If anything could break the Philadelphia Phillies out of their offensive phunk, it may be a 9 game road trip that starts w/ a series against the Minnesota Twins who @ 21-48 have the worst record in baseball, and 13-24 at home. Not that it has helped this moribund offense much against even the mediocre pitchers the last few series, the Twins starters came in w/ a 5.61 ERA, and also rank last in the majors in opponents’ BA (.296) and OPS (.832). The Twins would send out one of their many average hurlers in RHP Tyler Duffey (2-6, 5.56). RHP Aaron Nola (5-6, 3.51 ERA) really needed to bounce back after the two worst starts of his young career.
As it turned out the 1st part of my lead was correct as the Phillies got 10 runs on 14 hits , most of that off the Twins starter, but as for the last part, Nola did not make it past the 3rd inning once again. Also once again the Phillies “defense” (1 official E, but quite a few bad plays) and the pen also helped to make it the 8th loss in a row, 14-10 Twins.
Phillies got back to small ball on a lead-off single by Odubel Herrera, who then stole 2nd, a productive out by Andres Blanco, followed by an RBI/E for the struggling Maikel Franco, to get a run in the 1st. Nola gave that right back, and more on a one out walk, b2b singles and then a 2 run triple, abetted by some bad outfield play by Peter Bourjos. An RBI out made it 4-1 by the end of the 1st. Duffey returned the Anti-SDI favor by giving up a two out single to slumping Freddy Galvis (4H, in last 11 games, 40 AB) and then a 2 run Bomb to LF by Bourjos. Nola did walk two the next inning but in the end got the 1st SDI of the game for either team. B2B Upper Deck shots to LF by Tommy Joseph (8) – scoring Franco who singled – and Cameron Rupp (5) made it 6-4 mid 3. The Twins, coming right back, started the next inning w/ 3 singles – the 1st could have been an E for Galvis and the 3rd was a perfectly placed bunt – and then a one out 2 run double by Kurt Suzuki tied the game @ 6. A sac fly followed by some very sloppy play by Galvis and Joseph under the resurrerected Circus Tent, gave the Twins an 8-6 lead. 14 runs now had been scored in 3 innings as both pitchers were out of the game; Duffey – 7H, 6R – all earned – 0 K’s , 0 BBs, 3 HR’s; Nola – 7H, 8R – 7 earned though maybe s/b 6 – 2 K’s, 3 BB’s, no HRs.
The Phillies then returned to their propensity lately to make very ordinary pen guys look lights out, while at the same time it seems every team in MLB has the Phillies pitching staff circled on their calendars for batting practice. Brett Oberholtzer gave up a two run shot to Suzuki (4) in the 5th – his 2nd inning of work – and another run after one out in his 3rd. Severino Gonzalez – his 2nd game after being recalled from the minors – finished off the 6th, now an 11-6 deficit.
They did finally make the Twins pen look like what they are, cutting into that lead in the 8th on a Bourjos single that knocked in Cody Asche who had doubled. Then after a walk to Herrera, Franco hit a 3 run Laser to LF to get the Phillies to w/i 1 run @ 11-10… but as they say when things are going bad… as David Hernandez could not get the SDI, giving three back to make it a 4 run lead once again.
Yet another bad L goes to Nola falling to 5-7, while Buddy Boshers (2-0) earned the W w/ one of the few clean innings in the game. Brandon Kinsler (3) got the 1.1 inning save.
Good nights and Bad nights: For a change the Phillies offense was on tonight, especially against the Twins starter. Asche was 3 – 5 w/ a double and a run scored. Bourjos also had 3 H, and 3 RBIs, 2 R scored. Joseph who was 2-4, hit his HR in his 2nd AB of the night. Despite some hard hit balls, he had been 1 for 31 in his last eight games and down to .230 with a .248 on-base percentage. Franco was 2- 5, 2 R scored, w/ 4 RBI’s – 3 w/ one blow – that HR was his 1st non solo shot since April 23rd. 8 of his 12 HR’s were one run jobs. Herrera had two hits as well, as he seems to be bouncing back after falling to .299 during yesterday’s game ending the night at .305. On the bad side Ryan Howard was the DH for the sixth time this season and went 0-5. He did hit two balls to the warning track but also struck out twice, and a GO into the shift. Andres Blanco was the only other Phillie to go hitless in 5 AB’s.
Hard to Believe Harry: First game in the 7 season history of Target Field where both teams have scored in double digits.
Next Ups: LHP Adam Morgan (1-6, 6.49) faces RHP Kyle Gibson (0-5, 6.06). Look for double shut outs in this one 😉 I will be back losing more sleep covering this one tomorrow.