Friday, July 29, 2016

Phillies Power Their Way To A Win

GAME RECAP: Phillies Beat Braves 7-5

The Phillies entered Thursday having lost nine of their past 13 games, while their offense had not scored more than four runs in a game since the All-Star break. But in a 7-5 win over the Braves at Turner Field, the Phillies snapped their recent run-scoring drought, registering a five-run first inning and three homers. Matt Wisler put Atlanta in a first-inning hole when he allowed a three-run home run to Maikel Franco. Tommy Joseph followed with a solo shot, marking the fourth time this year the Phillies have hit back-to-back homers. Two more batters reached base before Wisler recorded the first out of the game on his 27th pitch. "That's what you kind of like to have," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "When 3-4-5 come up, you hope the other team gets nervous." The Braves right-hander settled in after that, retiring 13 of the next 15 batters. But after giving up a two-out single to Joseph in the fifth, Aaron Altherr hit a two-run homer to give Philadelphia a 7-0 lead. Aaron Nola held Atlanta scoreless until the fifth, when Freddie Freeman sparked a three-run inning with an RBI double. The Braves tallied a run in the sixth and ninth innings, but it wasn't enough, as they fell to 3-7 against the Phillies this year. "It's just hard when you get down," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "The biggest pitch was the two-run homer [Wisler] gave up. You can live with the five [runs in the first inning] and then he settled in, but that was huge right there I thought. Five is doable with all of the at-bats we had left."

  • The Phillies expected Altherr to be an everyday outfielder this season, but he tore a tendon in his left wrist in March. He rejoined the Phillies on Thursday and in his first game back, he singled and scored in the first, hit a two-run homer in the fifth and singled in the seventh. "Definitely, especially sitting around thinking about how that first game's going to be being back," Altherr said, asked if this was the perfect season debut. "For it to be like that it was definitely special." 
  • Nola continues to search for consistency. He has a 9.82 ERA in his last eight starts after allowing three runs in five innings against the Braves, finding himself in trouble much of the night. In three of his first four innings he retired the first two batters he faced before putting runners on base. Odubel Herrera then lost a ball in the lights to start the fifth, which led to a three-run inning. Still, Nola picked up his first win since June 5. "He's not the same guy," Mackanin said. "He's just struggling with command once again. He's not dotting his fastball like he normally does. His curveball is erratic. He needs to get back on track." 
  • "I played golf with him last year in the spring when he wasn't even on the radar. God, can he hit a driver. They're real high and they just carry. It's unbelievable. So I knew he had power. Then, when you watch him take BP, the sound that the ball makes coming off his bat is different than the other guys'." -- Mackanin, on Joseph's homer to center in the first.
  • Franco is on pace to hit 29 home runs. If he can hit 30, he would be the first Phillies third baseman to hit 30 or more homers in a season since Scott Rolen hit 31 in 1998.
  • Wisler's rough first inning concluded with a double play that was awarded after the Braves successfully challenged that shortstop Erick Aybar tagged Carlos Ruiz before stepping on the second-base bag to record a force out. Ruiz would not have been forced to third base had Aybar first stepped on the bag before applying the quick tag.
  • The Braves were not as fortunate in the eighth inning when they unsuccessfully challenged Garcia's throw beat Cody Asche to first base. The original safe call was confirmed, resulting in an infield single. 
Vince Velasquez (8-2, 3.34 ERA) faces the Braves in the second game of a four-game series Friday at Turner Field at 7:35 p.m. ET. He is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list in June because of a strained right biceps.


Altherr Returns – Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr finally has his shot. The team activated him from the 60-day disabled list before Thursday's 7-5 victory over the Braves at Turner Field. He hit fifth and went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run, giving him a nice start in what is expected to be an important audition over the Phillies' final 58 games. "Definitely," said Altherr, asked if it was the perfect season debut. "Especially sitting around thinking about how that first game's going to be being back. For it to be like that, it was definitely special." Altherr opened Spring Training as a projected everyday outfielder, but he tore a tendon in his left wrist in March, which required surgery. After a lengthy recovery spent mostly in Clearwater, Fla., Altherr rejoined the Phillies ready to prove he should be part of the Phillies' future plans in the outfield. "I just want to see him play," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said before the game. "We want to see him play as much as possible. So if he stays healthy, I'm going to keep running him out there. That's what this year is all about. We're finding out about the guys that are here. He is potentially an important part, so we want to see what he does. I'm anxious to see what he does." Cody Asche and Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel will continue to play in left field, although Asche continues to receive the bulk of the playing time. He has started 42 of the last 51 games in left field, but he has hit .094 (5-for-53) in his last 17 games. "As I said earlier in the season, this is a very big year for Cody to prove that he can be part of the future and he needs to step it up," Mackanin said. "Goeddel needs to play. I need to play Goeddel. I have to come to a conclusion so I can speak intelligently at the end of the year about what I think, if Cody fits in, if Goeddel fits in, if [Jimmy] Paredes fits in. But Asche and Goeddel, we have to know. I don't want to go into Spring Training next year wondering. "After two or three years of opportunities that should give you a pretty good indication whether a guy fits or not. However, there's two months left in the season and anything can happen. So I'm not discounting anybody." And things could become even more complicated in terms of playing time, both in the outfield and infield, if Triple-A shortstop J.P. Crawford and outfielder Nick Williams are promoted at some point. Mackanin said the two prospects are "on the radar, but nothing has been determined on whether they're coming or not. They don't want to send up a guy that might not be ready." About the only thing certain is that Altherr will play a lot. He missed too much time not to play. The Phillies placed Peter Bourjos on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder to make room for Altherr on the 25-man roster.

Nola’s Mixed Results – Perhaps the 'W' next to Aaron Nola's name in the box score will help. He grinded through five innings Thursday night in a 7-5 victory over the Braves at Turner Field, allowing eight hits, three runs, three walks, one hit batter and striking out five in five innings. He threw 95 pitches, extending the first, second and fourth innings after he had retired each of the two batters he faced. Still, he got his first win since June 5. "It has been a while," Nola said. Pitchers these days are not judged by wins because so much in a game is out of a starting pitcher's hands. But while wins are not a true measuring stick of a pitcher's worth, pitchers still like to see a good record next to their name. So maybe this will get Nola moving in the right direction again because he has not looked like himself for some time, including Thursday. Atlanta entered the game with the worst offense in baseball, averaging 3.43 runs per game, but the Braves reached base 12 times against Nola. "Fairly OK," he said, assessing his performance. Nola has a 9.82 ERA in eight starts since he beat the Brewers on June 5. He struggled so much in June and July that the Phillies skipped his final start before the All-Star break. The Phillies breathed a sigh of relief July 18, when he pitched six scoreless innings against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. But Nola has allowed 14 hits, nine runs and five walks in nine innings in two starts since. "He's not the same guy," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's just struggling with command once again. He's not dotting his fastball like he normally does. His curveball is erratic. He needs to get back on track." "I feel like I have the command for the most part, but there's some areas I still need to get better at and work to get better at," Nola said.

Mid-Season Prospect Rankings – The Phillies entered the season with one of the top farm systems in baseball, and that has not changed.'s midseason Top 100 prospect list, released Thursday, includes five Phillies: shortstop J.P. Crawford (third overall), outfielder Mickey Moniak (34th), outfielder Nick Williams (62nd), catcher Jorge Alfaro (72nd) and right-hander Jake Thompson (73rd). Only the Astros (seven) and Pirates (six) have more players in the top 100. The Phillies had seven players in the preseason top 100, but right-hander Mark Appel, outfielder Cornelius Randolph and outfielder Roman Quinn dropped out because of injuries. Moniak, whom the Phillies selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 Draft, joined. The ranking of baseball's top prospects is completed by Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status are eligible for the list. The rankings follow the Collective Bargaining Agreement guidelines for which players fall under the international pool money rules: Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible. Interestingly, 16 prospects in the Phillies' top 30 joined the organization since the Phillies officially began their rebuilding process following the 2014 season. Nine of the 16 joined via trade: Williams (ranked third in the organization), Alfaro (fourth), Thompson (fifth), Appel (11th), right-hander Nick Pivetta (18th), right-hander Thomas Eshelman (19th), right-hander Ben Lively (24th), right-handerJimmy Cordero (26th) and right-hander Alberto Tirado (30th). Six came in the last two Drafts: Moniak (second), Randolph (sixth), right-hander Kevin Gowdy (10th), second baseman Scott Kingery (14th), third baseman Cole Stobbe (15th) and left-hander JoJo Romero (25th). One joined as an amateur free agent: outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz (21st).

Today In Phils History – It was Orlando Cepeda’s 1st career homerun in 1961 that led the Giants to a victory over the Phillies who would go on to lose the next 22 consecutive games. 4 years later, the Phillies Ray Culp threw a 2 hit shutout against the Pirates while the two teams combined for 26 strikeouts. In 1974, Steve Carlton tossed a 2 hitter while Mike Schmidt connected for 2 homeruns against the Pirates. A decade later, Juan Samuel and Von Hayes became the 1st players in MLB history to hit back to back homeruns in the first 2 at bats of the game. 4 years later, Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe stole home against the Phillies. The following season, in 1989, the Phillies retired Steve Carlton’s uniform number 32. In 2002, the Phillies parted ways with former Rookie of the Year Scott Rolen as they traded him to the Cardinals for Placido Planco, Bud Smith, and Mike Timlin. 5 years later, Antonio Alfonseca recorded a strikeout on a single pitch after entering the game for the injured Ryan Madson. In 2009, the Phillies obtained Cliff Lee from the Indians. The following season, the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt from the Astros. Finally, happy anniversary to Todd Pratt (1992) and Ricky Bottalico (1994) who made their MLB debuts with the Phillies on this day.

The Phillies are currently 47-57 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 55-50-0 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment