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September 06, 2016

Galvis, Morgan help Phillies take second straight over Fish

Despite a Labor Day win in a matinee in Miami that you probably missed – you really didn’t spend the beautiful holiday afternoon indoors, did you? – the Phillies may not have dragged a weeklong losing streak into Tuesday’s game against the Marlins, but they did bring some ugly numbers to the gaudy ballpark in Little Havana.

In a 10-game stretch beginning on August 26, the Phillies were hitting .175 (55-314) as a team with a .238 OBP and .287 SLG %, all worst in baseball over that stretch. Perhaps none of that is surprising, though, since the Phils also entered play last in the major leagues in runs scored (3.69 per game), OBP (.295), extra-base hits (366), and total bases (1,757).

So of course when the Phillies arrived in Miami it was none other than the major league player who ranks last in all of baseball in OBP who led Pete Mackanin’s team out of the offensive doldrums.

After hitting a two-run home run to get the bats going on Monday, Freddy Galvis collected a pair of run-scoring hits from his new fifth spot in the batting order and Adam Morgan snapped a four- month losing skid as the Phils beat the Fish 4-3.

In the last month (since August 6), Galvis is hitting .278 with seven home runs, eight doubles, and 18 RBI in 26 games. Galvis’s 16 home runs on the season place him fourth on the team, behind Maikel Franco, Ryan Howard, and Tommy Joseph.

But even after Tuesday night, Galvis’ .271 OBP this season ranked 154 out of the 154 qualifying major league players. The sure-handed shortstop, who many view as a placeholder for top prospect J.P. Crawford, was asked about whether he had to sacrifice some of his newfound power for better selectivity at the plate after his Labor Day performance, which even had his manager using words like “consistency” and “quality at-bats when talking about his offense.

“It depends,” Galvis told reporters in Miami. “I think if the home run ties the game or puts us ahead, I stay with that. To win games or tie games, I stay with the homers. But for sure I want to get on base. I want to get more base hits. But if I can make a good swing and hit a home run, that’s good. I want to improve in everything. But I think I’m getting RBIs too. That helps the team. I am also hitting at the bottom of the order. The guys hitting at the top, I think those are the guys that need to be on base and that stuff.”

Galvis finished Tuesday night 2-for-5 with two RBI. Joseph (2-for-3, walk) also knocked in two runs.

  • Adam Morgan earned his first win since May 10 with his latest strong effort in his resurgence in the rotation. Before Tuesday, Morgan had gone 15 games without a win and had dropped nine straight decisions, the longest losing streak in the big leagues this season and the longest by a Phillies pitcher since Kyle Abbott lost 11 straight decisions (12 games) in 1992.

Since returning to the Phillies rotation on Aug. 14, Morgan has a 4.05 ERA in five starts (as well as 21 strikeouts and five walks in 26 2/3 innings). The 26-year-old left-hander has held the opposition to two runs or fewer in four of those five games.

  • With Vince Velasquez being shut down for the season, right-hander Alec Asher will join the Phillies rotation for the first time this season.

Asher, one of the five prospects the Phillies received in the Cole Hamels trade, just finished serving an 80-game suspension in the minor leagues for PEDs. Asher was not very good in his seven starts with the Phils at the end of last season (9.31 ERA) but he added a two-seam fastball over the winter and had a 2.30 ERA in eight starts between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley (with 35 strikeouts and just seven walks in 54 2/3 innings).

 Jeanmar Gomez pitched through trouble (Maikel Franco’s error didn’t help) in the ninth inning to hold down a one-run victory for his 35th save of the season. With 24 games left on the Phillies schedule, Gomez has a chance to become the first Phillies pitcher to record 40 saves in a season since Brad Lidge went 41-for-41 in save opportunities in 2008, his first year as Phillies closer.

Lidge also 7-for-7 in the postseason in 2008, too, of course.

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