Phillies Notebook: Sandberg balks at Phillies' pitching performance

ASSOCIATED PRESS Marlon Byrd fails to catch ball hit by Braves' Justin Upton that fell for a double in secondinning.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Marlon Byrd fails to catch ball hit by Braves' Justin Upton that fell for a double in secondinning.
Posted: July 22, 2014

ATLANTA - Ryne Sandberg expressed significant frustration with the seven walks and two hit batters that Phillies pitchers placed on base in yesterday's 8-2 loss to Atlanta.

"We basically gave them nine free passes," the manager said, pointing out that five of them went on to score runs.

Four of those free passes were issued by rookie lefty Mario Hollands, whose control has been one of his hallmarks in an excellent rookie season.

Hollands finished June 28 with a 2.10 ERA, 23 strikeouts, 10 walks and two home runs allowed in 30 innings. But he has pitched just three times in the 22 days since, including yesterday. On July 2, he allowed all three hitters he faced to reach base and surrendered a home run. Eleven days later, he allowed four of eight batters to each base, two of whom scored.

"It's tough to tell if he's a little bit rusty, but that comes with the territory of his role," Sandberg said. "There was a stretch where the starters were going longer into the game, then getting to the eighth- and ninth-inning guys, so maybe there is something to learn about how to stay sharp in between outings."

O-ffense

The Phillies managed just three hits off Braves starter Alex Wood, the only extra-base hit a solo home run by John Mayberry with one out in the second inning. Grady Sizemore and Koyie Hill each had singles. Marlon Byrd added his 19th home run of the season in the ninth inning off David Carpenter, perhaps enhancing his trade value even further. Domonic Brown also doubled off of Carpenter, raising his OPS to .614, the highest it has been since April 29, when it was .630.

Over his past 14 games, Brown is 14-for-44 with three extra-base hits, three walks, and 10 strikeouts.

Down 8-1, the Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth inning, but Jimmy Rollins sent a dribbler to the mound that resulted in a 1-2-3 doubleplay, preventing a run from scoring, and Chase Utley flied out to rightfield to end the frame.

Catcher shuffle

Koyie Hill went 2-for-4 in what could be his final game as a Phillie. Backup catcher Wil Nieves is expected to meet the team in Philadelphia after a 10-game rehab stint in the minors, with starting catcher Carlos Ruiz close behind him. Ruiz had the day off yesterday after playing in three straight games at Class A Clearwater as he continues to return from a concussion.

Phillers

Grady Sizemore started in centerfield and went 2-for-4. He is now 10-for-24 with two doubles and two walks since joining the Phillies. "He continues to swing a hot bat," Ryne Sandberg said. "He's been really impressive with his contact." . . . Lefthander Cliff Lee returns to the mound tonight against the Giants. Expect plenty of scouts as teams scurry to assess the health of Lee's elbow in advance of the trade deadline.

More Phillies: Kendrick implodes again.


On Twitter: @ByDavidMurphy

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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