Phillies Notebook: Long games leave Phillies short of relievers

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Ryan Howard reacts after hitting two-run homer to centerfield in fourth inning.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Ryan Howard reacts after hitting two-run homer to centerfield in fourth inning.
Posted: June 03, 2014

HOW SHORTHANDED were the Phillies after back-to-back, 14-inning games? Manager Ryne Sandberg said after yesterday's 4-3 loss to the Mets in 11 innings that he was staying away from four of the eight relievers in his bullpen due to their recent workload.

Jake Diekman threw 30 pitches on Wednesday, 12 on Friday and 21 on Saturday. Antonio Bastardo had thrown in four straight games, logging a total of 67 pitches between Wednesday and Saturday. Mario Hollands had thrown in three straight games. All three of those pitchers are lefty, a significant fact when you consider the Mets' got their winning home run in the 11th from lefty Lucas Duda against righty Phillippe Aumont.

The Phillies were also without righthander Mike Adams, who has not pitched on back-to-back days since mid-May. Adams, who underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason and has said several times that he needs to be honest about the way his body feels, did not pitch on Saturday and informed Sandberg yesterday he was in need of another day of rest.

Cesar Jimenez, Jonathan Papelbon and Justin De Fratus all pitched scoreless innings before Aumont walked eight-hole hitter Travis d'Arnaud and then surrendered a two-run home run to Duda with two outs in the 11th.

Utley available

One player who was available was Chase Utley, but Sandberg did not end up using him, saying he wanted to save the second baseman for a situation when he would not have been walked. Sandberg could have used Utley in two spots in the 10th inning, either pinch-hitting for leadoff man Reid Brignac and then shifting Cesar Hernandez to third base, or pinch-hitting him for the pitcher with one out instead of doing so with light-hitting reserve outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr.

"I was just waiting for a spot where he wouldn't get walked, a man in scoring position," Sandberg said. "Other than the seventh, we did not have that. In a situation where he would actually get pitched to and not be wasted, he was available."

In the seventh, Domonic Brown hit a pinch-hit single with a man on second but was picked off rounding first base.

Ruf sent down

The Phillies' need for bullpen reinforcements led to the departure of first baseman Darin Ruf, who was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

"That was decided yesterday," Sandberg said. "Just to get him a number of at-bats."

Sandberg said the Phillies plan to keep an extra reliever around for the foreseeable future.

Howard homers

First baseman Ryan Howard hit his fourth home run in seven games, taking lefty Jon Niese deep in the fourth inning for a two-run home run that gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead. It was Howard's 11th home run in 205 at-bats this season. He finished last season with 11 home runs in 286 at-bats. Howard has 14 RBI over his last seven games after accumulating 11 RBI in the previous 25 games.

Papelbon strong

Jonathan Papelbon continues to look like the closer of old. With his scoreless inning yesterday, the closer has blanked opponents in 20 of his last 21 outings, allowing just one earned run during that stretch.

Phillers

The Phillies are 1-8 in their last nine home games against the Mets . . . The Phillies are a season-worst six games under .500 . . . The Phillies and Mets are the first teams to play three consecutive games of 11 innings or more since the Mariners and Blue Jays did it in September of 1991.


On Twitter: @ByDavidMurphy

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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