The Philadelphia Phillies (37-46, 4th place NL East), coming off their 1st home series win since 5/16-18 vs the Miami Marlins, their 2nd series win in a row and winning 7 of their last 10, looked to keep the fireworks going on an Independence Day matinee against the Atlanta Braves (25-54, 5th place). RHP Jerad Eickhoff (5-9, 3.38 ERA) who had a good June going 3-2, w/ a 2.23 ERA in six starts, faced RHP Joel De La Cruz (0-1, 4.50) making only his 2nd MLB start.
The Braves got on the board 1st as Erick Eybar (1), a late addition to the lineup, hit a one out 1st pitch fastball out to RF. Phillies tried to respond with a lead-off double by Odubel Herrera, and a sac bunt by Peter Bourjos, but back to back strike outs killed that rally, but soon that would be forgotten.
Phillies did respond in a big way in the second inning, amassing six hits, all extra bases, 3 2b, 1 3b, 2 HR to take a 7-1 lead, sending ten men to the plate. The HR’s were by Herrara (10) and Maikel Franco (15), triple by Cesar Hernandez (6), doubles by Cameron Rupp (17), Peter Bourjos (13) and Tommy Joseph (6). Freddy Galvis had a productive out to knock in the 1st run after Rupp and Joseph started the inning w/ doubles. The inning was also helped along by an error on Braves third baseman Brandon Snyder, allowing Hernandez to score on a contact play when he would have been easily out at home. Only 4 of the runs were earned because of that. Eickhoff followed w/ a 1-2-3 SDI ending w/ a k of Phillie Killer Freddie Freeman who nicely became a non-factor, except for a stat padding hit late in the game, having all those runs with which to work.
After the HR in the 1st Eickhoff was in complete control as he did not give up a hit until the 7th inning, when the 1st two batters got singles, but he got out of that jam . The Phillies offense also shut it down after their big inning so the game moved along nicely, until the bottom of that frame when Joseph got his 2nd hit of the night, an RBI single off a 3-2 100 MPH fast ball from Mauricio Cabrera. Eickhoff came out for the 8th and after two quick outs, then gave up 2 hits and a run, so his final line was a career high 7.2 In, 2R, 5H, 8k, 3 BB, 108 P – 69 for strikes. David Hernandez finished off the inning giving up a hit, but no more runs, and Severino Gonzalez threw a clean 9th.
Eickhoff improved to 6-9, 3.30 , De La Cruz took the loss to fall to 0-2, 5.25. Despite the score the game was a brisk 2Hrs, 36 Min, as a shade over 19K took in Independence Day Baseball in the only city to be in on the 240th birthday of our beloved USA.
Streaks kept and lost: Bourjos now has a career high 13 game hitting streak, including 7 multi hit games – he had 3 tonight, and a sac bunt. His BA has gone from .192 back on 6/11 to .278 by the end of this game. Other streaks continued were by Cameron Rupp, with a 10 game, Hernandez w/ 7 games, and Franco w/ a more modest 4 gamer. With everybody hitting lately, with the exception of Galvis and Joseph, coming into today’s game the Phils lead MLB w/ a .319 team avg since June 21st. Joseph did break an 0-18 w/ the double in the 2nd and the RBI single in the 7th.
Phillies Hit Parade: Phillies had 12 hits overall, 8 for extra bases. They also had their biggest single inning run output of the season in the seven run 2nd.
Goes a Long Way: Not only was Eickhoff’s 7.2 in a career high he was 1st starter to go seven since June 20th by Jeremy Hellickson, and the longest outing since Vince Velasquez‘s 16 K game on April 14. The Phils are 5-1 in his last six starts.
Next Ups: RHP Zach Eflin (0-2, 5.75) Vs , RH Mike Foltynewicz (2-2, 3.72) tomorrow night @ 7:05. I will be back for that one.