The Phillies Week in Review, everything you need to know about the week that was for the Philadelphia Phillies 2016 season.
2016 Phillies – Week in Review – Week 3 – 4/18-4/24/16
Humbled, but resilient, after their weekender against the Nationals, the Phillies dug in for three with the New York Mets. The Mets’ bats had awakened in Cleveland over the last three games. So, it would be up to the Phils’ surprising starting rotation to keep them in check.
What’s that old saying … ‘momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher’? Something like that. Anyway, coming off their dramatic walk-off against the division-leading Nationals, Jerad Eickhoff was in charge of the momentum on Monday. He fanned nine Mets over seven innings allowing only two runs. But he exited trailing 2-1 thanks to Mets starter Noah “Thor” Syndergaard. Odubel Herrera’s RBI single in the third was his only blemish. The Phillies bullpen, which had found a decent rhythm after their clumsy start, allowed solo home runs to Lucas Duda, Neil Walker and David Wright that put the game out of reach. Mets, 5 – Phillies, 2
Fans throughout the Delaware Valley had been anxiously awaiting Vincent Velasquez’ encore performance. The rookie, acquired in the Ken Giles deal over the winter, had made national headlines with his dominating, 16-strikeout blanking of the San Diego Padres. There were whispers that the newly christened ‘Vinny from Philly’ may have been fighting an illness. But, he took the ball like a pro.
Based on the first inning, it was hard to say if the kid had it or not. He struck out the side. But, there was a double by Wright and a two-run shot by Michael Conforto mixed in. Those were the first runs he had allowed as a major leaguer … they wouldn’t be the last. In the third, Yoenis Cespedes thumped a three-run bomb to make it 5-0. Velasquez was lifted with one out in the fifth, there were two men on and Conforto and Cespedes due up. Elvis Araujo picked up his starter and finished the inning effectively. From there, long man Brett Oberholtzer took over and allowed home runs to Walker, Duda and again to Walker to make it 9-0. Why they gave that guy Roy Halladay’s #34 is well beyond the understanding of most Phillies’ fans. In the end, it was their fourth loss in five days and the home stand which began three up and one down was slipping away. Mets, 11 – Phillies 1
Struggling lefty reliever Jeff Russell was designated for assignment and sent to AAA Lehigh Valley. Local boy Andrew Bailey will take his place in the bullpen.
In the series finale, the Phils answered two second inning runs with a two-run Freddy Galvis dinger in their half of the inning. They held a 3-2 lead in the fifth when Cespedes and Duda went back-to-back, chasing starter Jeremy Hellickson. Hector Neris and Dalier Hinojosa closed down the New York bats while the home team worked on tying things up against their nemesis Bartolo Colon. The ageless (and largely formless) Colon left a 4-3 lead to the Mets’ pen. The bottom of the lineup managed to scratch out a tying run in the seventh when Peter Bourjos singled in David Lough and the home crowd would get to see some bonus baseball. Jeanmar Gomez quieted the visitors in the 10th & 11th, allowing the offense to walk it off in the bottom of the 11th when Freddy Galvis, who had doubled, scored on Bourjos second RBI knock of the night. Phillies, 5 – Mets, 4
The day off may look like just another travel day for the team, when you see it on the schedule. But, let’s take a moment to recognize the efforts of the hospitality and guest services crew at CBP. For many of them, this is a second job. Still others are retired and of advancing years. They‘re all there for us, game in and game out, with a friendly chat on an elevator, a seat-drying towel on a misty night or even a high five at the top of the steps after a win. After a home stand of 10 games, with the final game going extra innings, they’ve earned the rest they’ll get over the next week. Thanks for all that you do, CBPeeps!
5-6-7-8 … Schlemiel, Schlomozzle, Hasenpfeffer, Incorporated … Let’s go to Milwaukee!!!
A weekend at Miller Park meant dealing with Ryan Braun, an absolute Phillie killer (.387, 20 HR, 52 RBI in 58 games) whose production has been called into question since he narrowly avoided a PED-related suspension on a technicality a few years ago.
After allowing a first inning run, Aaron Nola found a groove. He struck out seven Brewers in seven innings. Meanwhile, Mikael Franco reminded the league what can happen if you choose to pitch to him. He second-year slugger launched two taters and drove in three runs as the Phils kicked off the trip with a fairly comfortable win. Phillies, 5 – Brewers, 2
Everyone’s favorite “Doc-elganger”, Charlie Morton surrendered an RBI hit to Jonathan Lucroy in the bottom of the first. The Brewers catcher hits like Babe Ruth against Philadelphia and like Ruth Bader Ginsburg against the rest of the league. In the top of the second, Morton laid down a sacrifice bunt after a Tyler Goeddel single started the inning. Milwaukee pitcher Chase Anderson bounded off the mound and fielded the bunt quickly and cleanly enough to get Goeddel at second. In the meantime, Morton had tumbled to the ground after an awkward misstep caused him to hyperextend his left leg. The Brewers completed the 1-6-4 double play and Morton was helped off the field with a hamstring injury. Oberholtzer replaced him and racked up two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 second inning. The offense quickly rewarded his effectiveness with three runs in the top of the third. The Brew Crew answered immediately with three runs of their own, the big blow was a two-run shot by Bugeyes McBigcheater. Not to be outdone, Franco blasted a three-run blast in the fourth to restore the visitors’ lead at 6-4. It was 7-6 in the top of the ninth when Cesar Hernandez doubled, scoring Carlos Ruiz. Three pitches later he waltzed home when Herrera went deep for the second time this year. Oberholtzer, who allowed three runs in two innings of work, was awarded the win, his first as a Phillie. Phillies, 10 – Brewers, 6
It looks as though Morton’s injury will cost him a few starts. Lefty Adam Morgan is expected to fill in the rotation. But, reliever Luis Garcia will bolster the bullpen until Morgan’s turn comes up.
Here at The Cave, we’re starting to worry that Jerad Eickhoff is becoming the ‘no help from the offense’ guy on this team. While he has been unhittable in spurts, his mistakes have proven lethal due to the lack of support. He entered the series finale with a 1-2 record, a 1.89 ERA and 21 K in 19 IP.
Eickhoff took matters into his own hands with an RBI single in the second inning and he breezed through the first three innings on the hill striking out four Brewers along the way. But, in the bottom of the fourth, our old friend Baron Fisheyes von Steroid took him deep as the Brewers tied the game at 2-2. Still tied in the sixth, Cameron Rupp and Hernandez slapped RBI doubles to make it 4-2. In the bottom of the inning, diminutive second baseman Scooter Gennett drove the first pitch the other way off the back wall of the bullpen. Eickhoff never recovered. Four of the next five hitters reached and three of them scored. Now, trailing 6-4, he exited as Neris took over. Neris allowed a homer to pinch hitter Alex Presley (his first runs allowed of the season) and the six-run sixth inning would end the Phillies’ modest three game winning streak. Brewers, 8 – Phillies, 5
To their credit, this team just keeps coming. For the most part, their starters are keeping them in games and the bullpen is finding its way. On the nights that the bats cooperate, they are a decent team. But, when they don’t hit …
Looking ahead –
Three games in the nation’s capital, where they are 14-24 over the last four seasons. Velasquez will be bouncing back from a disappointing start for the first time. Pete Mackanin’s next win will be his 100th as a major league manager. Then, three at home against the Cleveland Indians.
Tony LaRussa of the week –
Starting with Wednesday’s walk-off win against the Mets, Manager Pete Mackanin has been slotting his pitcher in the #8 position in his lineup. Since this has come into vogue, there has been no statistical advantage or disadvantage proven for the teams that have tried it. So far, Mackanin’s team is 2-2. But, they have averaged a little over six runs in those our games. If we had to guess, we’d say this little gambit is going to stick around for a while.
Walker of the Week –
One of the issues that plagued Odubel Herrera during last season was a lack of patience at the plate. The fact that he drew only 28 walks in more than 500 trips to the plate kept him out of the lead-off spot when he seemed a natural for it by all other metrics. At close of business Sunday, he was averaging almost five pitches seen per at-bat (tops in the majors and a full pitch better than the league average) and had drawn 17 walks (more than anyone in the league not named Jose Bautista or Paul Goldschmidt). His streak of 16 games reaching base safely is nearing his 18-gamer from last year and it has earned him a promotion to the top of the lineup.