May 30, 2015
The Phillies came into today’s Game 2 matinee with what seemed like another solid chance to end their losing streak against the Colorado Rockies. Aaron Harang (4-4, 1.93 ERA) was on the hill and the Rockies countered with another relative no-name in Eddie Butler (2-5, 4.60 ERA). For the second straight game, the no-name stymied the MLB's worst offense.
The Rockies beat the Phillies by a score of 5-2 on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park to take the first two of the three-game set. Here’s what I saw:
1. Aaron Harang threw two fairly similar home run balls in the second inning. Both Nolan Arenado and Michael McKenry took pitches in the 80s (slider, fastball) that were down in the zone and golfed them out to left field for a 2-1 Rockies lead at the time. After the game, Harang said he wasn't too disappointed with either of the pitches.
2. Harang went on to cruise until the sixth inning, when he had to deal with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez with a man on base. Despite CarGo reaching on a hard-hit single that Freddy Galvis couldn’t handle, Harang escaped the inning with no further damage. Another very respectable effort by Ruben Amaro, Jr.'s best offseason pickup: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K 2 HR, 109 pitches (74 strikes).
1. The old guys did some damage down the right-field line in the first inning. First, Chase Utley smoked a ball that Rockies first baseman Ben Paulsen knocked down but couldn’t corral for a base hit. Then, after working a 3-2 count, Ryan Howard doubled into the corner, easily scoring Utley from first.
2. Even though he broke up the no-hitter against it last night, the Rockies continued to aggressively shift to the right side of the infield against Cody Asche. As Monty Burns told Daryl Strawberry in the classic “Homer at the Bat” Simpsons episode, he was “playing the percentages.” Asche went with 1-4 including a couple of groundouts to the right side. Again, his one hit was a ball hit on the ground to the left side that beat the shift.
3. Really poor execution by the Phillies on a sac bunt attempt with nobody out in the fifth inning. Harang popped the bunt up in the air, Carlos Ruiz froze at first base, and Harang was dead to rights for an easy 1-6-3 double play.
4. Jeff Francoeur just missed a homer when a fan interfered with the ball at the top of the left-field wall. I couldn't tell if it was going to make it out, but the umpires ruled it a double. He was later stranded.
5. Here are a couple of stats that describe the Phils' offensive futility: Cesar Hernandez went deep to right off Rafael Betancourt in the eighth inning, the Phillies' first homer in 57 innings. Earlier in the game, Chase Utley drew the Phillies' first walk in 21 innings. Not exactly vintage Moneyball on display in Philly.
6. Maikel Franco went 0-4, dropping his average down to .203.
1. Second consecutive game in which Paulsen took Luis Garcia deep, this time on a hanging breaking ball. This has been a rough couple of outings for the 28-year-old right-hander. His ERA now sits at 4.50 with a 1.54 WHIP.
2. Ken Giles gave up his second earned run in his last two appearances. Maybe part of the problem? He's only pitched four times since May 18th. It's pretty lonely in the back-end of the Phillies' bullpen sometimes.
1. Franco and Galvis might need a little work at “calling each other off” on fly balls. In the second inning, they ran into each other on a ball hit down the left-field line in foul territory. The more solidly built Franco held on for the catch and knocked Galvis down in the process.
2. Great running snag by Ben Revere in center to rob Charlie Blackmon of extra bases on a ball that was tailing away from him.
3. He couldn't turn the double play, but Galvis sure gets some style points for this flip. The only thing the play was missing is the And One Mixtape guy at the ballpark yelling "HOT SIZZLE!":
The Phillies and Rockies will close out their season series tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park when Jerome Williams (3-4, 5.33 ERA) will oppose Jordan Lyles (2-5, 5.10 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann