The Philadelphia Phillies looked to bounce back from the befuddled bats of last night, against the Atlanta Braves RHP prospect (52 MLB Pipeline) Aaron Blair (0-2 3.31) to win the series. Vince Velasquez (4-1 2.17) was also looking for some personal redemption after his last 6 in, 4R – all earned and all in the 1st 2 innings, 7 hit, ND against the Marlins back on 5/6. Andres Blanco got only his 2nd start in 15 games in an effort to get more offense.The Phils are walking a fine line w/ him over whether he is doing so well because of, or in spite of how little he is being used. Coming into the game he was 12 for 37, .324, with five doubles, a triple, a homer and six RBIs, this season, but still seems to be in just about every Phillies rally.
The genius of Pete Mackanin, starting Blanco, paid off right away as he singled to follow the lead off walk and SB # 6 by Odubel Herrera, , moving El Torito to 3rd. That setup a Maikel Franco sac fly which scored the 1st Phillies run. It was also their 1st, 1st inning run of this road trip.
Another lead off walk, this time to Ryan Howard, hurt Blair again in the 4th as we could when Freddy Galvis drove him home w/ a fly ball to right that just carried over the wall. Velasquez’ 2nd hit of the night – his 4th of the year – followed by a hit by Peter Bourjos, sent Blair to the showers. Herrara’s 2nd hit and an E4 scored Velasquez and allowed Bourjos to go to 3rd. When the dust cleared it was 4-0 Phillies and Blair’s final line was 3.2 in, 6 H, 4 R, 3 earned, 2BB, 2K’s. Vince followed w/ his 2nd 2K, SDI of the night.
Velasquez was in control pretty much most of the night w/ a mid 90’s fastball abetted by excellent location, w/ some wicked mid 70’s hooks, and mid 80’s change and slider, thrown in more and more as the game went on to keep the Braves off balance. When runners got on, his very good GO/FO (6/2) ratio served up two dp’s. That was until the 7th when the wheels came off quickly as Vince loaded the bases w/ no outs, and then gave up a 3 run double to Gordon Beckham on a 1st pitch hanging breaking ball. By the time David Hernandez finished the inning, after giving up an RBI single to Jeff Francoeur (you knew Frenchy would have to hurt the Phils at some point this series), and then a DP, Velasquez’s line ended up 6 in, 4 runs – all earned, on 5 hits 2BB, 5 k’s, and a ND. Apparently no wins are allowed to come easily for this team. Phils offense after the 4th only had one hit and 2 men on total against the Braves relievers, but at the same time their pen also shut down the Braves keeping them in the game.
That was until Hererra got the final rally going w/ a lead off triple in the 10th, Blanco was then HBP. Just to add to the drama Franco went down swinging at 4 balls, and then another K on Darin Ruf in to ph for Howard. Galvis walked to load them up, and then out of nowhere Cameron Rupp came through w/ a 3 run double – his 1st hit in 5 ab’s. Jeanmar Gomez came on to pitch a 1-2-3, Ultimate SDI inning to get his MLB leading 13th save. It’s a Wonderful Win for Andrew Bailey (2-0) while Veteran Jason Grilli (1-2) was saddled w/ the L.
OBP Machine Keeps a Rollin’: A lead off walk kept Herarra’s OB, and a single to start the 3rd, his hitting streak alive both @ 10. He wound up 4/4 w/a walk and a SB, thus OB 5 times both tying career highs.
The Chris Carter of the Phillies: Howard is just 3 for 25 on this road trip but all three hits were home runs. Also in a bit of a slump is Franco who was blanked tonight, and has been held hitless in eight of his last 13 games.
Take the Long Way Home: Phils end this long road trip, 20 of last 23 days, and so far this season 22 road games, the most in MLB, at 5-5. They return home to face the Cincinnati Reds for three w/ Jeremy Hellickson 2-2, 4.91 facing Brandon Finnegan 1-1, 4.15 in the opener on Friday.