August 6, 2016 |
The home run that sealed the Phillies' 3-2 loss to San Francisco on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park seemed almost inevitable. The Phillies bullpen - one of the least dependable units in all of baseball - had logged 14 straight scoreless innings. Something had to give, and it did when Denard Span led off the 10th inning by lining a homer to right field off Severino Gonzalez. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin was forced to rely on a thinned bullpen after starter Vince Velasquez lasted just five innings.
July 30, 2016 |
ATLANTA - Six minutes after the first pitch between two rebuilding teams at a soon-to-be-extinct stadium, the Phillies had sent four batters to the plate. All four had scored. This eventual 7-5 win by the Phillies on Thursday night was swiftly captured, but it did not reduce concern over another erratic start by Aaron Nola. Handed a five-run lead before he ever threw a pitch against one of the worst lineups in baseball, Nola slogged through five unspectacular innings. He still earned the win, his first since June 5, back when the pitcher owned a 2.65 ERA and no worries whatsoever.
June 25, 2016 |
MINNEAPOLIS - As Jerad Eickhoff's pitch count mounted Thursday afternoon, every ball he threw carried the weight of a nine-game losing streak and a drained group of pitchers. A rebuilding process guarantees trying times, moments for a young player to separate himself, and that is what Eickhoff has done. The Phillies avoided their worst losing streak in 17 years with a 7-3 win over Minnesota. They have won three of their last 17 games, and Eickhoff was the winning pitcher all three times.
June 18, 2016 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Ethan Pritchett's biggest battle Thursday afternoon may have occurred in Neumann-Goretti's dugout. With Pritchett's pitch count at 119 after six innings against Johnstown's Bishop McCort, Saints coach Kevin Schneider gave serious thought to replacing the senior righthander with closer Jared Healey. "It was a huge fight," Pritchett said. "Me and the other coaches had to convince [Schneider] that I was OK to go back out there. I said to him, 'I'm fine. I'm not coming out.' " Schneider relented, Pritchett retired the side in order on nine pitches in the seventh, and the Saints claimed their first PIAA Class 2A state championship with a 3-0 triumph over the Crimson Crushers.
June 15, 2016 |
TORONTO - Last month, when Jerad Eickhoff threw a slider that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton missed by a foot, Larry Andersen's eyes widened. Andersen - former reliever and minor-league pitching coach, now broadcaster - considers himself a slider connoisseur. When Eickhoff shelved the pitch in a subsequent start, Andersen approached him in the dugout. Eickhoff, who tossed six shutout innings Monday in a 7-0 win over the Blue Jays, had become too predictable as a two-pitch starter.
June 13, 2016 |
WASHINGTON - It is so easy to forget that two Junes ago, Aaron Nola had just signed his first professional contract. He had yet to pitch a game in the minor leagues. The 23-year-old righthander has made the transition from college ace to the baby face of a rebuilding Phillies franchise look so simple. Then, there are moments like Saturday afternoon's 8-0 rout by the Nationals. Nola lasted 32/3 innings, the shortest outing of his 26-start career. Washington batted around in the second inning and pegged him for four runs.
March 19, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Vince Velasquez was in trouble. As his pitch count mounted Thursday in the fifth inning of a 6-1 Phillies loss, his fourth Grapefruit League start neared its conclusion. A single followed by double off the wall put Tampa Bay runners on second and third. Catcher Gabriel Lino trotted to the mound. "Let's just get after it," Velasquez told Lino. "No messing around. Let's just get after it. " The 23-year-old righthander used his secondary pitches to reach two-strike counts.
October 2, 2015 |
DESPITE WATCHING their major league team enter the final month flirting with 100 losses, there has been cautious optimism among Phillies front office executives within the last six weeks or so. The pre-deadline trades of Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ben Revere and Jonathan Papelbon brought in an influx of talent to enrich the farm system. Their optimism was cautious, though, because they understand it takes starting pitching depth to enjoy sustained success at the major league level and, if they evaluated their upper minor league teams with an honest eye, they know there are more than a couple of question marks and few certainties.
September 10, 2015 |
Aaron Nola's rookie season is winding down. But regardless of whether it ends after two or three more starts, it will have more than comfortably reaffirmed the notion that he will be a mainstay in the Phillies' rotation for years to come. Nola pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday night in a 5-0 victory against the Atlanta Braves, lowering the 22-year-old righthander's ERA to 3.56 through 10 major-league starts. Last year's seventh overall draft pick has allowed an impressive 1.14 walks plus hits per inning pitched through 602/3 big-league frames.
September 6, 2015 |
BOSTON - At times, Adam Morgan looked like the youngster fit for his billing as one of the Phillies' top pitching prospects. He mixed up his pitches, commanded corners, and showed poise befitting a more seasoned starter. And at times, he looked like the 25-year-old rookie still finding his way at baseball's top tier. Morgan's quality start came to an abrupt end, as his command faltered as his pitch count ticked higher. It came to a stop after 6 1/3 innings and a career-high six earned runs allowed as the Phillies absorbed a 7-5 loss last night in the first game of their weekend series at Fenway Park.