Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rookie Roughed Up In Phillies Loss

GAME RECAP: Padres Beat Phillies 9-7

The Padres didn't give Phillies starter Jake Thompson much of a warm welcome in his Major League debut. San Diego's first three batters reached safely to start the game, and four batters later Christian Bethancourt broke open the scoring with a bases-clearing double, with the Padres going on to win, 9-7. The Padres totaled 14 hits, with leadoff hitter Travis Jankowski continuing to serve as the team's spark plug, with three hits and a career-high four runs. "He's been outstanding," said Padres manager Andy Green. "Loving what he's doing, loving the quality at-bats, loving him shooting balls to left field. The walk in the last at-bat [in the eighth inning] when he recovered from being down, I think 1-2 in the count, to come back, walk, steal a base and then have enough feel on the [Yangervis] Solarte play to come flying across the plate to score. We needed that run." Thompson, the No. 69 prospect in baseball according to, allowed four runs in the first inning and two more in the fifth, when Jankowski and Wil Myers led off with back-to-back doubles. He was taken out after 4 1/3 innings and struck out one batter while walking two and hitting one. "He's 22 years old," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "You can't judge him on this outing." San Diego starter Paul Clemens also threw 4 1/3 innings despite allowing just two earned runs. Green pulled Clemens after he got his first out in the fifth inning, just a half-inning after Clemens grounded into an inning-ending double play on a failed bunt attempt.

  • The best thing that can be said about Thompson's debut is that he will get plenty of opportunities to prove himself the rest of the season. He appeared to rush himself in the first inning as the Padres took a 4-0 lead. He settled down after that, retiring nine of 11 batters at one point. But there is no question he has room to improve after allowing six runs in just 4 1/3 innings. "I wasn't nervous," Thompson said. "I was kind of amped up, instead of being nervous. Especially in that first inning, I just wasn't able to spin the ball for strikes or be able to get fastballs down in the zone."
  • Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has been relegated to bench duty since Tommy Joseph's emergence this season. But Howard quietly has been putting up some pretty solid numbers. He homered in the second and doubled in the fourth and is hitting .310 (18-for-58) with four doubles, six home runs, 10 RBIs and a .690 slugging percentage in 22 games since June 23.
  • "He's making too many mental mistakes. We've got to keep working with him and talking to him about it. He's got so much talent. We have to corral it and figure out a way to get him on track. That's the one thing he's missing right now. He needs to be a little smarter on the bases, and all around baseball. He could be a helluva player." -- Mackanin, on Cesar Hernandez getting caught stealing third in the seventh inning. Hernandez has made 13 outs on the bases this season.
Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (6-12, 3.68 ERA) pitches the series finale against the Padres on Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET at Petco Park. This is the second time Eickhoff will face the Padres. He threw seven scoreless innings against them in April at Citizens Bank Park.


Looking Forward To Second Start – Jake Thompson expected better than this. But if there is any good news following his big league debut Saturday night in a 9-7 loss to the Padres at Petco Park it is that he will get more opportunities to prove why the Phillies coveted him last summer in the Cole Hamels trade and why MLBPipeline considers him the No. 69 prospect in baseball. He allowed seven hits, six runs, two walks and struck out one in just 4 1/3 innings. He became one of six Phillies pitchers since 1913 to allow six or more earned runs in fewer than five innings in his big league debut, according to Baseball Reference. Turk Farrell (1956), Rafael Quirico (1996), Ethan Martin (2013), Severino Gonzalez (2015) and Zach Eflin (2016) are the others. "I wasn't nervous," Thompson said. "I was kind of amped up, instead of being nervous. Especially in that first inning, I just wasn't able to spin the ball for strikes or be able to get fastballs down in the zone." Thompson allowed four runs in the first to hand the Padres a 4-0 lead. "He was overthrowing obviously," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was pumped up. He's got good stuff. He just lacked command, the ball was up in the zone. Kind of typical for a guy making his debut." "I'm sure he had some nerves, a lot of adrenaline," Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp said. "It makes it a little bit tougher to get the ball down, I think. You're probably feeling really fresh. It happens." Thompson settled down a bit after the first, retiring nine of 11 at one point, before he found himself in trouble again in the fifth. Thompson's debut garnered a little more interest than normal because he took a somewhat unusual route to the big leagues. The Tigers selected him in the second round of the 2012 Draft before trading him to Texas in July 2014 in the Joakim Soria trade. The Rangers then traded him to Philadelphia in July 2015 in the Hamels deal. Thompson also had been pitching incredibly well in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before his promotion. He went 11-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 21 starts, including an 8-0 record with a 1.21 ERA in his last 11 starts. "For me, I need to get back into the bullpen and work on spinning the ball," Thompson said. "I wasn't able to spin the ball very well tonight, curveball or slider. Just make sure I can spin those down in the zone consistently." He gets his next opportunity Friday night against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. "He's 22 years old," Mackanin said. "You can't judge him on this outing."

Making Cuts – The Phillies decided Saturday that they needed to see Luis Garcia, Michael Mariot and other relief pitchers in the final two months of the 2016 season more than they needed to see Brett Oberholtzer. The Phils designated Oberholtzer for assignment to make room for right-hander Jake Thompson on the 25-man roster. "He's pitched pretty well lately," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said about Oberholtzer, "but overall, there's other people that need to be seen, given opportunities to make decisions on them. I think there are other people that are more important for us to see to make a determination about whether they fit. And that's what this year is about." Oberholtzer can be traded, claimed off irrevocable outright waivers, assigned to the Minor Leagues or released within the next 10 days. He first must clear waivers to be sent to the Minor Leagues or released. Oberholtzer posted a 2.88 ERA over 25 innings in 13 appearances since June 8 after he posted a 6.75 ERA in 25 1/3 innings in his first 13 appearances. But the Phillies look at Oberholtzer as a long man, while they think other relievers in the system can potentially play more critical roles in the future. The Phillies acquired Oberholtzer in December as part of the Ken Giles trade. He went 11-20 with a 3.94 ERA in 45 appearances (42 starts) with the Astros from 2013-15. Interestingly, Oberholtzer's departure leaves the Phillies without a left-hander on the entire pitching staff. It is unclear if that has ever happened before in franchise history, but it shouldn't hurt the Phillies too much -- Oberholtzer was not particularly effective against lefties. Right-handers have a .747 OPS against him in his career, while lefties have a .776 OPS. "There's not a lot of guys you can really count on," Mackanin said about the organization's left-handed relievers. The Phillies also asked for unconditional release waivers for right-hander Andrew Bailey.

Today In Phils History – In the last at bat of his career in 1893, Frank O’Connor hit a homerun off of Blatimore’s Bill Hawke. In 1942, the Phillies signed free agent Chuck Klein who would wind down his career over the next 3 seasons of his career. The following season, Utility man Glen Stewart hit the only 2 homeruns of his career (742 at bats) against the Giants. Frank Thomas joined the Phillies via trade on this day in 1964. Bob Skinner resigned as manager on this day in 1969 citing a lack of support from the front office regarding discipline of Dick Allen (George Myatt finished the season with his second stint as interim manager). Following a single by Greg Luzinski in the top of the 9th against the Cardinals manager Danny Ozark replaced the slugger with Jim Kaat to pinch run who was later replaced after a double by Jay Johnstone with pinch runner Johnny Oates who scored the winning run. 10 years later, Juan Samuel scored on a 4 base error against the Cardinals but it wasn’t enough as Todd Worrell broke the NL Rookie record with his 23rd save of the season. A decade later, Todd Ziele tied a MLB record by committing 4 errors in a single game while playing 1B against the Braves. 5 years later, Bobby Abreu connects in the 5th inning against San Diego for the 10,000th homerun in franchise history. In 2009, Harry Kalas was posthumously inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.

The Phillies are currently 51-61 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 52-51-0 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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