August 14, 2016
If you were looking for a clean, crisp baseball game on Sunday afternoon, Citizens Bank Park wasn’t the place to find one. The defensive shenanigans started early, as Odubel Herrera couldn’t come up with what should've been a fairly routine catch:
In the end, though, it was the Colorado Rockies who made costlier mistakes, and it was the Phillies who took advantage and completed a three-game sweep with a 7-6 win, improving their record on the season to a respectable 56-63 in the process. Barring a complete collapse in September, there will be no flirting with 100 losses for a second straight year in Philadelphia.
"Everybody is contributing," Pete Mackanin said. "I feel like everybody is getting opportunities, and it's good to see. When you win a game, the more players that are involved in that game, the happier I am. I think it unites the team."
Mackanin wasn't kidding about getting contributions from multiple sources. Besides Colorado's poor fielding, Jimmy Paredes, who was hitting just .198 coming into the day, was the other major catalyst in Sunday's victory.
The switch-hitting outfielder, who some have speculated might not be on the roster much longer with top prospect Nick Williams knocking on the door at Lehigh Valley, enjoyed a fine day at the plate, going 3-for-4, driving in three runs, and finishing a triple short of the cycle.
"I was ready for my chance," Paredes said.
The offense, which has struggled all year, is certainly going good at the moment. This was the Phillies' fourth straight game with at least six runs, the first time that has happened in three years. Coming back after a long road trip, the Phils lineup feasted on Rockies pitching in the three-game series, plating 23 runs in total. Herrera, Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, and Cameron Rupp also contributed RBIs in Sunday's win.
In addition to the Phillies’ ten hits, the Rockies committed four errors.
Starter Adam Morgan, making his first major-league start in over a month after being recalled from Triple-A, only lasted three innings after suffering what the Phillies are calling a right forearm contusion. The 26-year-old left-hander was struck by a ball scorched off the bat of Rockies catcher Nick Hundley:
X-rays were negative on Morgan's arm, and while the Phillies aren't sure if he will be able to make his next scheduled start, he was upbeat after the game.
"It's not as bad as it sounds I guess," Morgan said. "Right now, it's just a bruise. And once that bruise goes away, I'm good."
For a Phillies starting rotation that has been hit hard with injury over the season (the reason Morgan was called up in the first place), this qualifies as good news. Mackanin did admit that another potential injury is concerning, but fortunately for him, the bullpen was up to the task when forced to do some heavy lifting.
Severino Gonzalez and David Hernandez took over from there, and besides a couple of solo homers surrendered to the red-hot Charlie Blackmon, the Phillies' middle relief corps was able to hold off the Rockies just enough. Jeanmar Gomez came in to pitch the ninth inning, and despite surrendering a couple of runs and making things interesting for everyone in the ballpark, he managed to record his 31st save of the season.
"Today was kind of hairy for us because we didn't want to get to a situation late in the game where it was a tie game and I didn't have any pitchers left," Mackanin said. "So I had to go the extra mile with some of those guys, and they did a real good job."
The Phillies will have a day off before what should be an exciting night in South Philly on Tuesday, as the Los Angeles Dodgers come to town. Chase Utley will play his first game in Philadelphia as a visitor.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann