*** Phillies rally with four runs in bottom of 7th, hold on to defeat Dodgers by 7-6 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park *** Victory gives Phillies a split of the four-game series vs the top team in Major League Baseball *** Phillies are tied for the second NL Wildcard berth *** Visit PHILLIESNATION.com and follow @PhilliesNation on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the Philadelphia Phillies all year long ***

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tigers hold off Phillies on frustrating night for the hosts

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Niko Goodrum's homer powers Tigers past Phillies

The Detroit Tigers (13-14) came into Citizens Bank Park and escaped with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies (16-13) on what was an extremely frustrating Tuesday night for the hosts.
On a night when the Tigers starting pitcher kept handing them scoring chances, the Phillies just couldn’t make him pay.
The host Phillies broke through first by scoring in the bottom of the 1st inning. Andrew McCutchen led off with a base hit off the glove of Tigers second baseman Ronny Rogers. A wild pitch by Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull and a ground out by Bryce Harper move McCutchen to third base.
Then with two outs, Rhys Hoskins beat out an infield single to Rogers, scoring McCutchen. Rogers threw the ball away on the play, allowing Hoskins to reach second, but he was stranded there when Turnbull struck out J.T. Realmuto.
In the top of the 3rd inning the Tigers put up a crooked number, partially thanks to some shoddy defense. After Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez struck out Jeimer Candelario to start the inning, Nick Castellanos lifted a pop-up that second baseman Cesar Hernandez didn’t handle. Castellanos rolled to second base with a double on the play.
Miguel Cabrera cashed in when he followed that up with an RBI single. Niko Goodrum then drove his third home run of the season out to right field to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. It would ultimately prove to be the difference in this ball game.
Velasquez struggled with his command all night in what was by far his worst outing of the season. The right-hander would be pulled with two out in the 4th inning after throwing 99 pitches and walking three batters.
A parade of relievers would keep the Tigers off the board the rest of the way: Edubray RamosJuan NicasioSeranthony DominguezAdam Morgan and Hector Neris combined to allow just one hit and one walk over the final 5.1 innings. They gave the Phillies offense a chance to come back, but that offense continually failed.
For Morgan it was his 15th consecutive appearance without allowing a run to tie the Phillies franchise record. It has been done previously three other times: Ed Roebuck (1964), Rheal Cormier (2006) and J.C. Romero during the 2008 championship season. Should Morgan hold a team scoreless in his next outing the record would be his alone.
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Living legend Miguel Cabrera stops in Philly for a pair

The first-place Philadelphia Phillies (16-12) welcome in the Detroit Tigers (12-14) of the American League Central Division for a quick two-game set beginning on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.
The Tigers are currently tied for third place in the AL Central standings, 3.5 games behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins but a full five back in the loss column.
For Phillies fans who make the trip out to the ballpark or tune in via TV or radio over these next couple of nights there will be very few familiar names in the Tigers lineup or on the mound for Detroit. One name, however, will be familiar to even the most casual fan.
That familiar name belongs to future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. “Miggy” is now in his 17th big-league season and now has 2,704 career hits, 466 home runs, and 1,645 RBIs.
Cabrera was the AL MVP in both 2012 and 2013, and in that 2012 season became the first player in 45 years to win the ‘Triple Crown’ by leading the league in homers, RBIs and batting average in the same year. He has five other Top 5 finishes in the Most Valuable Player voting, including as the 2010 runner-up. Cabrera has won a pair of AL batting titles, is an 11x All-Star, and has seven Silver Slugger Awards to his name.
Against the Phillies over his career, Cabrera has slashed .337/.409/.608 across 92 games and 398 plate appearances. He has 21 homers and 51 extra-base hits against the Phillies. In 38 games at Citizens Bank Park he is slashing .324/.399/.547 with seven home runs. Cabrera has even played in six games at Veteran’s Stadium, where he blasted a pair of home runs.
In their American League games, Cabrera usually serves as the Designated Hitter for the Tigers. However, he has played in the field at first base 10 times already this season, so Phillies fans can expect to see him there in both games this week.

Monday, April 29, 2019

National League East Report 4/22-28

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The Washington Nationals have struggled somewhat thus far

This past week began with the Philadelphia Phillies (16-12) at three games above the .500 mark in first place in the National League East Division standings. They held a one game lead over both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, with the Washington Nationals just 1.5 behind but also just a game out in the loss column.
The week began in disheartening fashion for the Phillies. They dropped their first two games on Monday and Tuesday by a combined 14-1 to the Mets. However, the Fightin’ Phils lived up to that nickname, roaring back to take four of the last five games.
That stretch lifted them four games over the .500 mark and raised their lead in the division to 1.5 over the Mets, though it remains just a game in the loss column. Atlanta has fallen 2.5 and Washington is now 3 games behind the Phillies, both 2 games out in that all-important loss column.
The Phillies will meet the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday of the current week in what is already their second inter-league series of the season. With a win on Tuesday night, the Phillies would equal their best record in the early weeks of the 2019 season by going to five games above that .500 mark. They were at 7-2 back on April 8.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION STANDINGS


EAST DIVISION

    East Division
    TeamWLW-L%GB
    Philadelphia Phillies1713.567--
    Atlanta Braves1515.5002.0
    New York Mets1515.5002.0
    Washington Nationals1217.4144.5
    Miami Marlins921.3008.0

    ATLANTA BRAVES (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Braves began the week by dropping two of three tight games at Great American Ballpark to the host Cincinnati Reds. Then they came back home to Atlanta and surrendered 24 runs in losing two of three to the visiting Colorado Rockies. They salvaged something by scoring three times in the bottom of the 8th to rally to an 8-7 victory on Sunday.
    Offensively the Braves continue to be led by veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman and budding young superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Freeman has a .324/.448/.539 slash line. His five homers and 18 RBIs are both tied for second on the club. Acuna, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, is slashing .289/.410/.526 and leads the club with six homers. He also has 18 RBIs on the year.
    Third baseman Josh Donaldson has begun to heat up, slashing .327/.453/.712 over the last 15 games. He also has five homers and leads the Braves with 13 extra-base hits. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis is slashing .333/.407/.490 with 11 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has a dozen extra-base hits and his 22 RBIs lead the team.
    The Braves two-headed catching combo has produced well for the club. Righty-hitting Tyler Flowers is slashing .367/.426/.592 with three homers in 54 plate appearances. The lefty-hitting Brian McCann is hitting .270 with a .364 OBP and has driven in eight runs over 44 plate appearances.
    For all the good that the offense has produced, the pitching has been letting the Braves down thus far. A bright spot has been 25-year-old lefty Max Fried. The southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.085 WHIP, allowing 27 hits over 31.1 innings while striking out 26 and walking seven.
    Righty reliever Luke Jackson has been strong out of the bullpen for manager Brian Snitker. The 27-year-old has allowed 11 hits over 14 innings across 13 appearances with a 15/6 K:BB ratio.
    Key injuries: That bullpen has lost four key members to the Injured List. Lefties Johnny Venters and Jesse Biddle and right-handers Darren O’Day and Arodys Vizcaino. The latter is done for the season following should surgery.
    Upcoming: Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres come to Atlanta for a four-game series beginning Monday night. The Braves will then hit the road for a 10-game road trip, one of two of that length that they will see this season. It begins next weekend with a visit to Miami for three games, then continues out west to visit the Dodgers and Diamondbacks next week.

    MIAMI MARLINS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Marlins are the least consequential and yet in some ways the most pivotal team in the division. They are going to finish in last place, barring some sort of major miracle that would need to include any of the other four teams suffering a series of major lengthy injuries.
    However, the Fish have already done some damage, taking two of three from the Nationals last weekend. They have losing records against the Phillies (2-5), Mets (0-3) and Braves (1-2) to this point. If the Marlins can find a way to win frequently against any of those teams it would be a major crippling blow.
    This past week, Miami started solidly enough, capturing two of the first three games. They split a quick two-game trip to Cleveland and won the opener against the Phillies. But then the Phils roared back to sweep the final three of their four-game series this weekend.
    The Marlins have gotten a strong start to the year from catcher Jorge Alfaro, who is slashing .297/.342/.500 and leading the club with five home runs. Veteran left fielder Curtis Granderson leads the team with 11 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
    And that’s about it for the Miami offense, which has pretty much been putrid on every day of the week other than Saturdays. For some odd reason the Marlins become competitive on that day. They were 4-0 over the first four Saturdays of the season including division wins over the Braves, Phillies and Nationals. The Phils finally put an end to that streak this weekend, but only after watching the Marlins roar back from a 10-1 deficit to make it a 10-9 game at one point.
    The Miami staff has received a strong season thus far from lefty starter Caleb Smith, who is 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.828 WHIP over his first five starts. He has allowed just 17 hits over 29 innings with a 37/7 K:BB ratio, and has tossed a pair of gems against the Phillies.
    The Marlins bullpen has received mostly strong work from a trio of right-handers in Tayron Guerrero, Nick Anderson and Tyler Kinley. Those three have combined to allow just 27 hits over 38.1 innings with a 57/21 K:BB ratio. Veteran closer Sergio Romo has four saves and was perfect in his last three opportunities.
    Key injuries: Veteran infielder Neil Walker pinch-hit in the final two games against the Phillies this past weekend. He has been battling hamstring tightness but remains available. The Marlins have otherwise been one of the healthiest teams in baseball over the first five weeks of the season.
    Upcoming: The Marlins are home in Marlins Park this week, hosting the Cleveland Indians for a pair on Tuesday and Wednesday after visiting Cleveland last week. Then they welcome in the division-rival Atlanta Braves for a three-game set next weekend.

    NEW YORK METS (3 – 3)

    Summary: The Mets pulled away from the Milwaukee Brewers late on Sunday to salvage the final game of their weekend series and get back above the .500 mark, staying within a game of the Phillies in the standings.
    New York opened the week by taking two of the three from the Phils but then dropped two of three to the Brew Crew. They are in the midst of a 10-game home stand that continues with four this week against the Cincinnati Reds.
    The Mets offense continues to be led by the National League’s leading Rookie of the Year candidate, first baseman Pete Alonso. The 24-year-old is slashing .306/.398/684 and leads the club with nine homers, 24 RBIs, 19 extra-base hits, and 20 runs scored.
    Right fielder Michael Conforto is second on the team with six home runs and 13 extra-base hits. Catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Amed Rosario are each second on the club with 16 RBIs. Left fielder Jeff McNeil is hitting .355 with a .434 OBP and nine extra-base hits.
    On the mound, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have been the surprise leaders of the rotation. The performances of the Noah Syndergaard and Jake deGrom ace duo have been puzzling. Those two have combined to surrender 66 hits over 60 innings including 10 home runs, and they have walked 10 batters apiece.
    Closer Edwin Diaz remains perhaps the best in the game. He has eight saves over a dozen appearances with a 20/2 K:BB ratio over 10.2 innings. Right-hander Seth Lugo has also been solid, but the rest of the Mets bullpen has been a mess.
    Key injuries: Second baseman Robinson Cano was hit on the hand by a pitch from newly signed Milwaukee pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Sunday and had to leave the game early. Initial x-rays reportedly came back negative but he will undergo an MRI today before the club decides how to proceed.
    Infielder Jed Lowrie remains out with a knee injury and hopes to return over the next week or two. Lefty reliever Justin Wilson had soreness in his pitching elbow and an MRI came back clean. He could return later this week. There remains no timetable on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who could return later this season but could also miss the year entirely.
    Upcoming: After hosing the Cincinnati Reds for four games at Citi Field to open the week, the Mets go on the road for a two-city trip that starts with three games next weekend in Milwaukee against the Brewers and then continues out in San Diego to start next week.

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Nationals dropped two of three to the Rockies at Coors Field to open the week, then returned home and again lost two of three games, this time to the visiting San Diego Padres.
    A big factor this past week for the Nationals was the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon to an injury that lingered. He was hit on the elbow by a pitch last weekend, sat out a few games, and then tried to return on Friday. After playing that night, the elbow flared up again.
    Bottom line, the club’s top hitter missed most of the action this past week. Rendon has slashed .356/.442/.740 over his first 86 plate appearances. His six homers are tied for the club lead, his 18 RBIs are second, and he leads the Nats with 16 extra-base hits and 21 runs scored.
    The two young outfielders who the club has hoped would step up and ease the transition away from Bryce Harper have been a mixed bag to this point. 20-year-old left fielder Juan Soto, last year’s runner-up to Acuna in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, is hitting .255 with a .376 OBP and is tied for the club lead with six homers while leading the Nats with 22 RBIs.
    22-year-old center fielder Victor Robles is hitting just .265 with four homers and 11 RBIs, though he does have a dozen extra-base hits. He is second on the club in that category and with his 19 runs scored behind only Rendon.
    Howie Kendrick has filled in well as a back-up at both third and second bases. The 35-year-old, 14-year veteran is slashing .333/.421/.667 with four homers, seven extra-base hits and 13 RBIs over 57 plate appearances. The Nationals have called up one of their top prospects, shortstop Carter Kieboom, to try and bridge the gap with the injuries to Turner and Rendon.
    On the mound, the club’s big free agent signings have been a split decision. Lefty Patrick Corbin has been the club’s most consistently strong starting pitcher. He is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 0.918 WHIP, allowing 24 hits over 32.2 innings with a 39/6 K:BB across his first five starts.
    However, Anibal Sanchez (0-3) has allowed 32 hits and walked 16 over his first five starts and 27 innings with the club. His rotation spot could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t straighten out and get better results quickly. Manager Dave Martinez has a number of options waiting for a shot, including Erick Fedde and Joe Ross.
    Veterans workhorses Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg have been dominant at times, but both have also struggled on a couple of occasions as well. Combining with Corbin, they give the Nationals a top three in the rotation that, assuming health, should keep them in the race all year.
    In the bullpen, closer Sean Doolittle has been strong. That’s about it. The rest of the pen group has largely been a mess. Fedde was called up from the minors to help out there, but he could end up in the rotation at some point.
    Key injuries: Getting Rendon straightened out quickly would be a huge plus for a lineup that is already missing star shortstop Trea Turner. However, Rendon may yet require an IL stint. Turner is out still after breaking a finger on a bunt attempt against the Phillies a few weeks ago. He is expected to be out anywhere from four to six more weeks.
    Veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was just placed on the Injured List, presenting the lineup with another setback. He is suffering from plantar fasciatis. Relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Koda Glover are also on the IL with no return ETA.
    Upcoming: The Nats open a four-game home set with the Saint Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on Monday night. They will then embark on a 10-game road trip beginning with a visit to Citizens Bank Park for next weekend. That tough trip will continue next week with visits to the Brewers and Dodgers.

    Sunday, April 28, 2019

    Zach Eflin tosses first Phillies complete game victory in nearly three years

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    The Phillies rode a Zach Eflin gem to victory

    After losing the opener on Thursday night in heartbreaking fashion, the Philadelphia Phillies needed to sweep the next three in a row in order to win this four-game weekend series. Sweep they did, finishing things off with a big 5-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
    The Phillies got a complete game gem from starting pitcher Zach Eflin, who scattered seven hits and walked no one while striking out three Marlins batters.
    It was the first official complete game by a Phillies starting pitcher since Ben Lively was credited with one in an eight-inning performance during a 3-2 loss at Washington on September 10, 2017.
    This was the first complete game victory by a Phillies pitcher since Jeremy Hellickson shut the Marlins out on three hits back on September 17, 2016. Coming at the end of a long, wild 17-game stretch without a day off, the outing by Eflin came at a great time for a tired, battered bullpen.
    The Phillies (16-12) continue to lead the National League East Division standings while the visiting Miami Marlins (8-20) sit at the bottom of the division, where they are likely to remain for the rest of the year.
    In the bottom of the 1st inning the Phillies drew first blood when Bryce Harper drew a two-out walk and came all the way around on a double by Rhys Hoskins.

    Phillies will try to take the series with Fish on Sunday

    Phillies wrap Marlins series in South Philly
    After the first-place Philadelphia Phillies (15-12) dropped the opener of this four-game series with the last-place Miami Marlins (8-19), an unlikely and troubling scenario was presenting itself.
    The Phillies roster was noticeably improved this past off-season by an influx of free agents and trade acquisitions. Much was expected of a team that was viewed as a legitimate contender, and they got off to a hot start.
    But that loss in the series opener left the Phillies just a game over the .500 mark and struggling. They had lost six of their previous eight games and had suffered a series of recent injuries that seemed to sap the life out of the squad.
    In order to win a division crown or a Wildcard playoff berth, teams are going to need to find a way to overcome injuries and other challenges. They are going to have to win series. And they are especially going to have to win the series that they are supposed to win.
    This series against a bottom-dweller team at home was one that the Phillies needed to win, injuries or not. Losing the opener meant that in order to accomplish that, the club would have to capture three straight.
    Well, we are almost there. The Phillies have recovered to win on Friday and Saturday nights, setting up the chance to win the series with a Sunday afternoon victory.
    They won on Saturday night after building up what seemed to be an insurmountable 10-1 lead after five innings. But the Marlins, who have made an early-season habit of playing their best baseball on Saturdays, roared back to cut the deficit to just 10-9. 
    Rhys Hoskins stepped up with a huge two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to clinch a 12-9 victory, setting up this Sunday opportunity.
    Phillies shortstop Jean Segura, playing in his first game since being activated from the Injured List, was literally knocked out of the game on Saturday night when he was hit in the head by a pitch from Marlins starter Trevor Richards. His initial concussion examination came back negative, and after a re-evaluation this morning, Segura was cleared to play.
    Phillies Nation wishes public address announcer Dan Baker well. An undisclosed illness caused Baker to miss his first game since Citizens Bank Park opened back in 2004. Generations of fans have listened as he introduced lineups, served as emcee for many events, and made numerous other announcements both at Veteran’s Stadium and CBP since 1972.
    The Phillies currently are the only team in the National League East Division standings with a winning record. They hold a 1.5 game lead on the New York Mets, one game in the loss column. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals are both two games back in the loss column.

    Saturday, April 27, 2019

    Late blast from Rhys Hoskins gives Phillies a shootout win over Marlins

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    Rhys Hoskins two-run 8th inning homer clinched Saturday's win

    The Philadelphia Phillies (15 – 12) and Miami Marlins (8 – 19) engaged in a wild one down in South Philly on Saturday night. In the end, the Phillies would come out on top at Citizens Bank Park by a 12-9 score, but not before sweating out the end of what looked early-on as if it would be a blowout for the home team.
    The Phillies put up crooked numbers in both the 2nd and 5th innings to blow out to a 10-1 lead over the first half of the contest. Nick Williams blasted his first home run of the season, a solo shot with one out in the second to get the scoring started.
    Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco followed Williams with singles, and starting pitcher Jake Arrieta bunted them over into scoring position with two outs. A passed ball by Jorge Alfaro allowed Hernandez to score to make it a 2-0 game.
    Andrew McCutchen then drew a walk from Marlins starter Trevor Richards. That was followed by a scary moment as shortstop Jean Segura, just activated today after a stint on the Injured List, was plunked on the head. He walked off under his own power and was replaced by Sean RodriguezBryce Harper then ripped a two-run double to right, scoring both Franco and McCutchen to give the Phillies an early 4-0 lead.

    Phillies need to win this weekend series against the Marlins

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    Winning this weekend series at home is important for the Phillies

    The Philadelphia Phillies (14 – 12) will host the Miami Marlins (8 – 18) on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Parkin South Philadelphia. This will be the third game of a four-game weekend set and the sixth overall meeting here in the early part of the season between the two divisional rivals.
    Last night’s 4-0 victory left the Phillies alone in first place in the National League East Division standings. Meanwhile, Miami enters the contest with the worst record in the NL, tied with the Kansas City Royals for the worst record in all of Major League Baseball.
    The Phillies really need to start taking advantage of teams like the Marlins, especially at home, winning series and putting runs on the board. After dropping the opener, the only way that the Phillies can win this particular series will be to capture both tonight and Sunday afternoon’s contests.
    After this weekend, three of the next four series will be against teams who currently sport losing marks. But a glance forward reveals that much of the Phillies first-half schedule right through the MLB All-Star break is filled with tough opponents and/or divisional series and not too many games against non-contenders.
    The Phillies will have enjoyed 17 home games by the time the month of April ends next Tuesday. That will be the most home dates the team will play during any calendar month this season: May (14), June (13), July (12), August (15), September (10) and then hopefully at least a handful in October.
    Saturday night’s weather is expected to be sunny at the 6:05 pm first pitch time and right through sundown, then remaining clear with a near 0% chance of rain the entire night. It has been a windy day in Philly and will be breezy at the start, with winds around 15 mph out of the WNW. Those will diminish by about three mph with each passing hour, and the 62 degree first-pitch temperature will drop by about one degree per hour.

    Friday, April 26, 2019

    Jerad Eickhoff pitches Phillies to Friday night victory over Marlins

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    Phillies ride brilliant Jerad Eickhoff outing to victory

    The Philadelphia Phillies (14-12) road a dynamic performance from starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff and a trio of home runs to a 4-0 victory over the National League East Division rival Miami Marlins (8-18) at a soggy, windy Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.
    With the win, the two teams have split the first two games of a four-game weekend series in South Philly. The Phillies bats only recorded six hits on the night against Marlins pitching. But three of the hits left the yard and Eickhoff and the bullpen ensured it would be enough.
    J.T. Realmuto put the Phillies on the board first with a one-out home run to right-center field off Marlins starter Jose Urena in the bottom of the 1st inning.
    In the bottom of the 4th, Maikel Franco drove an offering from Urena out to the opposite field for a 2-0 lead. The blasts were the fourth on the season for Realmuto and the seventh for Franco.
    Then in the home 8th, Realmuto drew a one-out walk. Bryce Harper then stepped up and absolutely crushed a two-strike, 88 mph slider from Marlins reliever Tyler Kinley into the right field upper deck for his 6th home run on the season. The two-run blast extended the Phillies lead out to the final 4-0 margin.