Thursday, June 30, 2016

Phillies Turn Things Around In Arizona

GAME RECAP: Phillies Sweep Diamondbacks 9-8

Pinch-hitter Tyler Goeddel drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning to lift the Phillies to a 9-8 win and a series sweep over the D-backs at Chase Field on Wednesday afternoon. Peter Bourjos and Cody Asche had consecutive one-out singles against Arizona reliever Silvino Bracho (0-2), who took the loss, followed by Goeddel's sacrifice fly to deep right that put Philadelphia ahead for good. The Phillies had a season-high 17 hits. "I can't say enough about the guys," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "In Minnesota, San Francisco and here, we just kept responding. When we gave up runs, we came back and scored runs. It was a whole different team that left Philadelphia. It's kind of like old times, but we are hitting better." After Arizona scored three runs in the seventh to take a 7-4 lead, Philadelphia immediately responded with four in the eighth, all of them charged to reliever Daniel Hudson, and took an 8-7 lead on a sacrifice fly by Asche, who drove in three runs. The D-backs tied it at 8 in the bottom of the inning on an infield RBI single by Jean Segura. "Coming into the eighth inning with a three-run lead, that's just unacceptable for me to give that up," Hudson said. "I need to get better, and I don't know how it kind of just flipped the way it did, for me personally. I've been put into some big situations and haven't performed well recently." Jeanmar Gomez (3-2) earned the win in relief for the Phillies, who have won three straight for the first time since May 12-14 and secured their first sweep since April 29-May 1. Cesar Hernandez collected four hits and Freddy Galvis added three, while Brett Oberholtzer worked the 10th for his first career save. Jake Lamb homered and Michael Bourn had four hits for the D-backs, who lost their fifth game in a row and fell to 13-28 at home this season. D-backs starter Archie Bradley allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings, posting his third quality start in six outings this month. Phillies starter Zach Eflin also went six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. Neither starter factored into the decision. "I think it was important on this road trip to kind of take a deep breath, get away from the home ballpark a little bit and get some different views," Asche said. "Get the offense rolling and hopefully, we can keep that going into July and into the All-Star break, and we'll see where we go from there."

  • Eflin pitched in with a big hit -- a double -- in the top of the fifth. The hit was the first of his Major League career. He later scored on a double by Asche to cut Arizona's lead to 4-3. "I finally got that first one," Eflin said. "That was a good feeling. It was 0-2, and I put a good swing on it. It was a lot of fun."
  • One of the hottest hitters in baseball, Bourjos scored the game-winning run and finished 2-for-5 in the series finale at Chase Field. He racked up six hits in the series, including the crucial one-out single in the 10th inning and a two-run home run in the first inning. 
  • "He was told that this was a big year for him, and he has to do something to show us that he deserves to be with us in the future, and he's certainly making a good effort and he looks much better at the plate. Everybody is fighting for jobs, and they want to prove that they want to be here in the future." -- Mackanin, on Asche.
  • Hellickson is 1-2 with a 5.45 ERA in six starts -- a span of 33 innings -- against the Royals in his career. He's struck out 25 and walked nine.
  • Kennedy is seeking back-to-back wins for the third time this year.


The Phillies' record only tells part of the story of their season. Yes, the club is coming off its first series win since May, but the pitching staff has thrown nine shutouts this season, the most in the Major Leagues this season. Peter Bourjos has been the hottest hitter in baseball during the last few weeks, and the team's offense ranks among Major League leaders in extra-base hits, average, slugging, OPS and runs since it went on the road on June 21. Now, the Phillies are coming home after nine games on the road. After Thursday's day off, the Philllies will send Jeremy Hellickson, who allowed just one earned run in six innings Saturday at AT&T Park, to the mound against Ian Kennedy and the Royals in the first of three games at Citizens Bank Park on Friday. Kennedy struck out 11 while giving up three hits, one walk and one run against the Astros in his last outing.


Road Trip MVP – Phillies outfielder Peter Bourjos returned to Arizona and hit like he owned the place. The veteran has been feeling comfortable on the road a lot lately. Bourjos finished 2-for-5 and scored the game-winning run in the 10th inning in the Phillies' 9-8 victory that completed a sweep in the series finale at Chase Field on Wednesday. The Phillies won five of the nine games on the road trip, and Bourjos is a big reason why. "Bourjos was probably the MVP of our trip," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "The guy just turned it on and started playing like an All-Star." Overall, the outfielder racked up six hits in the series against the D-backs, including a two-run home run in the first inning to give the Phillies an early 2-0 lead. He hustled out an infield single with the game tied at 8 in the 10th and scored the deciding run on a sacrifice fly to right field by Tyler Goeddel. "I think the hitters are having better at-bats, and the pitchers are doing a good job of keeping us in games," Bourjos said. "You can really see the offense starting to take shape, and a lot of guys are starting to feel comfortable in the box and figure some things out." Bourjos finished the nine-game road trip with 17 hits in 36 at-bats. He's hitting .471 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and eight RBIs in 17 games since June 12. It's been quite a turnaround. He was hitting .192 with a .501 OPS in 161 plate appearances through June 11. He's also raised his batting average to .262. "I think I was trying to do too much," Bourjos said. "I'm starting to realize that you don't have to swing hard to hit the ball hard." Bourjos, who was claimed off of waivers last December, grew up near Chase Field in Scottsdale, Ariz. He said most of his family was in attendance for Wednesday's game, including his father Chris Bourjos, who sat among the baseball officials behind home plate taking notes. "I live here in the winter time," Bourjos said. "My dad is a scout and the Diamondbacks are one of his teams he has to cover, so he matched up against us, of course."

See You In 2017 – The season is over for Phillies right-handed pitching prospect Mark Appel. Appel, ranked No. 4 on the Phils' Top 30 Prospects list, underwent a season-ending surgery to remove a posterior bone spur in his right elbow Wednesday in Philadelphia, according to the club. The recovery period is four to six months. Appel is expected to make a full recovery, and he should be ready for Spring Training. With Houston, Appel went 16-11 with a 5.12 ERA in 54 appearances (53 starts) in the Minor Leagues, including a 4.48 ERA in 12 starts last season with Triple-A Fresno. He was acquired by Philadelphia on Dec. 12 in the seven-player deal that sent Ken Giles to Houston. This season, Appel went 3-3 with a 4.46 ERA in 38 1/3 innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, with 34 strikeouts and 20 walks. Appel, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 Draft by the Astros, was placed on the disabled list at Triple-A with a right shoulder strain on May 27. Then, the issue with the elbow surfaced as he began his throwing progression while recovering from the shoulder injury. The club said Appel's shoulder is fine.

Today In Phils History – 80 years before Mike Lieberthal made his MLB debut with the Phillies another catcher was in the news as, in 1914, the federal appeals court ruled that catcher Bill Killefer was allowed to stay with the Phillies ending a long court battel with the Federal League. In 1932, Chuck Klein set the MLB record for the most homeruns by the end of June, 24, following a 2 homerun performance. 6 years later, the Phillies lost their final game at the Baker Bowl. Vice President Richard Nixon attended a Phillies game at Shibe Park on this day in 1960 as part of a fundraising campaign for the Presidency. In an interesting piece of franchise history, on this day in 1967, catcher Cookie Rojas was brought in to pitch the 9th inning of a Giants blowout which resulted in Rojas having played at least 1 game at every position for the Phillies during his career. 20 years later, Steve Bedrosian picked up his 13th consecutive save on his way to the Cy Young award. In 2004, Jim Thome hit his 15th homerun of the month setting a new franchise record for June and tying the overall record set in 1923 by Cy Williams (it was also the 44th homerun by the Phillies that month setting a new team record). Three years later, J.A. Happ made his MLB debut with the Phillies. And, finally, happy birthday to Chan Ho Park (1973) and Cody Asche (1990).  

The Phillies are currently 35-45 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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