June 04, 2015
The Phillies were looking for a rare sweep against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, but apparently they used up most of the late-inning magic in the series’ first two games. For the first time in three nights, the Reds were actually able to hold onto their lead in a 6-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
For the Phillies, this one boils down to Aaron Harang not pitching up to his normal standards. He was wild, and the Reds made the Phillies pay for walks and fundamental fielding mistakes in the middle innings. Here’s what I saw:
1. It was a pretty ballsy move by the Phillies to intentionally walk Joey Votto with one out in the fifth inning to load the bases for Todd Frazier. The Reds got one additional run out of the inning (mentioned below), but Harang forced Jay Bruce to hit into a key double play to escape any further damage.
2. In surrendering six runs (five earned), Harang probably had his worst outing of the year thus far. The main reason? Walks. Of the five free passes he issued, three of the runners came around to score.
3. Another reason for Harang’s tough night? Brandon Phillips, who wore out Phillies pitching all series. The Reds’ leadoff man went 3-4 just against Harang, with two RBI and a run scored.
1. I don’t generally prefer to include my own tweets, but where else are you going to get a review of Maikel Franco’s series in emoji form?
Here's your Maikel Franco update: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥💯🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) June 4, 2015
2. In the series’ first two games, the Reds’ starters were in control early only to see the lead evaporate late. Anthony DeSclafani gave up two runs in the first inning thanks to doubles from Franco and Chase Utley, but he settled in and cruised until allowing a few baserunners in the eighth that scored. DeSclafani was charged with four earned runs in seven-plus innings, but he pitched better than that.
3. Freddy Galvis went 0-4 at the plate, which extends his hitless streak to 26 at-bats. NOT GREAT, BOB.
1. Jake Diekman threw 1.1 scoreless innings in relief of Harang, and saw his ERA drop to 6.75 in the process. So yeah, still a little more work to do.
1. The Phillies were throwing around some serious leather early on in this one. In the first two innings, each of the corner infielders (Howard, Franco) made great catches reaching over the dugout railing on their respective sides of the field.
2. Speaking of good defense, this web gem took away what looked like a sure hit for Joey Votto:
3. Right after that Utley highlight, the Phillies got sloppy and didn’t make a lot of the fundamental plays. There are too many to list, and it’s one of the reasons that they lost.
4. Rare mental mistake by Carlos Ruiz in the fifth inning, and it was costly. With the bases loaded and Frazier at the dish with one out, Freddy Galvis went home with a grounder that easily beat the runner. Ruiz made the tag clear as day, and the Phillies cut down the runner at the plate. Two outs.
That is, until Reds manager Bryan Price (F-bomb guy) challenged the play. At first, I thought this was some Andy Reid-level tomfoolery, but Price actually had a point. Ruiz blocked the plate, and the Reds were awarded with a run and 3-2 lead. Dumb rule, but you have to know the situation there. On a force play, all Chooch has to do is stand on the first-base side of home plate and give Galvis a target.
The world champs are coming to town, and they head into Philly licking their wounds a little bit. The San Francisco Giants have lost five in a row after going a scorching 20-7 to start the month of May. As always, they’ll bring excellent starting pitching with them as the Phillies will have to deal with the likes of Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong.
Tomorrow night, Jerome Williams (3-5, 5.49 ERA) will face Lincecum (5-3, 3.00 ERA), who is still plenty effective despite the major dip in velocity from his heyday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at The Bank.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann