hit a double on the second pitch from reliever Randall Delgado in the third. He also hit a solo home run on the fifth pitch against Delgado in the fifth inning to put the Phillies ahead, 2-1. "He's got a lot of natural ability, obviously," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's an aggressive hitter and I love aggressive hitters, but he's a little bit overly aggressive. I think he needs to be a smarter hitter. I'd rather take an aggressive hitter and throttle him back than a guy who is not aggressive and try to get him to be aggressive. That's a great situation to be in." Franco, who leads the team in home runs, RBIs and extra-base hits, struck out swinging on four pitches for the final out of the top of the seventh inning. He worked the count full before striking out with the bases loaded and the game tied at 3 on a ball way outside of the strike zone in the ninth. "He's got a chance to be a real good hitter and hit for power," Mackanin said. "He's got a lot to learn but it's only his first full year in the big leagues. He's going through a learning period." Franco, who made his big league debut in 2014, hit .280 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs in 2015. He posted a .497 slugging-percentage and an .840 OPS last season. "I feel like I had good game because we won," Franco said. "I helped my team win and winning is the most important thing." 

Representing The Phillies – A pair of teammates at Double-A Reading will represent the Phillies at the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 10 at Petco Park in San Diego. Outfielder Dylan Cozens will suit up for the U.S. roster and right-handed pitcher Ricardo Pinto will do the same for the World team. Pinto and Cozens are the Phillies' Nos. 10 and 22 rated prospects by "A friend of mine, Pat Kelly, managed [Cozens] in Puerto Rico this past winter and he sent me a text and told me to pay attention to him," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He said, 'Pete, I don't know if you know this guy Cozens, but he's going to be a stud.' I kind of paid attention to the point where I knew he was in Minor League camp and I requested him when we needed an extra outfielder for a [Spring Training] game just to see him." Mackanin estimates 6-foot-6, 235-pound Cozens hit about 10 home runs during batting practice in Port Charlotte, Fla, that day. The outfielder's power has been on display all season. Cozens hit his 20th home run of the season Monday and has driven in 60 runs for the Fightin Phils. He's also struck out 99 times. "He's really a physical specimen and I know he's got a high ceiling," Mackanin said. Pinto pitched across two levels of Class A ball in 2015 and won the organization's Minor League pitcher of the year honors. He's 3-3 with a 4.32 ERA in 85 1/3 innings for Reading this season. He's struck out 59 and walked 24. Major League Baseball, in conjunction with, Baseball America and the 30 Major League Clubs, selected the 25 players on each team. Each Major League organization is represented and players from all full-season Minor Leagues were eligible to be selected.

Flashes Of Brilliance – The Phillies have displayed flashes of dominance at times on the mound this season. They just haven't shown it enough times. On Monday, Phillies' pitchers combined to throw their Major League leading ninth shutout of the season in the 8-0 victory against the D-backs at Chase Field. They threw seven shutouts during the entire 2015 season. "For the first six or seven weeks of the season, after our 0-4 start, our pitching was just fantastic. Everybody did their job and made their pitches and for whatever reason, our pitching was really outstanding," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "When they are good, they are good. The whole name of the game is consistency. Over 162 games, the best teams end up on top because they have their ups and downs, but over the long haul, the better teams play better, hit better and pitch better." What's more, the nine shutouts are the club's most through their its 78 games since 2011 when the staff had nine shutouts in the first 67 games. That season, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt threw 21 shutouts and the Phillies won a franchise-record 102 games.

Today In Phils History – Fred Fitzsimmons had a lackluster managerial stint with the Phillies going 105-181-2 which is why he was replaced with pitcher/outfielder Ben Chapman on this day in 1945. 11 years later, on the same day that the Phillies signed minor league free agent Art Mahaffey, the Dodgers hit three straight homeruns in the bottom of the 9th to walk off against the Phillies. 2 years later former Phillie, and St. Louis left fielder, Del Ennis recorded outfield assists on two consecutive plays throwing out 2 advancing baserunners at third base. 2 years later, in 1960, the Phillies tie an MLB record by striking out 24 times in a double header. The following season, Willie Mays hits a walk off homerun in the 10th for his 3rd homerun of the game (manager Gene Mauch included several pitchers in the lineup at other positions to hid the identity of Mays’ victim). 10 years later, Tom Seaver records 13 strikeouts while shutting out the Phillies with Willie Montanez being Seaver’s 1000th career victim. In 1986, Juan Samuel hits his 1st career grand slam in the top of the 9th in an 8-7 win over the Cardinals. The following season, Steve Bedrosian (the eventual Cy Young winner for that season) recorded his 12th consecutive save, surpassing Sparky Lyle’s MLB record. In 2003, Jose Mesa secured his 17th save of the season and his 105th for the Phillies setting a new franchise record. And, finally, happy birthday to Sherry Magee who was born on this day in 1904.   

The Phillies are currently 34-45 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 49-57-2 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.

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