May 31, 2015
The Phillies have played five games since "Bitch-and-Complain-Gate," and they've lost all five of them. That's now seven in a row overall as the Colorado Rockies' pitching staff again completely shut down the Phillies' lineup in a 4-1 loss for the home team. Here’s what I saw:
1. All three games in this series, the Rockies jumped on the Phillies quickly with the long ball. Moved up a couple of spots in the order, Nolan Arenado homered for the second consecutive afternoon in the first inning. He smoked a first-pitch Jerome Williams sinker to the deepest part of the park in left-center.
2. The Rockies absolutely destroyed the Phillies with six homers this series. Unlike Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang, Williams gave up a couple with men on base. DJ LeMahieu took him yard out to left in the fifth to make the score 4-1. His final line: 5 IP, 8 H, 4ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 65 pitches (47 strikes).
3. Williams now has a 6.62 ERA in the month of May. Yuck.
1. Good news for all of you Francophiles out there: Even though he flied out to left field, the 22-year-old third baseman worked a 12-pitch at-bat in the second inning, running the count to 3-2 and fouling off a bunch of pitches. Maikel Franco is struggling mightily at the dish, but he can take some encouragement from the approach there.
2. Bad news for all of you Francophiles out there: He went 0-3 with a walk, and his average is all the way down to .194. So, yeah, on balance it's bad news.
3. Rockies starter Jordan Lyles didn’t appear primed to go too deep into the game, throwing 44 pitches in only 1.1 innings (mostly thanks to Franco). But once Cody Asche smoked a liner back up the middle, he aggravated his sprained big toe getting out the way. Lyles had to depart, and a long day was in store for the Rockies’ bullpen.
4. Interestingly enough, Walt Weiss took the aggressive shift off for Asche on that at-bat, as he had flashed the ability to beat it twice to the left side in the last few days. Not sure it would’ve mattered on the line drive.
5. Nice piece of hitting by Cameron Rupp to go the other way off Chris Rusin and hit one off the wall, which plated Asche from first thanks to a little help from Carlos Gonzalez in right field.
6. The Phillies allowed Rusin, who came into the game sporting a 4.75 ERA in 25 appearances, to settle in big-time. The 28-year-old lefty cruised, allowing a grand total of one baserunner in innings 3-6. Until…
7. Rusin predictably came out to start the seventh but promptly allowed three baserunners without recording an out: Franco walk, Asche single, Odubel Hererra single. What happened next? Brooks Brown struck out the side (Rupp, Darin Ruf, and Ben Revere). There’s not much else to say.
8. Well, I will say it: It's not much of a surprise with the lack of success they've had all year, but the Phillies were abysmal at the plate this weekend against below-average pitching.
1. Clean couple of innings from Jeanmar Gomez after relieving Williams. In the process, he struck out two.
2. Justin De Fratus and Jonathan Papelbon, making a rare appearance as of late, also pitched scoreless innings. Nice bounce-back day from the 'pen.
1. Sweet 4-6-3 double play to get Arenado in the third, started by Chase Utley ranging to his left and making a quick spin/throw to second.
2. Nice sliding eighth-inning catch by Revere in right on a day where he didn’t do anything but make outs in the leadoff role.
1. The process of challenging is baseball is pretty goofy. Every time there’s a close play, Ryne Sandberg ventures up to the top step and wastes as much time as he can before finally receiving the word on whether he should challenge the call or not. At least in football there’s a play clock or the opposing offense is rushing to the line of scrimmage.
The Phillies have the day off tomorrow, which allows them to skip Severino Gonzalez’ spot in the rotation. They’ll open up a three-game series back here at The Bank against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. The pitching matchup is scheduled to be Sean O’Sullivan (1-4, 4.81 ERA) against Mike Leake (2-4, 4.66 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann