Saturday, August 6, 2016

Padres Can’t Contain Phillies E-Rupp-tion

GAME RECAP: Phillies Dis-Rupp-t Padres 5-4

Cameron Rupp homered in his third straight game Friday night at Petco Park, leading the Phillies to a 5-4 win over the Padres in the first game of a three-game series. Rupp hit his 13th homer of the season 427 feet to straightaway center field, and straight into a palm tree, against San Diego starter Christian Friedrich in the fourth inning, before tacking on an RBI double in the sixth. "He left the pitch up. I didn't miss it," Rupp said. "I was looking to drive the ball up the middle, with the infield back in that situation, with guys in scoring position. He gave me a pitch to hit." Rupp's offensive efforts backed up yet another solid start from Jeremy Hellickson, who tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs. The 29-year-old righty struck out just three Padres hitters, but put together a stretch of 13 straight batters retired before pinch-hitter Alexei Ramirez homered in the seventh and ended his outing. Friedrich threw seven innings for just the second time this season, and pitched well, aside from the two at-bats against Rupp, who was responsible for driving in all the runs he allowed. Friedrich struck out four batters while walking none, and managed four 1-2-3 innings. "Just two bad mistakes to Rupp," Friedrich said. "Spinning slider [on a 3-2 count on the home run] and curveball just left over the middle of the plate [on the double]. ... The crooked number has usually been my kind of bugaboo, so trying to get rid of those and hopefully get deeper into games."

  • Rupp's impressive season continues. He entered the night with an .813 OPS, which ranked fourth among 20 qualified catchers. His numbers improved with his homer and double Friday. Rupp has three homers and eight RBIs in three games this month. He also became the first Phillies catcher to homer in three consecutive games since Mike Lieberthal in July 1999. "I can't tell you how much more fun baseball is when you hit homers and drive runs in and win games," Rupp said. "It's so much more fun. It's always great to see something that you work at, you see the success, especially fairly quick. I'm just trying to stay with it. Stay within myself. It's awesome that I've had the success so far."
  • "The pitch that Rupp hit was a palm ball," -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, on Rupp's homer which hit off a palm tree in center field.
  • The Phillies challenged after Travis Jankowski hit a two-out double to left field in the seventh inning and was called safe at second base. Cesar Hernandez held his tag on Jankowski as he stood up to call time, but Jankowski momentarily removed his right arm from the bag before his foot stepped on it. Hernandez immediately signaled to the Phillies' dugout to review the play. The replay official in New York saw what Hernandez saw and the call was overturned. When Jankowski removed his arm, no other part of his body was on second base.
  • The Padres challenged a call in the bottom of the ninth inning after Derek Norris was called out at first on the back end of a 6-4-3 double play. Replays showed that while Norris might have been able to beat the throw, he didn't actually make contact with the first-base bag. After a review, officials determined that both runners --Jabari Blash at second (confirmed) and Norris at first (call stands) -- were out.
Phillies right-hander Jake Thompson makes his big league debut Saturday night against the Padres at Petco Park at 8:40 p.m. ET. He is the No. 70 prospect in baseball, according to He joined the Phillies in July 2015 as part of the Cole Hamels trade with Texas.


Rupp Stays Hot – Cameron Rupp should have won something for homering off a palm tree Saturday night at Petco Park. A cocktail with an umbrella in it, perhaps? His three-run home run to center field in the fourth inning helped the Phillies to a 5-4 victory over the Padres. The 3-2 pitch from Padres left-hander Christian Friedrichleft Rupp's bat at 109 mph, and it sailed like a missile until it smashed into the middle of a palm tree just beyond the 396-foot sign. "The pitch that Rupp hit was a palm ball," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin joked. "I didn't miss it," said Rupp, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Rupp's stellar season continues. He has an .831 OPS, which is third among 20 qualified catchers in Major League Baseball. Only Wilson Ramos (.928) andJonathan Lucroy (.894) have been better at the plate. "I can't tell you how much more fun baseball is when you hit homers and drive runs in and win games," Rupp said. "It's so much more fun. It's always great to see something that you work at, you see the success, especially fairly quick. I'm just trying to stay with it. Stay within myself. It's awesome that I've had the success so far." Rupp, who doubled to score a run in the sixth, has homered in three consecutive games, becoming the first Phillies catcher to homer in three consecutive games since Mike Lieberthal from July 27-30, 1999. The last Phillies catcher to homer in four consecutive games is Darren Daulton from June 7-12, 1992. Rupp is hitting .357 (5-for-14) with one double, three home runs and eight RBIs in three games this month. "One of the things about what Rupp has done is he's drastically changed his approach at the plate and it's paying off for him, which is huge," Mackanin said. "If other guys that need to make an overhaul on their swing would look at what Rupp has accomplished -- and it's all pretty much the same, staying on top of the ball and not dropping the back side and getting underneath the ball. If the other hitters that need to do that would pay attention, it would help them also. "We're trying like hell to get them do that. It's not easily done. But Rupp spent the whole winter believing in that and it's paying off for him." This was the first time Rupp ever hit an odd object in the outfield on a home run. No bulls for a free steak. No "Hit It Here" signs, which the Padres' Wil Myers almost hit in the seventh inning in left field. "I wonder what he would have won," Rupp said.

Preparing For His Debut – Jake Thompson followed the Trade Deadline like most people followed it. He monitored everything on TV and Twitter. Of course, he had particular interest in the speculation because much of it involved him. Most believed that if the Phillies traded a pitcher before Monday's deadline that Thompson would be promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But the Phillies traded nobody, so Thompson stopped thinking about it. But then Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola landed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Phil Klein started in his place Wednesday night, but Thompson got the news that same night that he would take Nola's spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Thompson will make his big league debut Saturday night against the Padres at Petco Park. "It was awesome," Thompson said about the promotion. "Pretty satisfying. I had a different route than most guys my age to be called up having been traded a couple of times, few different stops. But, yeah, it was a really satisfying moment for me." Detroit selected Thompson in the second round of the 2012 Draft. The Tigers traded him to Texas in July 2014 in the Joakim Soria trade. The Rangers traded him to Philadelphia in July 2015 in the Cole Hamels deal. The trade is looking pretty good for both teams. Hamels has pitched well in Texas, while Jerad Eickhoff has fared well in the Phillies' rotation and three of the prospects (Thompson, Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro) are among the top 100 prospects in baseball. Right-hander Alec Asher had been pitching well at Double-A Reading and Triple-A before being suspended for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. "I sure hope it is," Thompson said about the trade being a difference-maker for the organization. "There's a lot of different things that can happen. But looking at the talent they got back in [the trade], they got a lot of young talented guys in it. Hopefully everybody makes it up and sticks and has a long successful career." Thompson is the No. 70 prospect in baseball, according to He went 11-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 21 starts this season with Lehigh Valley. He went 8-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last 11 starts. He feels he is ready to go. "Really after the first month in Triple-A, I had a few starts go my way and I started to build that comfort," Thompson said. "About a month ago, I really started feeling comfortable pitching, regardless of the level. I was really comfortable with myself. "I'll sleep well [Friday night]. [Saturday] I might get a little jittery, but it's still the same game. I have to control the things I can control, keep the ball down in the zone."

Sending A Message – The Phillies' only All-Star has been hard to find lately. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has put Odubel Herrera on the bench in three of the past four games, including Friday night's series opener against the Padres at Petco Park. The Phillies faced left-handers in each those three games, but Herrera's spot on the bench is not only a matchup issue. After all, he started 17 of the team's first 21 games against left-handers this year. Mackanin seems to be sending Herrera a message. "He doesn't look like the same guy right now," Mackanin said. "I'm giving him a little bit of a reprieve here just to back off a little bit and maybe he'll come in and ask me how come he's not playing or maybe he'll take advantage of the time off to clear his head and get back to where he was before." Herrera is hitting .211 (19-for-90) with two doubles, one home run, eight RBIs and a .598 OPS in 24 games since July 6. He has walked eight times and struck out 20 times in that stretch. He hit .305 (96-for-315) with 10 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and an .834 OPS in his first 85 games. He walked 43 times and struck out 65 times in that span. "He's a little less disciplined than he was earlier," Mackanin said. "He's swinging at too many bad pitches." Mackanin said Herrera's struggles could be a focus issue. "It's such a long season and a long grind," Mackanin said. "You've got to be special to be up and post up for every game and some guys can do that and others need a little time. I don't feel players get physically tired at the end of the season; I think they get mentally tired."

Today In Phils History – Harry Wright returned to the dugout on this day in 1890 following an absence of over 2 months due to blindness. 4 years later, on Sherry Magee’s 10th birthday, the stands at the Phillies wooden home park burned down prior to an afternoon game and partially rebuilt for a game on August 18th before being fully rebuilt with steel and brick. Robin Roberts threw a complete game in a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in 1960 while allowing 13 hits all of which were singles. In 1971, manager Frank Lucchesi moved pitcher Bill Wilson to 3B and sent lefty Joe Hoerner to the mound to face Willie Stargell who struck out and allowed Wilson to complete the inning. 3 years later, the Phillies beat the Cubs while only recording a single assist in the process (the 6th time the Phillies had done so in franchise history). Goose Gossage picked up his 300th career save against the Phillies in 1988. The Phillies sell out streak which dated back to July 2009 (257 home games) ended on this day in 2012 and was declared by the team to be the longest such streak in NL history.  

The Phillies are currently 51-60 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 48-61-0 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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