Thursday, September 8, 2016

Phillies Bats Return To Silence In South Florida

GAME RECAP: Marlins Silence Phillies 6-0

A couple of regulars returning from injury helped the Marlins finally have some answers for Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour were back in the lineup, and the two contributed at the plate in Miami's 6-0 win over Philadelphia at Marlins Park on Wednesday night. Ozuna had a double and a single and scored twice, while Bour singled and had a productive out that helped set up a run in the second inning. Backed with some early support, Andrew Cashner tossed 5 1/3 strong innings and collected his first victory since being acquired by the Marlins from the Padres in late July. "It's a different feeling, for sure, and you forget what it looks like," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Bour and Ozuna returning. "J.B. has been out so long. It just changes things around." Bour was making his first start since July 2, when he sustained a right ankle sprain, and Ozuna had been out since Aug. 31 with a bruised left wrist. "Honestly, you can't ask for much better," Bour said. "I was able to go out there and put together some quality at-bats and just help the team." Martin Prado and Christian Yelich added back-to-back RBI doubles in the seventh inning to break open a six-run lead. The Marlins' 10th shutout of the season snapped their five-game losing streak and moved them closer to .500 (69-71) as they look to make a late charge and chip away in the National League Wild Card chase. Miami sits five games behind St. Louis for the second spot. Hellickson was 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this year before he allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits with one strikeout in six innings. "He threw OK. Just wasn't as sharp as he has been most of the year," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, giving him 3,021 in his MLB career, which moves him into 26th place all-time, ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (3,020), according to Elias Sports Bureau.

  • Just like Tuesday night, the Phillies opened the game with their first two batters reaching base. However, that's where the similarities ended. While both scored Tuesday to help lift the Phils to a 4-3 win, this time both Cesar Hernandez, who singled, and Aaron Altherr, who reached on a fielder's choice, were stranded. The Phils entered Tuesday with only 46 runs scored in the first inning, the lowest total in the Major Leagues. "It's frustrating," Mackanin said. "We've been going through that for quite a while. We just need to be better at it. The categories in hitting, we're at the bottom: slugging, doubles, hits, runs. There's your story right there."
  • Left-handed reliever Patrick Schuster made his Phillies debut in the seventh inning, facing three batters, two of them lefties. After walking the first batter he faced on four pitches, Schuster settled down to retire left-handed Dee Gordon and Ichiro. Getting out left-handed batters is likely the role Schuster will have in Philadelphia's bullpen. "He's funky," Mackanin said. "I asked [catcher A.J. Ellis] what it looked like from behind the plate. He said, '[Schuster] could be tough on lefties.' It boils down to throwing strikes. I'm happy I got to see him. Down the stretch, I'm going to try to see him a little bit more. We need a situational lefty."
  • The Eastern League named Reading outfielder Dylan Cozens, the Phillies' No. 7 prospect according to, as the league MVP on Wednesday. The 22-year-old Cozens hit .276 with 40 homers and 125 RBIs. He also scored 106 runs and had a .591 slugging percentage. Cozens led all Minor League players in homers and RBIs this season, and is just the second Phillies Minor League player since 1963 to reach 40-plus home runs. Ryan Howard accomplished the feat with 46 homers in 2004. In addition, first baseman Rhys Hoskins was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year, while Dusty Wathan earned Manager of the Year honors. Hoskins hit .281 with 38 homers and 116 RBIs.
Alec Asher takes the mound in the opener of a four-game series at Washington on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Called up on Tuesday, Asher is making his first big league start of the season after going 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA in seven starts last season with the Phillies.


Costly Mistakes – Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson had pretty much owned the Marlins' lineup until a 6-0 loss in Wednesday night's series finale at Marlins Park. Hellickson was 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA over four starts against Miami this season. He had allowed just 19 hits and six runs over 25 1/3 innings while striking out 17. But Wednesday was a different story. Hellickson gave up nine hits over six innings, allowing four runs (three earned). He struck out just one. The Marlins managed to salvage one of the three games in the series, scoring a run in each of the first two innings to put the pressure on a Phillies team struggling to score. In the first, Hellickson gave up a one-out triple to Ichiro Suzuki, who scored the first run of the game, and then yielded a leadoff double in the second inning to Marcell Ozuna, who also scored. "I made too many mistakes early in the count, especially the first couple of innings; one to Ichiro just a lazy changeup, and Ozuna the next inning, you can't give up extra-base hits to lead off innings," Hellickson said. In four previous starts in Miami, Hellickson was 0-0 with a 2.49 ERA, and over eight previous career starts, Hellickson was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA against the Fish. He struck out 33 and walked 12 in 48 innings. "You've just got to battle," Hellickson said. "Not every game's going to go how you want it. You've got to just keep grinding, keep making good pitches. Tonight was an example of that." He yielded single runs in the fifth and sixth innings against the team with which he has somewhat of a history. "It's my fifth start against them [this year]," he said. "So I have an idea what I want to do, they have an idea of what I want to do. I just left too many balls up there early in the game." But the Phillies didn't offer up any help offensively. They were shut out for the ninth time this season, and fourth over their last 15 games.

A Little Rest – Maikel Franco was not in the Phillies' starting lineup on Wednesday night at Marlins Park. The 24-year-old slugging third baseman, a cornerstone of Philadelphia's rebuilding process, needed a break perhaps physically as well as mentally. Franco jammed his wrist swinging the bat during his second plate appearance in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Marlins. He didn't take batting practice before Wednesday's game, but remained available for pinch-hit duty, according to Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. It's the first game Franco has not started since late July. Andres Blanco, who was activated on Friday from the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left index finger, took Franco's place at third base. Blanco was originally placed on the DL on July 25 and hadn't played since. It marked Blanco's 29th start this season, and 10th at third base. He started 13 games at second base, five at shortstop and one at first base. "I'm just going to back off, just to let this settle down on his hand and to give him a blow, because he's obviously pressing, getting a little frustrated," Mackanin said of Franco's day off. Franco is 0-for-8 over the first two games of the road trip in Miami, and has gone hitless in five of his last eight games. Struggling during the recent stretch, Franco is hitting just .182 in his last 33 at-bats. He's still the power hitter the Phils are looking for at the hot corner. Franco leads the team with 22 homers, 73 RBIs, 44 extra-base hits and 212 total bases. He's the first Phillies third baseman to hit 20 homers in one season since Scott Rolen (25) in 2001. However, things have not been going well lately. Franco hasn't hit a home run since Aug. 18, and he has just one RBI in his last 14 games, with an extra-base hit in just one of those games.

Today In Phils History – Former Phillies Joe Oeschger stuck out 3 Phillies on 9 pitches in 1921 while with the Braves but the Phillies storm back in the 9th with 8 runs to win the game. 5 years later, for the 3rd time in his career, Cy Williams hit a two out game winning grand slam. In 1954, Richie Ashburn fouled off 14 full count pitches before earning the walk against the Reds. In 1963, Warren Spahn reached the 20 win mark in a win over the Phillies for the 13th time in his career and, in the process, set the record for the oldest pitcher to reach the milestone (43). Juan Samuel hit his 7th career leadoff homerun in 1987 setting a new franchise record. With his debut in 1996, Calvin Maduro became the 1st native of Aruba to pitch in MLB. 2 years later, 3 different Phillies (Rico Brogna, Kevin Sefcik, and Bobby Estalella) hit 2 homeruns against the Mets with Marlon Anderson also going deep during the contest in his 1st MLB at bat and setting a new team record for homeruns in a single game (7). The Phillies beat the nationals 5-3 in 2009 with all of their runs coming from solo homeruns to set a new franchise mark. 4 years later, Cole Hamels surrendered 2 hits over 8 innings with both being homeruns by the Braves Evan Gattis (the 1st traveling a CBP record 486 feet). Other notable debuts on this day include Jason Grimsley (1989), Kim Batiste (1991), and Marlon Byrd (2002).

The Phillies are currently 62-77 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 62-50-0 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.

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