Tonight's lineup: Freddy Galvis sits for 1st time this year as J.P. Crawford starts at shortstop


Tonight's lineup: Freddy Galvis sits for 1st time this year as J.P. Crawford starts at shortstop

All good things must come to an end, and today that means Freddy Galvis' ironman streak has come to an end. For the first time this season, Galvis is not in the lineup and will not reach his personal goal of playing in all 162 games. 

But get excited, because, with Galvis out, we'll get our first look at J.P. Crawford at shortstop, his natural position and most likely landing spot in the future with the big-league club.

Through his first three MLB games, Crawford is 1 for 11 (.091) with three strikeouts but has played sound ball in the field.

He'll have a tough time tonight, as Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer takes the mound for the Nats. Scherzer is 13-5 with a 2.19 ERA — second to only Clayton Kershaw (2.15) in all of MLB — with 232 strikeouts to 43 walks. 

Current Phillies are hitting just .224 off the righty, with just two home runs in 192 combined games played vs. Scherzer. 

Odubel Herrera is the only Phillies' starter to have any semblance of success vs. Scherzer, with a career .323 batting average, including a double, triple and five walks. 

Maikel Franco, who has sat the last three games in favor of Crawford, cracks the lineup, but is hitting just .056 (1 for 18) in his career vs. Scherzer.  

Here is the Phillies lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
4. Nick Williams, RF
5. Maikel Franco, 3B
6. Hyun Soo Kim, LF
7. Jorge Alfaro, C
8. J.P. Crawford, SS
9. Jake Thompson, P

And the Nationals lineup:

1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Howie Kendrick, LF
3. Daniel Murphy, 2B
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
5. Anthony Rendon, 3B
6. Matt Wieters, C
7. Michael Taylor, CF
8. Alejandro De Aza, RF
9. Max Scherzer, P

With Jerad Eickhoff on the mend, Ben Lively can't afford many more of these

With Jerad Eickhoff on the mend, Ben Lively can't afford many more of these


The calendar turns to May next week and that month will offer more evidence of whether this Phillies team is for real or just the latest example of a club that captured some imaginations with a hot start.

May will also bring some interesting personnel decisions for the front office as three pitchers — relievers Pat Neshek and Mark Leiter Jr. and starter Jerad Eickhoff — near reinstatement from the disabled list (more on Neshek here).

General manager Matt Klentak spoke enthusiastically about Eickhoff’s progress on Wednesday and said the right-hander, who is recovering from a strained lat muscle, would go back in the rotation when he’s ready, probably in the latter part of the month.

Who will go when Eickhoff returns?

It’s not going to be Jake Arrieta, Aaron Nola or Nick Pivetta, and team officials might want to give Vince Velasquez more of a look before they deal with the long talked-about issue of whether his future is as a starter or a reliever. That leaves Ben Lively as a likely image in the crosshairs. It’s up to the 26-year-old righty to not make himself an easy target and he can do that by pitching well, by doing what a No. 5 starter needs to do: keep his team in games.

Lively had done that in his first four starts this season, but he took a step backward on Thursday and was tagged for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in an 8-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks (see first take).

Lively can’t afford many similar performances if he wants to stay out of the front office’s crosshairs.

“He just didn’t have his best fastball,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “That’s a really good lineup and if you don’t have your best stuff, they’re going to punish you.”

Lively gave up a base hit and a home run on the first three pitches he threw. Arizona sent nine men to the plate in the first inning.

“I guarantee they saw that I was missing over the plate with my fastballs and they were ready for it and every single one I threw over the plate got hit really hard,” Lively said.

Lively offered that he had trouble getting loose and felt some stiffness in his lower back that caused his pitches to leak over the plate.

“I’m not going to blame this on that,” he said. “I still have to make my pitches.”

Arizona owns the NL’s best record. The Phils won one of the three games in the series. They stand at 15-9 while Arizona is 17-7.

“A three-game series is no indication that one team is better than the other,” Kapler said. “We can definitely play with those guys. We can play with anybody in this league. I feel very confident in our team.”

“We came into today with a chance to win a series,” Rhys Hoskins said. “That’s all you can ask for. It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but we’ve got a series coming up against the Braves, a divisional series that can get us right back to where we want to be.”

Nola gets the ball in Friday night’s series opener and that’s a good place to start for the Phillies. They are 2-4 against the Braves this season.

Phillies pounded by Diamondbacks in gut-check series finale

Phillies pounded by Diamondbacks in gut-check series finale


A series billed as a measuring stick for the Phillies ended with a one-sided loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon.

The D-backs jumped Phillies' starting pitcher Ben Lively for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings en route to pounding the Phils, 8-2, at Citizens Bank Park.

Arizona, which owns the majors’ second-best record at 17-7, ended up winning two of three in the series. The Phillies are 15-9. They entered the series finale with the fifth-best record in the majors.

The Phils beat Arizona and right-hander Zach Greinke, 5-3, on the strength of a strong start from Jake Arrieta and a three-run homer by Aaron Altherr on Wednesday night.

Any momentum that the Phils gained in that one went away quickly as Lively was ambushed for three runs in the first inning. The right-hander served up a two-run homer to Jarrod Dyson two batters into the game as Arizona sent nine men to the plate in the first inning.

Lively walked two batters in the third inning, one setting the table for a three-run homer by Nick Ahmed. The other preceded a two-run homer that was served up by Lively’s replacement, Drew Hutchison.

Hutchison was able to give the Phils 3 2/3 innings of one-run mop-up duty as the team did not have to blow out its bullpen before a three-game series against Atlanta.

Lively does not have overpowering stuff. He relies on deception in his delivery and location of his pitches to keep his team in games. He had done that in his previous three starts, all Phillies’ victories, but was unable to continue the streak in this one.

The Phillies’ starting rotation has been a strength this season. The starting staff entered the game ranked first in the NL with a 3.08 ERA. A starter had allowed more than three earned runs in just four of 24 games this season.

Rookie Matt Koch got the win for Arizona. He held the Phillies to six hits and two runs over five innings.

• Odubel Herrera has reached base in 26 straight games, dating to last season.

• Aaron Altherr is 7 for 18 with two doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBIs in his last five games.

• The Phillies host Atlanta the next three days. Pitching matchups:

Friday night — RHP Aaron Nola (2-1, 2.30) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (1-1, 4.00)

Saturday night — RHP Nick Pivetta (1-0, 2.57) vs. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-1, 2.77)

Sunday afternoon — RHP Vince Velasquez (1-3, 4.50) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-0, 3.38)