Ben Lively hits 1st rough patch as Phillies downed in desert by D-backs

Ben Lively hits 1st rough patch as Phillies downed in desert by D-backs


PHOENIX -- Entering Saturday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies had won two straight games on the strength of a pair of good starts by Aaron Nola and Mark Leiter Jr.
Those two outings affirmed the age-old reality that even a bad team has a shot to win if it gets good pitching.
Ben Lively couldn't keep the streak of good starts going. He was tagged for seven hits and five runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 9-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks (see Instant Replay).
The bullpen work was also spotty. Hoby Milner, Edubray Ramos and Adam Morgan allowed a combined eight baserunners and four runs over 2 2/3 innings.
"You pitch better," manager Pete Mackanin said when asked if there could have been a way to hold down the Diamondbacks' powerful offense. "That's basically it. Our guy pitched great yesterday. We had some good pitching in that game. Today, not so much."
The Diamondbacks improved to 27-10 at home while the Phillies fell to 10-29 on the road and 24-49 overall.
Arizona lefty Robbie Ray and three relievers held the Phillies to two runs on the night. Both of them came on one swing by Lively. Yes, the pitcher provided all of the Phillies' offense. Lively clubbed his first career homer, a two-run shot, on a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball from Ray with two outs in the fourth inning.
"My first at-bat, he threw fastballs right by me and I was like, 'Dang, that's pretty firm,' " Lively said. "The next at-bat they gave me the go-ahead on the first pitch and it was right there."
Lively lined the pitch over the wall in right-center to give the Phils a 2-1 lead.
As it turned out, the homer may have hurt Lively as much as it helped him.
"I was pretty pumped up about that and I kind of stayed a little too pumped up," he said.
He lost the lead in the fourth, giving up a run after allowing two straight hits to open the inning. He allowed two more hits and a run in the fifth then was tagged for two more in the sixth, one on a leadoff homer by Jake Lamb.
"I just kind of let it get away from me," Lively said. "I was squeezed down in the zone. That kind of got me a little more, I wouldn't say frustrated, but I just got going, going, going and kind of let the speed of the game get to me. I usually don't let that happen. I made some bad pitches.
"I can't pitch like that. I was making terrible pitches. I was grabbing the ball and going. I wasn’t even thinking. You can't do that up here."
Lively had begun his major-league career with four straight quality starts before this outing.
"Arizona has a good hitting team," Mackanin said. "He made a few mistakes. He'd been doing well for us. But today wasn't his best outing."
Ray pitched 6 1/3 innings for his eighth win. He is 6-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last seven starts.
The game featured some good and bad Phillies' defense. Third baseman Maikel Franco made two fielding gems, but centerfielder Odubel Herrera was charged with an error when he dropped a ball at the warning track in the second. It led to an unearned run behind Lively.
"The only thing I can think about talking about was Lively's two-run homer run and two great plays by Franco," Mackanin said.
Mackanin was right. There wasn't much worth talking about after this one. That has been the case too many times in this long, losing season. Maybe Sunday will offer something more.

Nick Williams out briefly with broken nose; Pat Neshek close to being 'biggest bullpen acquisition'

Nick Williams out briefly with broken nose; Pat Neshek close to being 'biggest bullpen acquisition'

A few interesting items on the injury front from Citizens Bank Park:

• Nick Williams is not in Tuesday night’s lineup. He left Monday night’s game after getting hit in the nose by a ball that ricocheted off the right field wall. At first, it looked like Williams had suffered nothing more than a bloody nose. Further evaluation revealed a break. Both Williams and the Phillies are confident he can avoid the disabled list and return very soon.

“I thought I could play today,” Williams said. “I’m ready.”

It does not appear as if Williams suffered a concussion though the team was awaiting the results of some tests.

“As of right now, we don't think there is a concussion,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Our feeling is that he's going to be able to go [Wednesday]. This is nothing long term; it's not a DL. But we do want to be careful with the concussion stuff for today."

• Reliever Pat Neshek, who has not pitched this season because of a shoulder injury then later a forearm injury, is making good progress in Florida. He could be out on a minor-league rehab assignment next week and be back in early July.

“When Pat thinks he’s ready and our evaluators think he’s ready, we’ll gladly get him here right away,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “I couldn’t tell you if that’s going to be one or two outings or four or five outings.”

Klentak signed Neshek to a two-year, $16.25 million contract in the offseason. He believes the veteran right-hander will provide a big boost to the bullpen.

“That may be the single biggest bullpen acquisition any team makes — Pat Neshek rejoining us,” Klentak said. “This guy was as good a setup reliever as there was in all of baseball for six months last season.”

• Mickey Moniak has been out of the Clearwater lineup recently. He had his wisdom teeth removed. He is working his way back into action. Moniak, 20, was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

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Third overall pick Alec Bohm off to hot start in his first game


Third overall pick Alec Bohm off to hot start in his first game

Just 15 days ago, Alec Bohm heard his name called by the Philadelphia Phillies as the third pick in the 2018 MLB draft. Today, Bohm didn't waste any time showing why the Phillies signed him for $5.85 million. In fact, he showed it on the very first pitch of the very first at-bat of his professional career.

Batting second for the GCL Phillies, Bohm ripped the first pitch he saw to right field for an RBI-triple. The hit came off Anderson Munoz, a 19-year-old pitcher in the Yankees organization. Bohm ended the game 1 for 2, reaching on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the third before the game was suspended.

Bohm, 21, is coming off a big season at Wichita State, where he hit .339 with a .436 on-base percentage and 16 homers as a junior.

Last week, Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz said that Bohm will start in rookie ball with the GCL Phillies before making his way to Single-A Williamsport with the hope that he will finish the year at Single-A Lakewood, who have already clinched a spot in the South Atlantic League playoffs (see story). This is the same path Adam Haseley, the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft, took last year before starting his first full season of professional baseball in Clearwater.

As a 21-year-old who played three years of collegiate baseball, it’s not unfair to expect strong production from Bohm this year, as he will be playing against competition his age or younger than him, for the most part. Two at-bats into his career, he’s already off to a good start.

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