Sunday, July 31, 2016

Phillies Find Another Interesting Way To Win

GAME RECAP: Phillies Defeat Braves 9-5

In a matchup between two of the top pitchers who could potentially be moved before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Jeremy Hellickson outdueled Julio Teheran on Saturday night at Turner Field, as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 9-5. Philadelphia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Cameron Rupp, but Atlanta quickly stormed back. Nick Markakis drove in Jace Peterson with a single to tie the game in the third before Adonis Garcia handed the Braves their only lead with an RBI single in the next at-bat. Teheran appeared to settle in after the second inning, retiring eight straight batters before running into trouble in the fifth. With runners on first and second, Hellickson provided his own support, doubling down the left-field line to score both and give the Phillies a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Opposing pitchers were 3-for-34 vs. Teheran this year before the at-bat. "The big hit for me was Hellickson's double after he couldn't get a bunt down," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. After the Phillies scored two more runs in the sixth, the Braves cut the deficit to 5-3 and knocked Hellickson out of the game on Anthony Recker's RBI single in the bottom of the frame. After surrendering four runs on no hits to the Phillies in the eighth, Atlanta couldn't mount a comeback despite scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame. It fell to 8-4 against Philadelphia this season. "[Until that inning], we were right there," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It just didn't happen in that inning, pretty much. We could have kind of kept the game right there in the eighth, but there were just a couple of tough plays that didn't go our way."

  • Scouts got a final look at Hellickson before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Hellickson did not pitch his best, allowing nine hits and three runs in just 5 2/3 innings, although he doubled down the left-field line in the fifth inning to score two runs and give the Phillies a 3-2 lead, but he also bruised his pitching hand during the same at-bat. The bruise made it difficult to grip his curveball and cut his outing short. "Still not really sure what it is," Hellickson said. "A bruise. Or I popped something in there. But I felt fine, though, after I did it."
  • The Phillies scored four runs in a most unusual way in the eighth inning. They sent nine batters to the plate, but nobody got a hit. Here's how they fared: Tyler Goeddel (walk), Freddy Galvis (fielder's choice), Taylor Featherston (walk), Cesar Hernandez (walk), Odubel Herrera (walk), Maikel Franco (error), Ryan Howard (error), Aaron Altherr (hit by pitch) and Rupp (grounded into double play). "I'll just say this," Mackanin said, "when you score four runs without a hit, you better win that game."
  • "I can't control any of it. So I've just been focused on every start and in-between starts. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully I'm still here on Tuesday." -- Hellickson, on the Trade Deadline.
  • Eickhoff is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts vs. the Braves.
  • Freddie Freeman will look to continue his hot hitting vs. Eickhoff, against whom he's batted .417 (5-for-12) with a double and a homer.
  • A.J. Pierzynski enters Sunday's game with no walks in his last 104 plate appearances. Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop leads the Majors with no walks in his past 107 appearances.

Despite leading the Phillies in innings pitched and registering a quality start in 13 of his 21 outings this year, Jerad Eickhoff is tied for second in the Majors with 12 losses. And as he prepares to take the hill for Sunday's series finale against the Braves at Turner Field, the right-hander will be aiming for his first win since July 4, when he allowed two runs in an 8-2 victory over Atlanta. Eickhoff came close to snapping his winless drought on Tuesday, when he allowed one run across seven innings vs. the Marlins. But for the 13th time this year, he received three runs or fewer of support in a 5-0 defeat. On Sunday, Philadelphia will look to back Eickhoff against Atlanta starter Joel De La Cruz, who will be making his first start since giving up seven runs (four earned) against the Phillies on July 4.


Last Start? – Jeremy Hellickson has made his case. Now, he waits. He allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in Saturday night's 9-5 victory over the Braves at Turner Field. He doubled down the left-field line in the fifth inning to score two and give the Phillies a 3-2 lead, but he also left the game in the sixth with his right hand bothering him after he got jammed fouling off a pitch during the same at-bat. It was not Hellickson's finest performance in recent weeks, but it was his final one before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. "I have no idea," Hellickson said when asked if he thought he would be traded. "I'll find out Monday." Scouts from several contenders watched him pitch, including those from the Rangers, Blue Jays and Tigers. It was the first time Hellickson had not pitched at least six innings since June 4, snapping a streak of nine consecutive starts of six or more innings pitched. He seemed to be on track to pitch six again, but he bruised his pitching hand in that fifth-inning at-bat, which made it difficult for him to throw his curveball. "Still not really sure what it is," Hellickson said. "A bruise. Or I popped something in there. But I felt fine, though, after I did it." The Phillies did not want to draw attention to Hellickson by having a full-blown conference on the mound, so Phillies manager Pete Mackanin had pitching coach Bob McClure check on him by himself. "I don't want to lose the game because he's got a sore hand," Mackanin said. "In the end, it's not a big deal. It's not like his elbow was hurting, you know what I mean? I don't care, I don't want to lose the game." Hellickson has a 2.49 ERA (14 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings) in his last eight starts. He has struck out 34 and walked six in that span. A contending team in need of starting pitching might want somebody like that. But what is the asking price for Hellickson, who will be a free agent after the season? reported earlier this week that the Phillies are looking for an organization's top-five prospect. It is believed the Phillies have a high asking price because they could make Hellickson a qualifying offer following the season. If he rejects the one-year contract, which could exceed $16 million, the Phillies would receive a compensatory Draft pick if he signs elsewhere. So, in the mind of the Phillies, they want talent comparable to a potential Draft pick. Of course, Hellickson is not the only Phillies' starter available in a trade. The Rangers and Phillies have been discussing a deal for Vince Velasquez, although sources told that a deal is unlikely. "I can't control any of it," Hellickson said. "So I've just been focused on every start and in-between starts. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully I'm still here on Tuesday."

No Hits – Sometimes it's best not to put the ball in play. Sometimes it's best just to put the bat on the shoulder and let the other team do the work. The Phillies let the Braves gift them four runs in the eighth inning on Saturday night in a 9-5 victory at Turner Field. Philadelphia sent nine players to the plate in the inning, but not a single batter got a hit, thanks to some wild pitching from Hunter Cervenka and Ryan Weber and some shoddy defense from the Braves' infield. "I'll just say this," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said, "when you score four runs without a hit, you better win that game." Here's how it happened: Cervenka started the inning. Tyler Goeddel walked; Freddy Galvis bunted into a fielder's choice; Taylor Featherston walked; Cesar Hernandez was walked intentionally; Odubel Herrera walked to score Galvis; Weber replaced Cervenka. Maikel Franco reached on an error to score Featherston and Hernandez; Ryan Howard reached on an error; Aaron Altherr got hit by a pitch to score Herrera; Cameron Rupp grounded into an inning-ending double play. ESPN said it is the first time the Phillies have sent nine batters to the plate without recording a hit since July 17, 1992, against the Dodgers at Veterans Stadium. That inning featured three walks, three errors, one flyout and two strikeouts. It is the first time it has happened in a game since the Cubs did it against the Rockies on Aug. 5, 2014.

Today In Phils History – Goldie Rapp’s 23 game Phillies rookie record hitting streak came to an end on this day in 1931. The Phillies concluded a 20 game home stand on this day in 1944 (which was followed by a 26 game road trip and another 20 game home stand. In 1982, Manny Trillo’s MLB record 89 game errorless streak came to an end on this day against the Cubs. 5 years later, Steve Bedrosian became the 1st Phillie to reach 30 saves in a single season. Danny Jackson went the distance and recorded 3 sacrifice hits against the Pirates in 1993. The following season, Kim Batiste recorded his only walk of the season in 209 at bats. That same day in 1994, Steve Carlton was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. It was also on this day what the Phillies traded away Terry Mulholland (1996), Shane Victorino (2012), and Hunter Pence (2012) while receiving Desi Delaford (1996), Ethan Martin (2012), and Tommy Joseph (2012). Finally, Happy Birthday to John Vukovich who would have been 69 today.

The Phillies are currently 48-58 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 60-52-1 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.

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