Instant Replay: Reds 7, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Reds 7, Phillies 4


CINCINNATI -- One Phillies debut went pretty well Thursday afternoon.

Another did not.

Daniel Nava clubbed a pair of homers to help build an early three-run lead, but Clay Buchholz could not protect that lead and the Phillies ended up with a 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in the season-opening series finale Thursday afternoon.

Nava and Buchholz, former teammates with the Boston Red Sox, were both in their first game for the Phillies.

Buchholz left the game after five innings with the score tied, 4-4.

The Reds pulled away with a pair of home runs against reliever Adam Morgan.

After winning on opening day, the Phillies lost two in a row to the Reds. Jerad Eickhoff delivered a quality start in one of them but got no run support. The Phils could not hold a three-run lead in the other.

Starting pitching report
Buchholz pitched five innings and allowed nine base runners -- seven hits and two walks. He gave up four runs. Three of those runs came in the fourth inning when the Reds' first four batters reached base on three singles and a walk.

Cincinnati right-hander Rookie Davis gave up five hits, including both of Nava's homers, and four runs over three innings in his major-league debut, but his mates got him off the hook.

Bullpen report
Morgan took the loss. He gave up a tie-breaking, solo homer to Michael Lorenzen with two outs in the sixth and a two-run homer to Adam Duvall in the seventh.

Cincinnati's bullpen worked six scoreless innings.

At the plate
Nava hit the second pitch he saw in the first inning for a solo homer. He then clubbed a two-run shot in the third to put the Phillies up 3-1. They build the lead to 4-1 in that inning after Odubel Herrera doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

The Phils did not score a run after the third inning. They got the first two men on base in the fifth and sixth innings, all via walks, and did nothing with the threats. Both ultimately ended on double-play balls. One was short-circuited by a base-running mistake by Andrew Knapp, who made his first big-league start.

Phillies hitters struck out 12 times. They struck out 13 times on Wednesday.

Lorenzen had a huge hand in the Reds' two wins in the series. The relief pitcher got three big outs with men on base in the eighth inning of the Reds' 2-0 win on Wednesday night. In this game, he was used as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. He smoked a 3-1 pitch over the center-field wall against Morgan to give the Reds the lead. Lorenzen has a history as a hitter. He was an outfielder/pitcher at Cal State Fullerton.

Zack Cozart drove in the Reds' first two runs.

Lineup stuff
Knapp (catcher) and Brock Stassi (first base) made their first big-league starts.

Up next
The Phillies play their home opener Friday afternoon against the Washington Nationals. Vince Velasquez will oppose Max Scherzer in a battle of hard-throwing right-handers.

Scherzer won the NL Cy Young award last season. He is 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 11 career starts against the Phillies and 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA in five starts at Citizens Bank Park.

Ben Lively states his case for spot on Phillies' pitching staff

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Ben Lively states his case for spot on Phillies' pitching staff


CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies will be without Mark Leiter Jr.'s versatile arm for about six weeks. An MRI performed Monday on the pitcher's sore right forearm showed a strained flexor muscle.

Leiter had a good chance to make the opening day roster as a long reliever or fifth starter. With him out, the Phillies could be in need of a swingman.

Could Ben Lively be that guy?

"I can pitch anywhere," the competitive 26-year-old right-hander said. "I don't care. Wherever they want, I'll pitch."

Lively did nothing to hurt his chances of making the club as he turned in five shutout innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a rain-shortened 2-0 win Tuesday afternoon. He allowed just three hits, walked none and struck out four. He was particularly impressive in the fourth inning, striking out Justin Smoak and retiring Russell Martin on a tapper back to the mound with runners on second and third.

"I just tried to bear down and stick to the game plan," Lively said. "There's too much technology around here now. We have all the heat maps and we talked about it before the game and I just stayed with it."

Lively made 15 starts with the big club last year and 10 of them were quality starts in which he went at least six innings and gave up three or fewer earned runs. Lively doesn't have power stuff. He gave up 9.1 hits per nine innings last season and struck out just 5.3 per nine. Management would love to see some improvement in those areas — i.e., more of what he displayed on Tuesday.

"Lively was strong today," manager Gabe Kapler said. "He came out and attacked the zone.

"One of the things that is important is that we see some swing and misses with Lives and we saw a couple of bat-missing moments today that were, to me, a big deal. He induces quick contact, which is important, but we also like to see the ability to miss bats and we saw that on a couple of occasions, (Curtis) Granderson being most notable."

Granderson struck out twice against Lively.

"We look at past tendencies from recent years," Lively said of his pregame study. "The main one we looked at today was Granderson. He has a low slugging percentage on the outer half (of the plate), so we pounded him on the outer half the whole time."

With Jerad Eickhoff headed to the disabled list and Nick Pivetta likely to join Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta and Vince Velasquez in the starting rotation, Lively appears to be vying for the fifth starter's job with Zach Eflin and non-roster invite Drew Hutchison. But he and Hutchison also could be vying for a long man's job in the bullpen.

By mid-April, the Phillies will probably have an eight-man bullpen. But they could break with an extra reliever because they won't need a fifth starter until April 11.

However it shakes out, Lively did not hurt his chances of landing some role with his performance Tuesday.

Roster moves
The Phillies sent catcher Logan Moore, infielder Mitch Walding and outfielder Andrew Pullin to minor-league camp.

What's up with Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez?

Photo: NBCSP

What's up with Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez?

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Sixto Sanchez, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, has been noticeably absent from game action in minor-league camp.

Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development, says there's nothing to be alarmed about.

"He had the flu and he's over it now," Jordan said. "He's fine now. No issues. He's 100 percent."

Jordan said Sanchez got up to 30 pitches in a bullpen session this week.

"He let it go with all his pitches," Jordan said.

Jordan added that Sanchez would pitch in a game in the next few days. He added that Sanchez would open the season on time with the Clearwater club, though his innings will be watched at the outset until he's fully stretched out.

Sanchez, 19, is a power-armed right-hander with remarkable control. He went 5-7 with 3.03 ERA in 18 starts at Lakewood and Clearwater, both Single A affiliates, last season. He pitched 95 innings, struck out 84, walked 18 and had a WHIP of 0.958.