Photo Cred: Noah K. Murray, from USA Today Sports
The 2016 Phillies continue to scratch and claw their way up the National East standings this season as they take 2 of 3 games with the Marlins this weekend in Miami. In each of the games, the Phil’s managed to fall behind early but with timely hitting and fundamentally sound baseball, Philadelphia was able to find a way through 2 of the 3 games. Here’s how it all went down this weekend:
The Phil’s turned to the hard-throwing Vince Velasquez on Friday night vs. the Marlins and while the youngster had been dealing for the club since his arrival, Miami proved to be a tough matchup for the 23 year-old right-hander. Through the first 2 months of the season, the Marlins have been an excellent fastball hitting team so in order for Velasquez to stay ahead of the Miami hitters he was tasked with making adjustments for perhaps the first time all year. The Marlins knocked the righty around early as their first 4 runs came on 6 hits. From there, Velasquez settled in and began to mix in his change-up and other pitches to augment his fastball which led him to 5 K’s over 6 innings of work for the night. According to the broadcast, Velasquez will strikeout 32% of batters he faces, which is 3rd best in the majors this season.
It wasn’t until the 4th inning that the Phillies’ bats would come alive as the offense was buoyed by Odubel Herrera (3-5) and Maikel Franco’s opposite field homer that tied the game at 4 in the 5th inning. Herrera, in particular, extended a 5 game hitting streak to 6 games with his 3 hit day as he continues to lead the Phillies with a .324 average so far this season.
Did you know?
Marlins’ third baseman Martin Prado is hitting a whopping .346 with runners in scoring position this season. He kept his timely hitting up on Friday night, going 2-4 with an RBI in the Marlins 16th win of the season.
The Phillies once again saw their ability to manufacture runs thwarted in game 2 but sometimes in professional sport, one rather be lucky than good. An 8th inning, three-run breakthrough for the Phillies offense was highlighted by Marlins first basemen Chris Johnson dropping a ball that would have completed an inning-ending double play. Instead, the Phils took a 4-3 lead on the error and never relinquished it after that as Jeanmar Gomez slammed the door shut for his 10th save of the season. While Johnson’s blunder on a play that he’s made a 1000 times sticks out, it was Phillies’ utility man Andres Blanco’s 12-pitch at-bat prior that led to all the good fortune for Philadelphia. Blanco eventually doubled in the at-bat, kicking off a game-winning rally for the Phillies.
Phils starter Jeremy Hellickson had a so-so outing where he struggled with both location and command. Through 5 1/3 innings worth of work, Hellickson threw 104 pitches and was outdueled by Marlins starter Tom Koehler by a whole shot. In comparison, Koehler tossed 7 strong, allowing just two hits and striking out 8 in his ball club’s loss.
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Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis entered game 2 with 8 game hitting streak at Marlins Park. Galvis, however, snapped that streak going 0-4 in game 2 with 3 strikeouts.
Draped in pink for Mother’s Day, the Phillies received contributions from 2 unlikely sources today as both Andres Blanco and rookie outfielder Tyler Goeddel pulled through with 2 late RBI doubles that gave the Phillies the edge over the Marlins yet again this series. Goeddel entered today hitting well below the Mendoza line at 147. but is slowly gaining the trust of Phils skipper Pete Mackanin. Blanco, on the other hand, has proven to be strong in a pinch as the Phillies do not come away with 2 wins without his contributions this weekend.
Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola pitched a decent game for the Phils as he allowed 3 runs through 6 innings of work with 5 strikeouts. Nola perhaps turned in the most balanced effort from the Phillies starters this weekend, as he has the second best ERA among the starters behind only Vince Velasquez. Closer Jeanmar Gomez slammed the door for his 11th save of the season, making him the major league leader in saves, according to the broadcast.
Did you know?
The Phillies are the cardiac kids this season! The club has played in 14 1-run ball games already this year and has won 11 of those 14 games. The Phillies are certainly forging an identity as being a scrappy team, one that makes you earn every run that crosses the plate.