Phillies

Instant Replay: Angels 5, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Angels 5, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM, Calif. — An eighth-inning meltdown by Luis Garcia resulted in a dubious bit of history for the Phillies, as the 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday set a new record for longest losing streak to one opponent in interleague play. 

The Phillies dropped their 12th straight to the Angels, passing the previous mark held by the Pittsburgh Pirates (11 consecutive losses to the Oakland A’s from 2002-2013) and Seattle Mariners (11 consecutive losses to the Washington Nationals from 2005-2014).  

It is also the Phillies’ longest losing streak to any one opponent since dropping 12 in a row against the Houston Astros from 2004-2005.

The Phillies have not defeated the Angels since June 9, 2003.

Andrelton Simmons gave the Angels the lead by scoring on a wild pitch that sailed well over catcher Cameron Rupp. Rupp made a nice recovery to get the ball off the backstop, but Garcia’s tag was not in time.  

Garcia gave up an 11-pitch walk to Luis Valbuena to start the inning, and Simmons followed it up with a double. C.J. Cron grounded out, but it was enough for pinch-runner Cliff Pennington to tie the game at 4-4.  

The bullpen blues squandered a sensational game by Nick Williams. Williams hit his fifth career homer in the second inning to cancel out Mike Trout’s two-run shot in the first despite the two-time American League MVP’s sensational defensive effort. Trout timed his jump at the wall perfectly, but the trajectory of the ball put it inches over his outstretched glove.

Freddy Galvis followed it up with a sharp base hit to right that drove in Hyun Soo Kim and Cesar Hernandez.    

Odubel Herrera denied Martin Maldonado a two-run homer in the fourth inning. With a leaping grab, Herrera was able to do what Trout had barely missed out on earlier. The Angels were able to push one run across in the inning. 

Starting pitching report
Jerad Eickhoff gave up three runs on three hits in six innings, striking out five and walking four.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin noted before the game that Eickhoff has struggled with his curveball this season, and that observation proved to be prescient. It was a 77.8 mph, thigh-high curve that Trout parked in left-center between the bullpen and faux rock work.

But Eickhoff settled down. Getting Albert Pujols to strike out with two runners on to end the second inning helped the right-hander find a groove, and he gave up only one walk over his final five innings of work. 

Parker Bridwell went five innings, giving up four runs on six hits. He had four strikeouts and three walks.

Bullpen report
Edubray Ramos made his first appearance since being recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley. The Angels put runners on the corners with two outs in the seventh inning, but Ramos got Pujols to hit a pop fly to right field that ended his outing without giving up a run.

Mackanin said on Tuesday before the start of the three-game series that closer Hector Neris made him nervous with his penchant for getting into trouble, but it was Garcia (1-2, 2.49) who left the skipper in shock.  

Yusmeiro Petit (3-0, 2.44) got the win for his one inning in relief, while Bud Norris picked up his 17th save.

At the plate
Williams added doubles in the sixth and eighth innings. The promising 23-year-old ended the evening 3 for 4 in his first-ever start as a designated hitter. Making just his 27th career appearance in the major leagues, Williams has nine multi-hit games.

Hernandez extended his hitting streak to eight games, and has reached base in 15 of his last 16 games since coming off the disabled list. Hernandez is hitting .412 (14 for 34) during the streak. 

Kim went 1 for 3 and has reached base in seven of 16 plate appearances since joining the Phillies.

In the field
Andrew Knapp left the game in the second inning after he was hit in the right hand by a foul tip. Knapp was examined by a trainer and tried a couple of soft tosses before departing. 

Rupp replaced Knapp at catcher. 

The injury was officially termed a contusion.

Roster move
Shortly after the game, the Phillies optioned right-handed starter Jake Thompson to Triple A Lehigh Valley. A corresponding roster move will be made Friday.

Up next
The Phillies’ eight-game road trip continues against the Colorado Rockies, who took three of four earlier this season in Philadelphia. Stopping the Rockies’ offense was a challenge before it could benefit from the thin air in Denver, as Colorado scored 24 runs in the late-May series.

Here are the probable pitching matchups:

Friday — Vince Velasquez (2-6, 4.91) vs. Kyle Freeland (11-7, 3.71)

Saturday — Nick Pivetta (4-6, 5.42) vs. Jon Gray (3-2, 5.52)

Sunday — Aaron Nola (8-7, 3.16) vs. Jeff Hoffman (3-2, 5.38)

Friday’s game starts at 8:40 p.m., Saturday’s at 8:10 p.m. and Sunday’s matinee finale is at 3:10 p.m.

Phillies part with last man in Cole Hamels trade, demote Nick Pivetta, add reliever Connor Brogdon

Phillies part with last man in Cole Hamels trade, demote Nick Pivetta, add reliever Connor Brogdon

The Phillies on Tuesday made some changes to the worst bullpen in the majors.

Promising right-hander Connor Brogdon and veteran Blake Parker were both promoted from the team’s reserve camp in Lehigh Valley. 

In corresponding moves, the Phillies optioned pitcher Nick Pivetta to the camp in Lehigh Valley. That move came the day after he was torched for six hits and six runs in the ninth inning of Monday’s 13-8 win over Atlanta.

To make room for Brogdon and Parker on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated reliever Trevor Kelley and outfielder Nick Williams for assignment.

The removal of Williams from the roster was hardly surprising, but it was certainly noteworthy. Williams, 26, came to the Phillies in one of the biggest trades that the club has made in recent years, the deal that sent Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2015.

In addition to Williams, the Phillies picked up catcher Jorge Alfaro and pitchers Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and Alec Asher in the deal. Five years later, all of those players have moved on. J.T. Realmuto, acquired from Miami in February 2019 for a package that included Alfaro, represents the last vestige of that deal. He will be eligible for free agency after this season.

Williams played parts of three seasons in the majors with the Phils. He hit .269 with 29 homers, 105 RBIs and a .776 OPS in 720 at-bats in 2017 and 2018 but could not solidify a spot in the team’s future plans. When the Phils signed corner outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper to long-term deals before the 2019 season, Williams’ days with the club became numbered because he’s only capable of playing corner outfield spots. Williams struggled mightily in limited time in the majors last season. He fell out of favor with management and openly longed for the change of scenery he will get if he is traded or picked up on waivers by another club.

Pivetta was also acquired in a trade in the summer of 2015. He also could be in need of a change of scenery after a poor season in 2019 and a poor start to this season. He allowed 10 hits and 10 runs in 5 2/3 innings before being sent out Tuesday. According to a source with another big-league club, the Phillies are open to trading Pivetta, but that’s hardly a surprise.

The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game against Baltimore with the worst bullpen ERA in the majors at 9.87. The starters, meanwhile, had an ERA of 3.20, fifth best in the majors.

Parker spent some time with the Phillies last season.

Brogdon, 25, pitched at three levels of the Phillies’ system last season and had a 2.61 ERA in 51 games. The lanky righty has a fastball that reaches the mid-90s and an excellent changeup. He struck out 106 and walked just 24 in 76 innings last season. The Phillies actually considered bringing up Brogdon late last season. Now, he’s here.

“There’s a lot of upside with Connor,” manager Joe Girardi said.

In other bullpen news, David Robertson and Ranger Suarez are both scheduled to throw bullpen sessions at Citizens Bank Park in the coming days before joining the 60-man player pool in Lehigh Valley. Robertson had Tommy John surgery a year ago. The Phillies hope he can make it back to help during the final month of the season. Suarez could also help. He is building strength after being in COVID protocol.

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Phillies Spencer Howard picks his favorite MLB uniform, hints at a number change

Phillies Spencer Howard picks his favorite MLB uniform, hints at a number change

Spencer Howard's first career start with the Phillies over the weekend wasn't a storybook debut - but in such an unusual season, and considering the high expectations, it also could've been way worse. 

He flashed some good stuff, struck out his last batter, and came away with some building blocks for his next appearance.

Howard appeared on former Phillie Kevin Frandsen's podcast to chat about his MLB debut, including what went well, what he wants to improve, and - most importantly - baseball uniforms.

Because the youngster managed to make his major league debut in the Phillies' throwback blues, lending a little extra stylish pizazz to what was already a big day, both for Howard and the organization:

Frandsen asked Howard during the podcast what his first thought was when he saw his own uniform hanging in the Phillies' clubhouse, and Howard had a fantastic answer:

HOWARD: That those are probably the best unis in baseball, man, the baby blues.

FRANDSEN: And you got to make your debut in that!

[...]

HOWARD: It's so pretty, they're so comfortable. It was incredible.

While Phillies fans will likely see Howard in the greys or the red pinstripes more often than not, it's probably so cool to make your first start in a universally-beloved throwback uniform.

A little later on during the appearance, Frandsen asked Howard about a sneaky big part of a player's identity: the number!

FRANDSEN: Are you a big number guy? Did you want a certain number? Were you hoping for a certain number? Did you want to keep 83?

HOWARD: No, I - definitely not 83 [laughs] - I'm not too big on it, but I think 48 is nice. I was more curious, than anything, to see what they'd give me.

FRANDSEN: What did you want? 

HOWARD: Out of all the available ones, I was shooting for 28, maybe? Hoping?

Frandsen, of course, pointed out that he wore No. 28 with the Phillies. A true legend. The most notable recent Phillie to wear No. 28? Jayson Werth, from 2007 to 2010. Since then, Frandsen, Kevin Correia, Erik Kratz, Vince Velasquez, and Mike Morin have donned the number. 

A decade between important players feels like enough time for Howard to claim the No. 28, if he feels like making the switch.

Or he could stick with No. 48, a number without much significant Phillies history, and make it his own. Up to him.

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More on the Phillies