Monday, July 25, 2016

Pirates Steal Series As Injuries Mount For Phillies

GAME RECAP: Pirates Finish Phillies 5-4

Rookie Adam Frazier couldn't have picked a better time to knock his first Major League home run that nearly reached the Allegheny River. His pinch-hit solo shot to the top of the right-field bleachers broke a tie in the bottom of the seventh inning, leading the Pirates to a 5-4 series win over the Phillies on Sunday at PNC Park. "I figured [right-hander Edubray Ramos] was coming back with a fastball after just missing with two off-speed pitches," Fraizer said. "I got my hands to it and got the barrel out in front." The Pirates overcame a 4-2 Phillies lead in the sixth, courtesy of Matt Joyce's two-run shot to center field, tying it 4. The Bucs have now won four straight series at PNC Park, while the Phillies have gone 4-11 against the Pirates at PNC Park since 2012. Jameson Taillon gave up four runs on eight hits in his six innings with a career-high seven strikeouts. He has gone three straight starts without registering a walk. "He made some mistakes and he paid for them, but he kept us in the game and he really didn't fold or go away," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He stayed on the aggression throughout the outing." Pittsburgh's bullpen worked a scoreless three innings to preserve the one-run lead and eventual win. "We had opportunities the whole series. Especially today's game included, we need some big hits to score," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. With runners on the corners in the seventh, Neftali Feliz whiffed Odubel Herrera with a 97-mph fastball to keep the score tied. Herrera, who went 7-for-13 in the series, tacked on two RBIs on a groundout in the third inning and a solo shot in the sixth.

  • In the bottom of the eighth inning, the game was delayed for one hour, 32 minutes, due to rain.
  • Phillies third baseman Andres Blanco homered to center field in the first inning, giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. He later broke his left index finger and is likely headed to the disabled list, so Maikel Franco replaced him at third base, batting third. Franco sat out Saturday's game after being hit in the wrist by Gerrit Cole's pitch on Friday. He hit a single in the eighth inning.
  • "It's just a matter of finishing at-bats. You've gotta finish 0-2 counts." -- Phillies starter Vince Velasquez, on giving up the lead in the sixth inning.
  • In the third inning, the Phillies claimed Gregory Polanco had interfered while sliding into second base to break up a double play on David Freese's grounder to third base. The Phillies challenged, and the call was overturned, with the Phillies getting the double play.
  • In the eighth inning, the Pirates challenged the call ruling Tommy Joseph safe at first base. The call on the field was confirmed: Joseph reached base safely, though Franco was out at second.
  • Hellickson (7-7, 3.84) was excellent against the Marlins on Wednesday, allowing just one run on five hits and no walks while striking out eight in a 4-1 Phillies win. He has allowed one earned run in four of his past five starts, going 3-1 in that time.
  • The 2.40 ERA Cosart has in his career against the Phillies is his best versus any team against which he has made at least three starts.
  • Despite sitting well over .500 for the season, the Marlins have struggled playing against their own division. Miami is a combined 29-11 against the National League Central and West divisions but was only 20-27 against East teams. The Marlins have split 10 games with the Phillies so far in 2016.

After a three-day reprieve away from each other, the Phillies and Marlins reconvene Monday at Marlins Park. The National League East division rivals will play for the fifth, sixth and seventh times over a 10-day span -- and for the 11th, 12th and 13th times over the first four months of the regular season. The familiarity, though, won't be as heightened as it would have been if Wei-Yin Chen wasn't a day-before scratch as the Marlins starter. After Chen missed his regular bullpen session on Saturday because of an undisclosed issue, Jarred Cosart will be called up as the fill-in starter. Chen faced Jeremy Hellickson five days prior in Philadelphia, and a rematch was supposed to occur Monday. Cosart had a 4.09 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A New Orleans after an early-season demotion from the Majors. Cosart (0-1, 7.98 ERA) allowed 13 earned runs on 16 hits in 14 2/3 innings upon making the Marlins' Opening Day roster.


Blanco Out – Exacerbating a 5-4 loss to the Pirates on Sunday, third baseman Andres Blanco fractured his left index finger and is likely headed to the disabled list. As Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco tried to steal third base in the fifth inning, Blanco took a throw from catcher Carlos Ruiz and made a move to tag Polanco with his left glove hand. Blanco's hand was crunched between the spikes of Polanco's left cleat and the bag. Manager Pete Mackanin said Blanco's finger took four stitches and will be re-examined before they determine if surgery is needed to further clean up the wound. Not only do the Phillies lose a quality player, but the injury comes at a bad time, with the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline looming. "That's gonna hurt us, because we always could rely on him to play solid defense, come up with big hits for us," Mackanin said. "Plays anywhere, anywhere we put him he plays solid defense. Great guy to have around. "Hopefully it will be shorter than we think it might be. It's definitely a blow," Mackanin said. Maikel Franco, who took a pitch off his left wrist on Friday and sat out Saturday, took Blanco's place in the fifth inning. Third baseman Taylor Featherston, who is already on the 40-man roster, was not in Triple-A Lehigh Valley's lineup on Sunday against Louisville, and is a potential callup to replace Blanco. Before his injury, Blanco sent a solo shot to center field off Jameson Taillon in the first inning, putting the Phillies ahead, 1-0. Blanco has hit .271 this season with 21 RBIs.

Precautionary Day Off – Getting hit by pitches has limited two Phillies players in their series with the Pirates. Maikel Franco was hit on the left wrist by Gerrit Cole on Friday, and did not play Saturday as a precaution, though X-rays came back negative. He entered Sunday's game in the fifth inning, replacing Andres Blanco at third base and batting third. Cameron Rupp was hit in the head with a pitch by Tyler Glasnow on Saturday, with the ball hitting the flap of his helmet and impacting his cheek. Rupp avoided any broken bones or a concussion, but both were out of Sunday's lineup as a precautionary measure. Franco fractured his wrist in the same place last season, but has been icing and wrapping the wrist to ease any soreness. "It's probably just precaution, because I think I'm available to play if needed," Rupp said. "You get hit in the head, you want to take a little more precaution than if it was another part of your body." Blanco was also hit in the sixth inning of Friday's game by Cole, and Arquimedes Caminero pegged Tommy Joseph in the seventh. Pitcher Aaron Nola was hit on his left knuckles by a Glasnow fastball on Saturday, but he continued to pitch. With so many Phillies players getting hit by pitches in the series, there's a question about whether the Phillies feel the need to retaliate -- though Zach Eflin did pop Andrew McCutchen in the lower back after Franco was hit Friday. "That's not for me to say," Rupp said. "[It's not good] to have two guys out of the lineup that are normally in there. But that's just something that whatever happens, happens." Rupp doesn't believe Glasnow did anything on purpose, as the ball can get away from everyone sometimes. But the Pirates are known for pitching inside, which can be dangerous if not done properly. "You play against these guys all during Spring Training," Rupp said. "They do the same thing there. They preach about pitching inside, which, like I said, is fine. But like I said, you've gotta be able to pitch inside. You've got to throw it in there and not hit guys."

Texas Pursuing A Phillies Pitcher (Again!) – The Rangers' search for a young controllable starter continues, leading up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Texas was linked Monday to Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez and Royals righty Edinson Volquez.'s Jon Morosi reported the Rangers' interest in Velasquez, while the Dallas Morning News reported the club's front-office inner circle watched Volquez on Sunday. Morosi reported the price to acquire Velasquez would be high. The Rangers have not commented on the reports. The 24-year-old is 8-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 17 starts for the Phils this season, striking out 103 batters in 91 2/3 innings. Velasquez is under team control through the 2021 season and was one of several pieces acquired by Philadelphia from Houston this offseason in the Ken Giles trade. The Rangers and Phillies are familiar with each other, as they pulled off a blockbuster before last season's deadline. Texas acquired left-hander Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman and cash considerations from Philadelphia for Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff and Matt Harrison. Volquez, 33, is 8-8 with a 4.56 ERA in 21 starts this season, but he has a 2.84 ERA in his last five starts. He has a $10 million mutual option for next season or a $3 million buyout. Volquez began his career with Texas before being traded to Cincinnati in 2007 for Josh Hamilton. He made his lone All-Star appearance the following season and has a 4.32 ERA in 12 years with the Rangers, Reds, Padres, Dodgers, Pirates and Royals. The Rangers have reportedly shown interest in several young controllable pitchers, including the White Sox Chris Sale and the Rays' trio of Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi. Although they'd be open to a rental, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said they'd prefer a longer-term option. "I think the only real change is I was hoping we wouldn't consider a rental," Daniels said Sunday. "In my mind, we are open to longterm controllable acquisitions like Cole [Hamels] and down the line. It's still not my preference, but I'd be open to it." 

Congratulations Piazza and Griffey! – To punctuate close to an hour of combined speeches by this year's pair of inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Ken Griffey Jr. turned around his cap to end the Sunday proceedings. Mike Piazza spoke to his Italian immigrant father, Vince, in his native language, thanking him and Italy for giving him his dad. There were more than 50,000 people sprawled out on the lawns far and away beyond the tented stage behind the Clark Sports Center decked out in Mets blue and Mariners teal, tying the second-largest turnout in induction history. And there were enough tears from the participants to easily fill a bucket. "The actual thing about talking in front of 50,000 wasn't bad," said Griffey, the son of Ken Griffey Sr., a two-time World Series winner with the Reds in 1975-76. "The thing is I made the mistake of looking down at my kids in the front row. I remember everybody saying, 'Don't look at your kids, don't look at your kids until you have to.' "Nope, not me. You know what they say when you're a kid? 'Don't do that, don't do that.' What do you do? You do it anyway." Griffey also said it wasn't his idea to don a cap in the style that was his signature during a 22-year career when he hit 630 homers for the Mariners, Reds and White Sox. He gave the credit (or blame) to now Hall of Fame contemporary Frank Thomas. Thomas had the inspiration when the group arrived at the grounds just before the ceremony began. Griffey acquiesced and said he had to get a Hall of Fame fitted model that belonged to one of his sons. "That really wasn't my idea," said Junior, the first No. 1 Draft pick ever inducted into the Hall. "That was from a guy who happened to play for Chicago and Oakland and cried the entire time through his speech. So him being a veteran of the Hall of Fame, I took his veteran leadership and decided to do it." As far as Piazza was concerned, he paced his speech accordingly and decided to leave loving thoughts to his family for last. Piazza praised Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, the man who urged the Dodgers to pick him in the 62nd round -- 1,390th overall -- in the 1988 Draft when he managed that ballclub. He sent his best wishes to Bobby Valentine, a Lasorda acolyte, who managed the Mets into a five-game loss to the Yankees in the 2000 Subway World Series. Piazza, who is the lowest-drafted player enshrined in Cooperstown, said he was moved by the fact that the current baseball team from Phoenixville High School -- where the right-handed slugger played as a teen -- made the four-hour trek from Pennsylvania for the festivities. He also showed a lot of love to Mets fans. "Any time I come to New York and see the fans, it's like coming home," Piazza said. "Their energy and the way they receive me has always given me adrenaline." Piazza's father may not have been as famous as the elder Griffey, but he was no less influential. To his father, whose friendship with Lasorda paved the way to Piazza hitting 427 homers in the Majors -- a record 396 of them as a catcher -- and into the Hall of Fame, Piazza translated the Italian: "I said, basically, 'Many thanks to Italy for giving me the gift of my father. Infinite thanks.' As I've said many times before, that was the one thing when I was a kid my father instilled in me." A love of baseball and Italy. "As a kid you don't think much of it," he added. "But when you get older you reconnect. He was a big fan of [Joe] DiMaggio. I was obviously paying my respects to Yogi [Berra] today. He was on my mind as well. One thing I'm very proud of is the great Italian-American ballplayers and Hall of Famers that are here." Griffey, of course, came from a different place and time. His father was a 29th-round selection by the Reds in the 1969 Draft and went on to play 19 seasons. His was a baseball family and that fact alone gave Griffey a foot up with his new team of Hall of Famers as far as any hazing might be concerned. "I had time to do some research and I have some information about these guys that they probably don't want out," he said with a glint in his eyes. Griffey's speech was heavily directed toward his family and many of the Mariners, whom he played with during his initial iteration from 1989-99. Griffey returned to Seattle to finish his career in 2009-10. Edgar Martinez, the Mariners' current hitting coach and a top designated hitter during the Griffey era, took the day off from the ballpark and was in the audience. Griffey gave him a shout out for election to the Hall. Martinez remains on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot. The Mariners had a huge contingent of past and present executives at the ceremony and staged a private party for Griffey at the Fenimore Art Museum in town on Saturday night. Mets owners Fred Wilpon and his son, Jeff, were also at the festivities to honor Piazza. Griffey said he didn't get to spend too much time with his father this weekend. "This is the first time I saw him today," Griffey said. "He's been ripping and running around town just like everybody else in my family. When I saw him is when I got on the stage. We had a chance to talk [on the phone]. He just said, 'Just go out, have fun and enjoy yourself. I'm here for you.' And then he hung up. A typical dad thing." The crowd was not so atypical. It matched the 1999 induction of Robin Yount, George Brett and Nolan Ryan, but fell far short of the 80,000 that flooded the town for the 2007 deliverance of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn. Each induction has its own tone and flavor. Last year, there was a decided Dominican feel to the throng of 45,000 as Pedro Martinez was among the four inductees. Montreal natives once waded out on these same fields, waving the white and red Canadian flag the years when Gary Carter and Andre Dawson were the only members of the now-defunct Expos to be inducted. But an element of all this is certain. It's one thing to play in front of a crowd of 50,000 and quite another to look out from the stage on that kind of assemblage and have to address it. "It was absolutely nerve-wracking," Piazza said. "It's not easy, but as a player you have to find a way to focus and get into your game mode. I was joking with Ken a little bit before we got on stage: 'Come on, we've got this, we've got this.' We were talking like we were going out to play. But nothing can prepare you for the emotions that you feel."

Today In Phils History – In 1924, George Harper hit an inside the park homerun at the Baker Bowl to seal the victory against Chicago. In the first game of a double header in 1948, Richie Ashburn hit into his only double play of the season setting a franchise record for fewest by a regular position player. 2 years later, the Phillies swept a double header in Chicago to take 1st place in the league which they would hold on to for the remainder of the season. 30 years later, in 1980, Mike Schmidt hit 2 homeruns in the 1st game of a double header against the Dodgers to set a new franchise record for career homeruns (261) passing Del Ennis. Ryan Madson had an interesting start I 2006 as in the 3rd inning against Arizona he tied a MLB record by throwing 4 wild pitches (on top of hitting 2 batters and walking 5) but still only allowed 2 runs over 4 innings in the extra inning loss. It was on this day last year, in his final start as a Phillie, when Cole Hamels threw a no hitter against the Cubs. Finally, Happy 45th Birthday to former Phillies closer Billy Wagner!

The Phillies are currently 45-55 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 43-59-0 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