Phillies

Phillies-Marlins observations: Nick Williams delivers win in extras

Phillies-Marlins observations: Nick Williams delivers win in extras

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — Nick Williams came through just in time.

The rookie stroked a two-run single to right in the top of the 12th inning to lead the Phillies to a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Marlins Park.

Williams, who had failed to get a runner home from third base with one out in the fifth inning and again in the 10th, found redemption against Marlins reliever Junichi Tazawa (3-4).

The Phillies (52-84) took three out of four games from the Marlins (67-69).

• Reliever Adam Morgan (3-1) was brilliant with three scoreless innings. He allowed no hits and just one walk, a splendid encore to his work earlier this weekend when he pitched one scoreless inning.

Hector Neris got the save, his 19th.

• The Phillies got a stellar start from 23-year-old Jake Thompson.

Called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley in time to make his 14th career start, Thompson struck out a career-high seven batters in six innings. He allowed three hits and no walks but took a no-decision.

• With no Rhys Hoskins (bruised hand) in the lineup, the Phillies struggled to score. The middle of the lineup — where Hoskins normally resides — was especially poor … until the 12th.

Still, Williams, in the three-hole, went 1 for 5 with a strikeout, stranding five runners.

Clean-up man Tommy Joseph went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts, stranding six.

Williams had opportunities to drive in runs in both the fifth and 10th innings, but he failed both times. Joseph followed him with an inning-ending out in both of those frames.  

• Cameron Perkins nearly won the game for the Phillies in the ninth. With a runner on first and two outs, his long drive to dead center was run down by Christian Yelich.

• The Phillies had a forgettable eighth inning as all three of their batters — Freddy Galvis, Williams and Joseph — struck out against reliever Kyle Barraclough.

• From the hole at shortstop, Galvis threw out Marcell Ozuna at first on a bang-bang-bang play in the seventh.

That’s three “bangs” because the ball tipped off the glove of third baseman Maikel Franco, was caught by Galvis and then dug out of the dirt at first by Joseph. Ozuna was originally called safe, but that ruling was overturned on video review.

• The Phillies opened the scoring with one run in the fifth, but the Phillies really should have cashed in a bit better.

The Phillies produced four singles, making Marlins starter Jose Urena throw 27 pitches. Cesar Hernandez got the RBI on an opposite-field single, but Williams (lineout) and Joseph (groundout) both stranded the bases loaded.

• Miami tied the score in the bottom of the fifth due to an unfortunate circumstance. Miami’s Brian Anderson, playing his first weekend of Major League Baseball, pulled a leadoff double down the third-base line, advanced to third on an A.J. Ellis groundout and scored on a wild pitch in the dirt.

Certainly, Thompson has to wear that wild pitch, which occurred on an 84-mph breaking ball away. But it was also not catcher Jorge Alfaro’s finest moment as he failed to block that pitch and save his pitcher.

Carlos Santana is ready to show Maikel Franco the way

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NBC Sports Philadelphia/AP Images

Carlos Santana is ready to show Maikel Franco the way

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The numbering is a little off in the Phillies’ spring training clubhouse. Usually lockers are assigned in numerical sequence, clockwise around the room. But this spring, No. 41 comes immediately after No. 7.

Why?

Because that’s the way Carlos Santana wanted it.

“I told the team that I wanted Maikel Franco right next to me,” the new first baseman said after his first workout with the club Saturday. “That's something that I wanted. I really like him. He's a special kid. I appreciate him a lot. And, not only him, the whole group is nice. But I really want to work with him and help him out.”

Santana, 31, and Franco, 25, are both natives of the Dominican Republic. They bonded this winter. After Santana signed with the Phillies in December, he worked out at the Phillies' academy in the DR with Franco.

It’s no secret this is a big year for Franco (see story). He needs to finally put together his potential or the team may look elsewhere – hello, Manny Machado – for its next third baseman.

Franco’s big area of need is Santana’s area of strength: Plate discipline. Santana walks almost as much as he strikes out. He has registered a career on-base percentage of .365 while averaging 24 homers over the last seven seasons. Franco has pop – he has hit 25 and 24 homers, respectively, the last two seasons – but his career on-base percentage is just .300 after a dip to .281 last season.

Santana has reached at least 100 walks twice in his career and at least 91 four other times. Franco had a career-best 41 walks last season.

Santana praised Victor Martinez for being a mentor to him early in his career. “That’s why I wear No. 41,” he said. Santana wants to be Franco’s Victor Martinez.

“We’re going to work together every single day,” Santana said. “We’re going to make sure he executes the plan he wants to follow. I know he’s a guy that’s very talented and he’s capable of a lot. So I’m going to be there. I’m committed to helping him. I’m going to be in the cage, hitting as many balls as possible. He already told me today that he wants to follow me everywhere he goes. If I have to go to the cage he’s going to go with me to hit some balls. He’s committed and I’m committed, too.”

The Phillies have baseball’s second-worst on-base percentage (.307, San Diego is .303) the last six seasons. The additions of Santana and J.P. Crawford to the lineup – and a full season of Rhys Hoskins, another selective hitter – should help the offense.

“When you have a guy (like Santana) in the middle of the lineup, grinding down the opposing pitcher – just imagine, you’re a pitcher on the other side and you’re delivering pitch after pitch that’s getting fouled off or a ball that is just off the corner and being taken, you get exhausted,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Guess who benefits from that? The next man up and the next man up and there’s this ripple effect. An exhausted starting pitcher or even an exhausted reliever is a really good thing for the Philadelphia Phillies.”

Santana signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Phillies in December. He said the Phillies’ young core reminds him of the group of youngsters that his former team, the Cleveland Indians, brought to the majors in recent seasons.

Unlike a number of other free agents who are still jobless in this unusual year for free agents, Santana jumped relatively early at the Phillies’ offer. He said it was “shocking” that so many free agents remain unsigned.

“I know baseball is going through a difficult time right now, with all of the free agents,” Santana said. “But it worked out for me. I am happy. I can only speak for myself, and I am happy I did it the way I did it. It's very surprising because there are a lot of talented free agents out there. I thought it would be very different from what it's been.”

To prepare for the new season and the new team, Santana worked with a personal trainer in the Dominican Republic. In one of the drills, he was forced to push a car.

“It was a complete workout,” he said. “It wasn't only to get ready for preseason, it was also to get ready for the season and be successful during the season.

“It's a positive atmosphere here. I see a lot of young guys, very hungry and very eager to win. You can tell everyone is ready to go here.”

Phillies add experienced candidate to their bullpen

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USA Today Images

Phillies add experienced candidate to their bullpen

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies on Saturday added to their stock of reliever candidates with the signing of veteran left-hander Fernando Abad to a minor-league contract. Abad will report to big-league camp and compete for a job on the 25-man roster.

The Phillies are likely to have an eight-man bullpen. The addition of Abad gives the Phillies four left-handed relief candidates. Adam Morgan, Hoby Milner and Zac Curtis are all on the 40-man roster. 

Morgan and Milner both shined in the second half of 2017. Morgan recorded a 1.69 ERA in 21 games over the final two months. He pitched 26 2/3 innings over that span, allowed just 16 hits and five runs, struck out 33 and walked six. Milner gave up just two runs in 21 2/3 innings over his last 27 games. He struck out 15 and managed to pitch around 12 walks. He was tough on lefty hitters (.159), but struggled against righties (.377). Curtis was a late-season waiver claim from Seattle. He pitched in just three games with the Phillies. 

Abad, 32, is an eight-year major-league veteran who has made stops in Houston, Washington, Oakland, Minnesota and Boston. He had a 3.30 ERA in 48 games with the Red Sox last season and lefties hit .227 off him.

From the right side, the Phillies have some bullpen depth with closer Hector Neris, veteran setup men Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter, Luis Garcia and Edubray Ramos. Victor Arano, Ricardo Pinto, Yacksel Rios and Seranthony Dominquez are also on the 40-man roster. 

Dominguez hit 100 mph on the radar gun as a starter last season and is being converted to the bullpen. He is likely to open the season at Double A Reading, but “could be a quick mover,” general manager Matt Klentak said.

The list of bullpen candidates also includes two veterans on minor-league contracts: Pedro Beato and Francisco Rodriguez. The latter is a 16-year veteran who has racked up 437 saves – fourth-most all-time – in his career. Rodriguez was released by the Tigers and Nationals last summer and is trying to make the Phillies as a non-roster invitee to big-league camp.