Friday, July 8, 2016

Phillies Crushed In Colorado

GAME RECAP: Rockies Rock Phillies 11-2

National League Final Vote candidate Trevor Story launched his 20th and 21st home runs to tie the NL rookie record before the All-Star break, and his four RBIs led the Rockies to an 11-2 victory over the Phillies at Coors Field on Thursday night. Dave Kingman (1972) and Albert Pujols (2001) also hit 21 before the All-Star break as rookies. Story has three more games against the Phillies to eclipse that number. "It's good to see him swinging the bat," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He really hit those two balls tonight. He had a great at-bat with the walk. He's done that a few times here recently. Unbelievable first half. What a way to start the career." The Rockies jumped on the board early, scoring in four of Phillies starter Adam Morgan's five frames. Nolan Arenado hit an RBI double in the first and Mark Reynolds homered to lead off the second before Story hit a three-run homer in the third and a solo shot in the fifth. Colorado added five more in the seventh off Edubray Ramos on singles by DJ LeMahieu and Brandon Barnes and a three-run double by Reynolds. Rockies starter Chad Bettis had his best start and second quality start since May 17. He held the Phillies to two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and one walk. Ryan Howard homered off him to right-center in the second and drove in Maikel Franco two innings later on a single to left. "I think all-around it was a great team win," Bettis said. "Honestly, I think we got our offense back and for the most part did our job as a pitching staff. I think I could've been a little bit better in the sense of executing a couple pitches to Howard, but that's part of baseball."

  • Morgan hardly had an easy assignment, rejoining the rotation at Coors as the team skipped Aaron Nola's turn to give him a mental break. Morgan allowed nine hits, six runs and three homers in five innings. He has allowed 16 homers in 66 1/3 innings. His 2.17 home runs per nine inning rate is second in baseball among pitchers with at least 60 innings, behind only Kansas City's Chris Young (3.90 homers per nine innings). The Phillies optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game. "Lately, it hasn't been fun," Morgan said. "I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself. And this break coming up, I feel like will be good. And also going down there and being able to work on things and not feel so much pressure ... like I said, it can only go up from here."
  • Howard had one of his finest moments at Coors, hitting a two-out double to score two runs in the ninth inning in Game 4 of the 2009 NL Division Series. The hit tied the game as the Phillies took the lead one batter later. Howard homered in the second inning Thursday for his 369th career homer, moving him into 78th place on the all-time list with Ralph Kiner and Todd Helton.
  • The Phillies are expected to activate right-hander Andrew Bailey from the disabled list Friday. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 23 with a strained left hamstring.
  • Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard homered Thursday. He entered the series hitting .306 (44-for-144) with nine doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 31 RBIs and a .936 OPS in 36 career games, including the postseason, at Coors.
  • Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon entered Thursday hitting .318 since coming off the DL on April 29.

Rockies shortstop Trevor Story will know if he has made the National League All-Star team as the winner of the Final Vote a few hours before Friday night's game against the Phillies at Coors Field. Story entered Friday narrowly in third place behind the Pirates' Starling Marte and the Giants' Brandon Belt in a close race. Either way, Story will face Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez (7-2, 3.34 ERA). Velasquez missed much of June because of a strained right biceps, but he has more wins this season than any Phillies pitcher had in 2015. Velasquez duels Rockies right-hander Jon Gray (5-4, 4.81). He is 3-0 with a 5.05 ERA at home, and it's his first time facing the Phillies.


Back Up, Back Down – Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan emerged from Pete Mackanin's office nearly 40 minutes after the final out of Thursday's 11-2 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field. Morgan had just been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he also had a long talk with Mackanin and pitching coach Bob McClure about everything that has gone wrong this season and everything that needs to go right to have another opportunity to pitch with the Phillies. Morgan allowed nine hits, six runs and three home runs in five innings and fell to 1-7 with a 6.65 ERA. "It was the truth and I needed to hear it," Morgan said. "They shot me straight, which is all you can ask for as a player. My point of view right now is I can only go up from here." Morgan has allowed 16 home runs in 66 1/3 innings. His 2.17 home runs per nine innings average is second in baseball among pitchers with at least 60 innings, behind only Kansas City's Chris Young (3.90 homers per nine innings). It also is more than half a homer more than he averaged last season, when he went 5-7 with a more respectable 4.48 ERA in 16 starts. "I've been making a lot of mistakes," Morgan said. "I haven't been making any excuses, but I just need to get better." He also needs to clear his mind. "Lately, it hasn't been fun," Morgan said. "I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself. And this break coming up, I feel like will be good. And also going down there and being able to work on things and not feel so much pressure … like I said, it can only go up from here." Morgan's season has not gone according to plan. He pitched well in Spring Training, but narrowly lost the No. 5 starter's competition to Vince Velasquez, who is 7-2 with a 3.34 ERA. Morgan started the season in Triple-A, but joined the rotation in April when Charlie Morton suffered a season-ending hamstring injury. He struggled and got bumped to the bullpen late last month when Velasquez rejoined the rotation after spending some time on the disabled list. Morgan got the call to pitch in place of Aaron Nola, whose turn in the rotation got skipped Thursday in an effort to clear his mind after his own recent struggles. Morgan will join the IronPigs' rotation. He hopes to remain a starter, although he acknowledges he is open to anything if it means an opportunity in the big leagues. Morgan has some people rooting for him. In fact, Mackanin explained why he and McClure had such an unusually long postgame conversation with him. "Bob McClure and I really like this guy," Mackanin said. "We know he's a fighter. We know how much it means to him. He's sincere and dedicated and he's a very likable guy. We're trying to give him as much positive reinforcement, but at the same time let him know what he needs to do to become successful." Phillies right-hander Andrew Bailey is expected to be activated before Friday's game, taking Morgan's spot on the roster. He has been on the DL since late last month with a strained left hamstring.

Bullpen Boost – The Phillies have at least a couple of roster moves coming this weekend. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said before Thursday night's 11-2 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field that he expects right-hander Andrew Bailey to be activated from the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game. Bailey has been on the DL since June 23 with a strained left hamstring. Left-hander Daniel Stumpf is expected to be activated Sunday. He is finishing an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug that first gained notoriety with East German athletes in the 1960s. "I don't think the players, I don't think they're going to be standoff-ish to him," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He said he didn't know he was taking anything, so you've got to give him the benefit of the doubt. It's not like he knew that he was cheating on purpose. I don't see any issues there. Maybe I'm wrong." Asked if he feels for a player that will lose his job to Stumpf, knowing he tested positive for PEDs, Mackanin said, "Once again, I have to assume that he didn't know anything. If I knew for a fact that he consciously did that … I wouldn't be happy with it. But I give him the benefit of the doubt."

Where’s Kevin Millar? – Carlos Ruiz loves the cowboy lifestyle. He owns a ranch with horses and cattle back in his native Panama, and anybody that has seen his Instagram account (carlos_ruiz_rios) has seen his affinity for horses and cowboy attire. That passion prompted him to purchase cowboy hats for the Phillies to wear on their trip Wednesday from Philadelphia to Denver. Teammates posted numerous photos of their getups to social media. "It was a great day," Ruiz said before Thursday's 11-2 loss against the Rockies at Coors Field. "We played real good baseball [in a 4-3 victory over Atlanta]. It was a hell of a game. Then everybody was happy wearing the cowboy hats. It was something different. We try to get everybody to relax, you know? Everybody enjoyed it." Ruiz got a cowboy hat during the team's recent trip to Arizona, which triggered the idea to have everybody wear them. "Other guys were saying that they liked it," Ruiz said. Ruiz asked Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan if he should buy one for everybody. Morgan said yes. Ruiz later approached manager Pete Mackanin to see if he would wear one. "I don't like clown hats," Mackanin said. "I don't want that stuff." But cowboy hats are cool, so he agreed to wear one. Ruiz also asked Mackanin about relaxing the dress code for the flight. Team personnel have to wear dress shirts and dress pants when flying, but, hey, cowboys wear jeans, right? So Mackanin gave everybody the OK to wear jeans, tying the ensemble together nicely. Of course, it was just a normal outfit for Ruiz, who occasionally rides horses in the offseason. "When I retire, I'll have plenty of time to do that every day," Ruiz said.

Today In Phils History – In 1898, Red Donahue threw the 2nd no hitter in franchise history. When Gavvy Cravath was named as, the recently fired, Jack Coombs replacement at the helm in 1919 the players staged a near mutiny. 5 year later, the Phillies split a 26 inning double header against Cincinnati without committing a single error. In 1934, Euel Moore became the only member of the Chickasaw Nation to appear in MLB pitching the Phillies to victory. Schoolboy Rowe, being the last player to enter the All Star game for the NL in 1947 became the first player to appear in the mid-summer classic for both leagues. 5 years later, Curt Simmons leads the NL to victory in the All Star game in front of his home crowd. In 1992, hits his 3rd pinch hit homerun of the year tying the Phillies rookie record. During a rain delay in Colorado in 2007, the entire Phillies bench assisted the ground crew in covering the field during the windy storm the karma from which helped in their victory once the game resumed. 4 years later, Juan Perez struck out the side in the 10th inning on 9 pitches becoming the first player to achieve the extra inning feat since 1923.  

The Phillies are currently 40-47 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 44-51-0 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.

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