Monday, June 20, 2016

Phillies Offense Still MIA

GAME RECAP: D-Backs Down Phils 5-1 

Archie Bradley allowed just one unearned run over six innings to pick up his first win since May 29 as the D-backs beat the Phillies, 5-1, on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Arizona will go for the sweep of the four-game series Monday. "The guys are really bearing down and playing," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We're getting good starting pitching, which has been the key for us all year. It makes our bullpen a ton better, the hitters are comfortable, they can settle in and have good at-bats and they get off the field quickly. So everything is clicking right now." Bradley helped his own cause in the third when his sacrifice fly gave the D-backs a 1-0 lead. Jake Lamb's two-out double in the sixth scored Paul Goldschmidt and Arizona added a run in the seventh on Michael Bourn's RBI single. Phil Gosselin tripled in the ninth and scored on a wild pitch, then Lamb tripled home Goldschmidt to pad the D-backs' lead. The Phillies got a quality outing from Zach Eflin, but their offense once again struggled to score. They were able to push across a run in the sixth when they capitalized on a Nick Ahmed error, which prolonged the inning, and allowed Andres Blanco to score on Tommy Joseph's ground-ball double play. "Not a whole lot to be happy about except for Eflin," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "It was a good confidence booster for him, as well as the team. We were in the game until the ninth inning, so that's a step in the right direction. However, the three hits, once again is our bane."

  • Surely if Eflin had the choice, he'd erase his MLB debut from the history books. Five days ago, Eflin didn't make it out of the third inning against the Blue Jays and allowed eight earned runs. He entered his first start at Citizens Bank Park with a 27.00 ERA. But the 22-year-old right-hander made a much better impression on the home crowd, going 5 ⅔ innings and allowing just two D-backs runs. "To a certain extent," Eflin said when asked if he felt the need to prove himself. "I go out there every outing looking to dominate the game. It's just fun to go out there and throw in front of 40,000. You've gotta go out there with a clear mind and learn from every outing." Mackanin lifted him after 88 pitches with two outs and two runners on in the sixth, opting to let David Hernandez get out of the jam. "We wanted him out on a positive note," Mackanin said. "I didn't want him to throw over 100 pitches and maybe get burned the next inning, or that inning. He's 22 years old. We wanted him to come out of that game with a positive feeling for his next outing."
Jeremy Hellickson (4-5, 4.46 ERA) starts the series finale for the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET. He is looking to get back on track after a rough stretch. He's given up 14 runs over 17 innings in his last three starts (7.41 ERA) and walked three batters in each.


2nd Chance, Better Results – Although Zach Eflin had already moved on in the hours following his exit after 2 2/3 innings in his Major League debut, there was still a part of him that needed to prove himself. If he didn't in his second Major League start -- and first at Citizens Bank Park -- he at least made progress, limiting the D-backs to two runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-1 loss on Sunday afternoon. "Even after the game in Toronto, he seemed like he knew what he needed to do," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's pretty cool, calm and collected. He's not an emotional guy. I think he knows what he's up against, and he knows what he has to do." Eflin was quick to forget his first start, but he didn't blacklist the outing. The 22-year-old righty still studied the tape. He found what he needed to work on and made the adjustments before his home debut. "I was kind of rushing that day," Eflin said. "[Today], I was just focusing on ... staying down in the zone, working quick and getting extension." Giving up a pair of runs and not making it out of the sixth isn't where Eflin hopes to peak, though. While it was a step in the right direction, the Phillies' No. 13 prospect has more to work on. Mackanin was disappointed with Eflin working up in the zone after his first start. Eflin felt he did a better job of keeping the ball down, but Mackanin saw some pitches his rookie start got away with. "Eflin looked much better, obviously," Mackanin said. "He located his pitches better. He still got away with some pitches he left up in the zone. We need to see him pitch down in the zone a little bit more. But he's 22 years old, and it was a good confidence booster for him." In his debut, Eflin had family front and center. His father, his grandparents, his two sisters, his girlfriend and her brother sat in the first row above the visitor's dugout at Rogers Centre. For his Father's Day outing, Eflin's dad, Larry, saw his son get back to the pitcher he was used to seeing. "It was cool that I was pitching on Father's Day, and he got to come out," Eflin said. "It was really special." And instead of facing friends and family while walking off the field after having given up eight earned runs, Eflin left to a partial standing ovation from the crowd of more than 40,000 in Philadelphia. That was important for Mackanin -- and the reason he pulled his starter after only 88 pitches. Two runners were on, but one was intentionally walked and there were two outs. After a degrading exit in his first start, Mackanin wanted Eflin to leave on a positive note in his second. "I didn't want him to throw over 100 pitches and maybe get burned the next inning, or that inning," Mackanin said. "We wanted him to come out of that game with a positive feeling for his next outing."

Today In Phils History – Phillies history starts in ugly fashion today as Boston scored the most runs ever against the Phillies, 29, in 1883. The Phillies definitely had better luck in 1967 as Larry Jackson won his 18th straight decision against the Mets (dating back to New York’s first ever game) by throwing a 1-hit shutout. 1989 saw the Phillies debuts of Lenny Dykstra, Terry Mulholland, and Roger McDowell following their acquisition 2 days prior. And, finally, David Montgomery took over as team president when Bill Giles announced his resignation on this day in 1997.

The Phillies are currently 30-40 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 61-51-0 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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