Instant Replay: Phillies 3, Rockies 2

Instant Replay: Phillies 3, Rockies 2


DENVER — Staring at another loss, their most heartbreaking yet on their current road trip, the Phillies rallied in the ninth Sunday afternoon off Rockies closer Greg Holland and won, 3-2, on Cameron Rupp’s two-run double.
The hit gave Rupp a measure of revenge since he was thrown out at the plate in the eighth and helped the Phillies break a five-game losing streak, all losses coming on this trip. The Phillies also had a runner thrown out at home in the ninth.

The Rockies went ahead 2-1 on a two-out double in the seventh by Charlie Blackmon, his third double of the game. The hit off Aaron Nola scored pinch hitter Raimel Tapia, who walked and stole second.

Odubel Herrera hustled a single into a double to open the ninth against Holland and moved to third on Maikel Franco’s single. Hyun Soo Kim hit a grounder to Story, who threw out Herrera at the plate, but Rupp followed with his two-run double to the gap in left-center, tagging Holland with just his second blown save in 36 chances.

Starting pitching report
Nola made his Coors Field debut and his first start against the Rockies. He gave the Phillies another outstanding outing, working seven innings. It was a welcome change for the Phillies in the wake of the problems starters Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez encountered in the first two games of this series.

But Rockies rookie starter Jeff Hoffman, who limited the Phillies to one run and three hits in seven innings May 22 at Citizens Bank Park, went toe-to-toe with Nola for seven innings. Hoffman allowed a second-inning homer to Maikel Franco, his 17th of the year. 

Nola gave up six hits and two runs in seven innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. In his past nine starts, Nola has a 1.76 ERA (12 earned runs, 61 1/3 innings) with 17 walks and 70 strikeouts.

Hoffman gave up four hits and one run in seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts, one shy of his career-high. He had nine strikeouts June 4 at San Diego. The seven innings matched Hoffman’s season-high, but it was the first time in five starts he went that far.

Bullpen report
Hector Neris allowed a leadoff bunt single before picking up his 11th save.

At the plate
Hernandez has reached base safely at least twice in each of his past nine games. The last Phillies player to do that was Blanco from Aug. 16-26, 2015.

Franco hit his 17th home run.

In the field
Gonzalez took a broken-bat hit away from Nava to end the third with a lunging catch of his sinking liner.

Williams opened the fourth with a grounder that shortstop Story went far to his left to grab and then got Williams by making a 360-degree turn to get off a throw from well to the right of second base.

Galvis made a diving back-handed stop on the outfield grass of Arenado’s grounder. Arenado doesn’t run well, but he beat Galvis’ long throw.

Shortstop Story made a backhanded grab of Kim's grounder and with a long jump throw just got him at first.

After Blackmon put the Rockies ahead in the eighth, first baseman Nava made a diving stop of Parra's hard grounder and flipped to Nola at first to end the inning.

Lights out
Mark Leiter Jr. struck out nine batters without issuing a walk Saturday in 4⅓ innings of relief of starter Nick Pivetta. Leiter is the fourth pitcher over the past 40 years to strike out nine or more batters without issuing a walk in a relief appearance.

The others were Tom Gordon for the 1989 Kansas City Royals (10 strikeouts), Bruce Ruffin (9) for the 1993 Rockies and Mark Guthrie (12) for the 1995 Minnesota Twins. 

Much improved
Andrew Knapp caught a bullpen session, an indication his bruised right hand is improved and he’s nearing a return. Knapp was hit on the hand with a foul tip Thursday and didn’t play in the Rockies series. The Phillies recalled catcher Jorge Alfaro on Friday from Triple A Lehigh Valley when Knapp was unavailable.

Up next
The Phillies are off Monday and will conclude their eight-game road trip with a two-game series at Atlanta that begins Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. Julio Teheran (7-9, 5.10) will start for the Braves. The Phillies have not named their starter to take the turn of Jake Thompson, who was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley after his last start Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Charlie Manuel keeps his promise to Roy Halladay's son

Jim Salisbury/NBCSP

Charlie Manuel keeps his promise to Roy Halladay's son

DUNEDIN, Fla. – It’s not hard to find Charlie Manuel in spring training. In late mornings, he’s perched behind the batting cage watching Phillies hitters take their swings. During the game, he’s on the top step of the dugout, taking it all in and offering advice where needed.

Manuel didn’t stay for the game Saturday. He watched batting practice, showered and drove out of the parking lot 30 minutes before the first pitch.

Manuel, you see, had a promise to keep.

Back in November, Manuel was one of nine people to speak at Roy Halladay’s memorial service at Spectrum Field, the Phillies’ spring training home. Manuel stood at a podium near the very mound that Halladay trained on and spoke from the heart about what an honor it was to manage such a great talent and competitor. Manuel had jotted his words down on a paper, but he didn’t stick completely to his script that day. At one point, he looked down at Halladay’s two grieving sons, Braden and Ryan, and told them he’d be keeping tabs on their progress as young ballplayers. Manuel promised to attend their games. And that’s just what he did Saturday afternoon.

Braden Halladay, a lanky 17-year-old right-hander who bears a striking resemblance to his dad, on and off the mound, is a member of the Canadian Junior Team’s spring training roster. He was born in Toronto when his dad played for the Blue Jays, hence his eligibility to pitch for Canada.

On Saturday, Braden pitched a scoreless eighth inning against a Jays’ split-squad team on the very Dunedin Stadium mound where his dad began his career.

“I’m so glad I came over,” Manuel said after Braden’s perfect inning of work. “He did good. I’m glad he got ‘em out.”

This wasn’t the first time Manuel had seen Braden pitch. Braden pitches for Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater, where he is a junior. Manuel watched him pitch five shutout innings earlier in the week. And on Wednesday night, Manuel attended young brother Ryan’s practice in Clearwater.

Manuel has a warm spot for the boys for a lot of reasons. Obviously, there was the respect he had for their dad. “When I think of Roy, I think of the perfect game and playoff no-hitter first,” Manuel said. “Right after that, I think of his work ethic. It was the best I’ve ever seen.” 

But Manuel’s affection for the boys goes beyond the respect he had for their dad. Manuel was 18, the oldest son in a family of 11 children, was he lost his dad.

“I feel for those boys,” Manuel said. “I know what they’re going through and it isn’t easy. Not easy at all.”

It takes a lot of love to get through a tragedy like the one the Halladay family has gone through. The boys get it from their mom, Brandy, who is at all of their games. And they get it from people like Charlie Manuel.

Saturday’s first pitch at Dunedin Stadium, just a few miles from the Phillies’ ballpark, was scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Manuel wanted to hustle over so he could wish Braden luck before the game. Manuel made his way down to the bullpen area and spotted one of his former Phillies players, Pete Orr, who is a coach with the Canadian team. Orr called over to Braden. A huge smile crossed the kid’s face when he saw Manuel. He sprinted over and gave Manuel a hug. Orr, who grew up near Toronto, slapped Braden on the back of his Team Canada jersey and said, “He looks good in red and white.”

He sure did.

Braden chatted with Manuel for a minute or two, and Manuel wished him luck. A reporter from Philadelphia asked Braden what it felt like to have Manuel keep tabs on his baseball career.

“It’s pretty sweet,” Braden said with a big smile. “It means a lot to me.”

The reporter wished him luck and told him that all of Philadelphia was rooting for him.

“I appreciate that,” the young pitcher said before trotting off to join his teammates.

Braden Halladay is 6-3 and 150 pounds. He entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with his team down, 11-3, at first to a smattering of applause. That grew into a big, beautiful round of applause after the PA man announced his name and everyone in the crowd realized the magnitude of the moment. Braden knelt behind the mound and wrote his dad’s initials in the dirt before delivering his first pitch. His pitching delivery is smooth and fundamentally pure.

“You can tell Roy worked with him,” Manuel said.

Braden mixed his pitches nicely in getting two pop-ups and a ground ball. He hit 83 mph on the stadium radar gun. A few months ago, Braden announced that he had committed to Penn State. Manuel sees a lot of promise in the kid.

“When he’s 21, he’ll pitch at 205 pounds,” Manuel said. “He’ll get stronger. You watch, he’s got a chance to be real good. He has a good, quick arm, command of the ball and mechanics.”

Where the game will eventually take Braden Halladay is a story for another day. Back in November, he sat in the middle of a baseball field and listened to people eulogize his dad. It was an excruciatingly difficult experience and the look on his face that day said as much.

So on Saturday, it was just great to see Braden Halladay back on a baseball field with a smile on his face. And it was great to see Charlie Manuel there, taking it all in, just as he had promised.

Jake Arrieta delights crowd, breaks bats

AP Images

Jake Arrieta delights crowd, breaks bats

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Spectrum Field was sold out, filled with fans clad in green and smeared with sunblock for a game against the Atlanta Braves on a festive St. Paddy’s Day.
But the main event Saturday took place several hundred yards away at the minor-league complex, two hours before the big-league game even began.
Five days after signing a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies, Jake Arrieta climbed atop a mound and threw a 31-pitch (two-inning) simulated game. Scott Kingery, Jorge Alfaro, Logan Moore and Andrew Pullin were the hitters. Andrew Knapp was the catcher. Players, coaches, minor-league instructors and manager Gabe Kapler all peeked in. Dozens of fans hugged the chain-link fence to get a look at the newest Phillie. They applauded when Arrieta took the mound and again when he finished.
“It was great,” the 32-year-old pitcher said moments after the workout ended. “There’s a lot of people out here. A lot of people are excited for the Phillies in 2018. We’ve got a lot of good things going on here. A lot of guys are healthy and competing, there’s a lot of youth. It’s a really fun time to be in this organization.”
Arrieta said he felt “really good physically,” not a surprise because he came into camp in terrific shape and had gotten to over 60 pitches in bullpen sessions back home in Austin, Texas. He threw all his pitches, including a couple of knee-buckling curveballs. He broke two of Alfaro’s bats, one with a sinker, one with a cutter.
“My goal was to throw everything in the arsenal for strikes and throw my off-speed pitches in and out of the zone where I could get some chases,” Arrieta said.
Arrieta did allow some contact, mostly ground balls.
Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Cubs. He won 22 games and had a 1.77 ERA that season.
A deceptive delivery is one of Arrieta’s strengths. He throws across his body and that crossfire action makes it difficult for a hitter to pick up the ball.
“It’s extremely deceptive,” Kingery said. “Every pitch is extremely deceptive. That’s what hit me. His curveball looks like it’s coming at your head then it drops.”
Arrieta is still hoping to be ready for the first week of the regular season, but the Phillies have not formulated a firm game plan. One thing is certain: They won’t rush him. They want him for the long haul. They could hold him back 10 days or so, allowing him to build more arm strength, and he’d still make 30 starts.
Arrieta expects to throw a bullpen session in the next day or two and try to get up around 60 pitches in his next outing. That could be in a minor-league game or in another simulated game.
“As long as we continue to get my pitch count up, I think I’ll be fine going into the season,” he said.