Sunday, August 28, 2016

Phillies Get Crushed… Again!

GAME RECAP: Mets Murder Phillies 12-1

He had sent Citi Field into delirium once more, and Yoenis Cespedes wanted to show the 35,832 fans his appreciation. Jogging back to the dugout in the fourth inning of the Mets' 12-1 win over the Phillies on Saturday night, his 26th homer of the year in the seats, Cespedes raised both hands to his lips and blew the Mets faithful a kiss. Queens has fallen in love with Yoenis Cespedes over the past 13 months, and with his three-run laser Saturday night, Cespedes set the wheels in motion for another Mets onslaught of the Phillies. "There's some confidence in there right now. Some guys are coming through that hadn't been coming through," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We've been talking endlessly about not getting hits with runners in scoring position; right now we are. It looks like a completely different team." While Noah Syndergaard allowed just two hits through seven innings of one-run ball, the night was less bountiful for Jeremy Hellickson, whose ERA rose from 3.60 to 3.80. He was pulled before the start of the fifth, having already been knocked around for a pair of homers. "I just lost command of pretty much all three pitches tonight," Hellickson said. "I think the two home runs were probably two of the better fastballs that I threw. It's a good lineup. It's hot right now." Philadelphia's bullpen was hardly exempt from the bludgeoning. The Mets pushed their lead to 10 with a six-run seventh inning, which was punctuated by a pinch-hit grand slam off the bat of Kelly Johnson. With the blast, the Mets' 86th at home the season, the team broke the single-season record for home runs at Citi Field, set in 2015. Neil Walker added a solo shot the next inning, giving the Mets four homers, including a grand slam, for the second straight night. "The energy's just different in the room right now," Collins said. With 18 home games remaining, the Mets are on pace for 112 dingers in Queens. Staring down a huge deficit, the Phillies couldn't mount a comeback. Odubel Herrera singled in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies' second hit since the third inning, but they couldn't put up much of a fight. The Cardinals lost, 3-2, to Oakland on Saturday night, meaning the Mets, who have now won six of their last seven games, moved to within 2 1/2 games of the National League's second Wild Card spot.

  • Hellickson has been one of the Phillies' steadiest starters, pitching six or more innings in 15 of his last 18 starts entering the night. But he suffered the second-shortest start of his season Saturday, allowing seven hits and five runs in four innings. He pitched a season-low three innings April 15 against the Nationals. "It was one of those nights," Hellickson said. "I really didn't have much."
  • Galvis hit his 14th homer of the season in the third, hitting a 2-2 curveball from Syndergaard over the right-field wall. Galvis is tied for 13th among big league shortstops in home runs. It was one of two hits Syndergaard allowed. "He was the same as always," Galvis said of Syndergaard's dominance.
Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez (8-6, 4.31 ERA) faces the Mets in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Citi Field at 1:10 p.m. ET. Velasquez has struggled recently, allowing 19 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings in his last three starts. The Phillies are monitoring his workload this season, so this might be one of his final starts of 2016.


Falling Off The Mound – This is not the way the Phillies wanted to enter the final month of the season. After the Mets pounded them Saturday night at Citi Field, 12-1, they find themselves limping into September with just four more games to play in August. The Phillies have lost seven of their last 10, with their starters posting a 6.79 ERA (42 earned runs in 55 2/3 innings) in that stretch. "Tonight was embarrassing," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. But the Phillies' starting pitching problems go back further than that. The rotation has a 6.85 ERA (107 earned runs in 140 2/3 innings) in 27 games since July 27. Incredibly, the Phillies are 13-14 in that stretch. "Bad pitching," Mackanin said. "The funny thing about it is we are 11-11 in the month of August. So it's hard to figure out." Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson allowed five runs in four innings, which was his second-shortest start of the season. Hellickson had pitched six or more innings in 15 of his previous 18 starts. But a two-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the third and three-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth helped to cut his night short. "They're an aggressive lineup," Hellickson said. "They're hot right now. They're not missing too many mistakes, just grinding out at-bats and making us work. When I got ahead I couldn't put them away. Then I fell behind. I had three walks in four innings, which can't happen. It was one of those nights. I really didn't have much. "I just lost command of pretty much all three pitches tonight. I think the two home runs were probably two of the better fastballs that I threw. It's a good lineup. It's hot right now." The Phillies' bullpen took over from there. David Hernandez pitched two scoreless innings before Michael Mariot allowed six runs in the seventh, including a pinch-hit grand slam to Kelly Johnson. Mariot allowed a grand slam to Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley last week. Severino Gonzalez then allowed a solo homer to Neil Walker in the eighth. The Phillies needed to pitch almost perfectly against Mets stud Noah Syndergaard, who allowed just one run -- Freddy Galvis' solo homer to right in the third inning, which actually gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. "He was the same as always," Galvis said of Syndergaard's dominance. Of course, it's not all bad. At 59-70, the Phillies have the 10th-worst record in baseball, and if they finish in the bottom 10, their first-round pick in the 2017 Draft will be protected. That is important because teams with protected picks can sign a free agent that has rejected a qualifying offer without penalty. That could come in handy if the Phillies try to upgrade via free agency in the offseason.

The Shock Fades – A.J. Ellis seemed to be in better spirits Saturday than Thursday, when he learned the Dodgers traded him to the Phillies. Ellis had spent his entire career with Los Angeles, which leads the National League West and has World Series aspirations. But in a flash, Ellis learned his time in L.A. had ended as the Dodgers sent him, a Class A Advanced pitching prospect and a player to be named later to the Phillies for Carlos Ruiz. Not only did Ellis have to leave the only place he had ever played, but he had to join an organization not headed to the postseason. Ellis joined the Phillies before Saturday night's game against the Mets at Citi Field. He said he is getting acclimated to his new reality. "The first 12 hours were definitely the hardest," he said. "Really hard to say goodbye to a lot of relationships I had been blessed to forge for more than a decade. "I told someone earlier on the way in that the waves of emotion are getting farther and farther apart, which is a good thing. To arrive here and arrive in the clubhouse, meeting the staff, I'm starting to feel reenergized, refilled with a sense of purpose as to why I've been placed here, and why this is where I need to be at this time. I'm excited about that." Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he totally understood Ellis' heartbreak at being traded Thursday. "You get traded off a contending team to a non-contender, you can't be happy about that," he said. "But he's over it. He's moving forward." In fact, the Phillies called a special hitters meeting before Saturday's game. The Phillies played six games earlier this month against the Dodgers, and they wanted Ellis to tell Phillies' hitters how the Dodgers attacked them. "I think it would be good for our hitters to hear that from an outside source," Mackanin said. "We were doing some of that with the pitchers out there," said Ellis, who caught a couple bullpen sessions before the game. "We can dig into those conversations and talk to the offensive side of how we wanted to attack them, and as a catcher, things that I've noticed from watching them swing the bats. Maybe shrink the gaps a little bit and create better offensive at-bats. When you have a better understanding of how the opposing team is trying to get you out, it can only be a benefit." Ellis is set to become a free agent after the season, and with Cameron Rupp establishing himself as the No. 1 catcher and catching prospects Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp on the horizon, Ellis might only be with the Phillies until the end of the season. So what has him energized to play these final few weeks, especially considering the dramatic drop he took in the NL standings? "Guys [in Philadelphia] are playing for things," Ellis said. "Guys are playing for their careers. Guys are playing to make their mark in this game and building on the building blocks to create a winning franchise once again in Philadelphia. If I can in some short time here impact some wisdom on those guys, share some of the wisdom along the way that I've picked up from some great mentors I've had in my time in the game, I need to pay it back, from all that's been given to me."

Anticipated Shut Downs – The end is coming for Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez, who pitches Sunday afternoon against the Mets at Citi Field. The end is coming for rookie Jake Thompson, too. The Phillies are monitoring their workloads, and it is expected both will be shut down sometime before the end of the season. "We've talked about it," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. "I haven't been involved in in-depth conversations, but I know at some point Thompson is going to be cut short, and Velasquez is going to be cut short at some point. But it's not an exact science right now. We don't have a definite date yet. Maybe another week. It depends on how many innings they give us now." Once they stop pitching, it would not be a surprise to see right-handers Alec Asher and David Buchanan take their spots in the rotation.

Today In Phils History – The Phillies started quite the streak on this day in 1901 winning the 1st of 10 in a row which they wouldn’t accomplish again until July 1955. For the 2nd time in his career, Rick Wise hit two homeruns in a game (including a grand slam) in 1971 supporting his own effort over the Giants for the win. Greg Golson hit for the cycle at single A Clearwater on this day in 2006. Finally, happy birthday to Tony Gonzalez (1936) and Ryan Madson (1980).  

The Phillies are currently 59-70 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 46-67-0 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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