Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 9, Phillies 2

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 9, Phillies 2


PHOENIX -- The Phillies' modest two-game winning streak ended in a 9-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
Starting pitcher Ben Lively accounted for the Phillies' offense with a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
Lively's homer, the first of his career, gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Arizona scored eight runs in the next four innings to take control.
Arizona is 27-10 at home. The Phillies are 10-29 on the road and 24-49 overall.
Starting pitching report
Lively's string of four straight quality starts to open his big-league career came to an end as he was tagged for seven hits and five runs (one was unearned) over 5 1/3 innings. Lively did not walk a batter nor did he have a strikeout.
Arizona lefty Robbie Ray pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball for his eighth win. Ray is 6-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last seven starts. He struck out five.
Ray issued a two-out walk to Cameron Rupp in the fourth and Lively made him pay with a two-run homer.

At the plate
Lively's homer came on a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball. It was the Phillies' only extra-base hit.
Arizona had 12 hits, including a homer by Jake Lamb. Catcher Chris Herrmann drove in three runs. Daniel Descalso had three hits.
Bullpen report
Phillies relievers Hoby Milner, Edubray Ramos and Adam Morgan were lit up for four runs.
Arizona's Archie Bradley got two big outs with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh when the game was still close.
In the field
Centerfielder Odubel Herrera was charged with an error when he dropped a ball at the warning track in the second. It led to a run.
Arizona centerfielder Rey Fuentes made a terrific catch at the wall on a drive by Cameron Perkins to end the game.

Health check
Howie Kendrick did not start for the third straight day because of tightness in his left hamstring. It is not considered serious.
"We're just being cautious," manager Pete Mackanin said.
Jerad Eickhoff will test himself in a bullpen session Sunday. He is on the disabled list with an upper back strain. The bullpen session will determine whether Eickhoff will be able to come off the disabled list and pitch Wednesday in Seattle.
Up next
The series continues Sunday afternoon. Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.61) pitches against Arizona right-hander Randall Delgado (1-1, 3.48).

Phillies lose Tommy Joseph to Rangers

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Phillies lose Tommy Joseph to Rangers

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tommy Joseph is headed to the American League. The Texas Rangers claimed him off waivers on Monday. The Arizona native will head to his home state to join the Rangers for the remainder of spring training.

The Phillies designated Joseph for assignment last week. The move was made to clear room for pitcher Jake Arrieta on the 40-man roster. 

Joseph, 26, joined the Phillies organization in the summer of 2012 in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco. At the time, Joseph was a catcher. A series of concussions nearly ended his career, but he converted to first base and forged his way to the majors in May 2016. He hit 43 home runs the last two seasons, but did not reach base enough to satisfy a front office that wants to build a lineup around players with that skill. The emergence of Rhys Hoskins last season and the signing of free-agent first baseman Carlos Santana this winter made Joseph expendable and efforts to trade him were fruitless.

Joseph’s power makes him a potential fit for a role as a designated hitter. He could also be the right-handed portion of a first base platoon with Joey Gallo, who has hit just .199 against lefties in the majors.

Joseph is now on the Rangers’ 40-man roster.

Phillies’ focus turns to Aaron Nola, Scott Kingery, bench competition

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Phillies’ focus turns to Aaron Nola, Scott Kingery, bench competition


FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Phillies began their final full week in Florida on Sunday with a game against the Minnesota Twins. It provided manager Gabe Kapler the opportunity to look at a number of important areas — some settled, some unsettled — of his roster.

To wit:

• The opening day battery of Aaron Nola and Jorge Alfaro worked together. Nola battled through an early rough patch and delivered five innings of two-run ball. He will have one more start before he gets the call in Atlanta in 11 days.

• Scott Kingery, everybody’s favorite prospect, got the start at third base. He had two hits, raising his average to .378 (14 for 37), and made a nice play on a bunt. Kingery is projected to open at Triple A so the Phillies can control his rights through 2024. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be down there long. He projects as the second baseman of the future, but Cesar Hernandez is at the position for now. Third base could be a temporary landing spot for Kingery if Maikel Franco struggles. Kingery played some third at Triple A last season. Yes, Kapler wants to create versatility on his roster. But it was still notable that Kingery got his first look of the spring at third. He will get more time in the outfield before camp ends.

“We want him ready to step in and play all over the diamond whenever that time is,” Kapler said.

• The battle for bench spots was in full display. It’s not clear if the Phils have two or three spots open on the bench because they don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until April 11 and that could allow them a five-man bench at the outset. Regardless, the competition will come into focus this week.  Candidates Ryan Flaherty, Adam Rosales, Pedro Florimon, Jesmuel Valentin and Roman Quinn all played in the game.

Quinn, Florimon and Valentin are all on the 40-man roster so that could help their chances. Quinn, an outfielder by trade, got another look at shortstop. Florimon played left field, had a hit and walked twice. Valentin, an infielder by trade, got a look in right field and belted his third homer of the spring, a three-run shot, for the Phillies’ only runs in a 4-3 loss.

“Valentin has really put his strongest foot forward,” Kapler said. “He’s demonstrated pop, versatility and come up with huge hits.”

Flaherty, who played seven different positions with the Orioles over the last six seasons, started at first base and had a hit. He’s hitting .333.

“He’s having an awesome spring,” Kapler said.

Like Flaherty, Rosales, who has played parts of the last 10 seasons in the majors, can also play anywhere. Flaherty has an out in his minor-league contract on Thursday, so that could bring some clarity to his situation. If he’s still in the hunt Saturday, the Phillies must add him to the 40-man roster, pay him a $100,000 retention bonus or allow him to walk. Ditto for Rosales. So the bench picture will start to come into focus soon.

“There’s a lot to be excited about in that bench role,” Kapler said.