Your Philadelphia Phillies continued their short road trip after a much needed rest day – only their 2nd since the day after the opener in Cincinnati (2 weeks before they have another barring rain-outs) – and were coming off their series win against the Milwaukee Brewers. They faced one of the best pitching staffs in the league in the Washington Natinals including the 1st game starter Max Scherzer (2-1 4.32 ERA), and their seemingly unhittable bullpen. This series, at least would put that to rest. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez (2-1 .93 ERA) was looking to bounce back from his last outing against the New York Mets where he gave up his 1st 2 ER of the season. Andres Blanco was the man of the match in the 1st game eventually going 3/4, w/ a walk, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored but it was his 1st inning game of cat and mouse w/ Scherzer that really set the tone for this one. After OBP Machine Odubel Herrera (more on him in the notes section below) worked yet another walk to lead off the game, and w/ the Nats hurler spending an inordinate amount of time holding the ball to keep El Torito @ 1st, Blanco further flustered Scherzer by calling time twice and then smacked an 0-1 pitch for a 2 run line drive over the CF wall. His next AB was 9 pitches before hitting into a DP. He also singled on the 1st pitch his 3rd AB off Scherzer. “He feels comfortable on the mound and I want to feel comfortable at the plate, too,” Blanco said after the game. “It’s baseball. It’s not something I’m just doing because I’m Blanco. Buddy, I’m not playing every day. Let me get comfortable, too. Yeah, take time out. I have a big high kick. Maybe his biggest contribution of the night though, was his double and then scoring the go-ahead run in the seventh (after the Nats had rallied to tie it up in back in the 5th) against Oliver Perez, as Maikel Franco followed w/an RBI double to deep CF. ” By the end of the game he was hitting .346 (9-for-26) with three doubles, one home run, five RBIs and a 1.010 OPS in 14 games. Velasquez was relieved in the 7th – his QS line was 5 H, 3 R – all earned, 3 BBS, and 4 Ks. Scherzer lasted 6 innings giving up 3 runs – all earned, 7 ks, in the ND. The pen then shut them down w/ David Hernandez, Hector Neris, and Jeanmar Gomez on 2 hits, 2 walks and 5 k’s between them w/ Gomez dramatically getting Bryce Harper to GO w/ the tying run aboard to seal the second straight victory over Washington w/ Perez taking the loss.
The 2nd game saw both starters Jeremy Hellickson and the Nats Gio Gonzalez in full control through 5 amassing 12 ks (Hellickson w/ 7) and 4 hits (2 each) between them, and a bunch of Matzoh balls on the board. That came to an end when Herrara started the 6th w/ a single up the middle. Freddy Galvis – in the midst of a bit of a slump – bunted him over, and a WP by Gonzalez moved him to 3rd. One batter later a sac fly by Darin Ruf got the 1st tally on the board for either team. Hellickson followed w/ an 8 pitch SDI, which included his 2nd unintentionalintentionalwalk on Harper w/ 2 outs nobody on, of the game – he also struck him out once. Cesar Hernandez, quietly inching closer to .300 – @ .294 after this game ended – started off the 2nd w/ a single, and Tyler Goeddel followed w/ another, and due the genius of Pete Mackanin, the pitcher in the 8 hole could now sac them over which Jerome does, but does not run out a play that could have been bases loaded no out, w/ Zimmerman’s known throwing problems. That does come into play but w/ Anthony Rendon throwing high to home on Bourjos ball in play – FC E5 is the call on the non-RBI play, but the 2nd run nonetheless. Hellickson is pulled after a Solid Seven, 83 pitches, 2H, 3BB, 8 K’s just short of his career high of 10 Ks, no Runs. Carlos Ruiz hit a solo shot (3) in the 8th to give the Phillies a more comfortable lead of 3-0. The seemingly now set BP back end tandem of Neris and Gomez, completed the SO -1st time this season for the Natinals, and also their 1st series loss.
Game 3 started the same way as game 2 w/ both pitchers, Phillies Aaron Nola and the Natinals Tanner Roark holding sway, on a pitcher’s night where game time temp was 56 degrees and dropping in a steady mist, through 7 innings. We saw some poor base running by the Phillies and a couple of great defensive plays (both the bad offense and great defense by Hernandez) by both sides helped to keep the game scoreless. Nola especially had his curve ball going. It was almost 1/3 (27 of 77) of his pitches and all 7 of his K’s where on the hook. Both pitchers were done after 7. Nola had thrown only 77 pitches – 54 for strikes. 2H, 1 BB, and those 7 ks. Roarke had a similar line, one more BB, one less K, and 22 more pitches. Neither would get a decision. The Phillies needed to use some other pen arms after the last 2 nights of Neris/Gomez so Dalier Hinojosa was 1st out of the pen. but had to leave w/ 2 outs, 1st and 3rd, after being in harms way of a hard batted ball. Elvis Araujo loaded the bases for Harper, and went right after him w/ a swinging K on 3 pitches, all breaking balls. Top 9 Herrara leads of w/ a single to extend another streak (see below), and then we #DoTheFreddy as Garcia doubles to make it 1st and 3rd no outs top 9. In the “Why We Love Baseball so Much” front this only came about because Garcia could not get down a bunt, and wound up w/ a big hit instead. Franco was then IBB to load the bases. After Jonathan Papelbon came in and struck out PH Darin Ruf, Cameron Rupp hits one past Harper for a 2 run double. Paps was not pleased that Harper did not make the play. David Lough singled Franco home, deflected by Papelbon, no less, and for the 2nd night in a row the Phils had a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. It was not his best performance, but Gomez came on and got a DP to end the ball game and earn the Phils the 1st of the season, and B2B SO of the Natinals. Araujo vultured the win(his 1st of the season) w/.1 of an inning, and Papelbon earned his 2nd loss in a row against the Phillies.
- correction on the above as Felipe Rivero was given the L as the IR’s that Papelbon let in where Rivero’s responsibility. I apologize for the error as I was caught up in the fun of seeing a Papelbon #Fail. 😳
Shut Out the Lights: Phillies Hurlers threw 22 innings of SO ball of the Nats by the time this series was done. Phillies have 5 shutouts now in April. The last time the team had 5 shutouts in a month was August of 2012. 5 also ties 1919 record for April. They have also whiffed a NL leading 222 hitters in 196.1 innings. This was the 1st sweep in Natitude Park since May 2009. This gave them a 5-1 road trip and the 1st time over .500 this late since 2012.
Got to Keep on Walkin’: One walk tonight gave Odubel 22 walks this season, 2nd most in MLB. he only had 28 all last year. He’s walked at least twice in a game 6 times, with one of those being 3 walks, after only doing that twice all last season. Even w/ all those BB’s his SLG and ISO (SLG independent of batting average) at .420 and .130 are both up from last year (.418 and .121). He has a 19 game on base streak, as well as a 9 game hitting streak, and a 6 game run scoring streak for good measure.
Save the World: Gomez pitched in 5 out of the 6 games of the road trip and now has 7 saves in 7 opps, including all 3 games this series.
Next Ups: The Cleveland Indians come to CBP for a short homestand of 3 games starting tomorrow night. It is expected that Adam Morgan (1-1 3.57 LV) will be called up to start tomorrow night, taking the rotation spot vacated by Charlie Morton who was placed on the DL w/ a torn hamstring, facing RHP Corey Kluber (1-3 3.67).
Thanks to my .comrades jcarm22 and LastTrain @ sports-boards.net for some tidbits to help fill out my notes. Type and tweet (as @Pattisonave ) at you all again Wednesday night if not sooner.