roman quinn

White Sox 4, Phillies 3 (15 innings): Roman Quinn and Vince Velasquez change roles and Phillies nearly get away with it

White Sox 4, Phillies 3 (15 innings): Roman Quinn and Vince Velasquez change roles and Phillies nearly get away with it

BOX SCORE 

You truly never know what you're going to see at the ol' ballyard.

The Phillies were forced to turn to outfielder Roman Quinn to pitch the 14th inning of a tie game. They were forced to put Vince Velasquez in left field. And not only did Quinn pitch two innings, but Velasquez gunned down Jose Abreu at the plate trying to score from second on a single in the 14th and came about as close as you can get to throwing out another runner at the plate in the 15th. After review, Leury Garcia was ruled safe. Velasquez made an inning-ending diving catch on the next play.

Incredible athleticism displayed by Quinn and Velasquez, but it came in a 4-3 Phillies loss. A game they led entering the ninth inning.

The game went to extras because of the inability of Juan Nicasio and Jose Alvarez to protect a one-run lead in the ninth. With Hector Neris serving his three-game suspension, Nicasio began the inning and put a man on second with two outs. The lefty Alvarez entered, got ahead of two left-handed hitters but walked one and allowed the game-tying single to the other.

In extra innings, neither team could hit. Between a J.T. Realmuto double and a Quinn single, 24 consecutive batters came to the plate without getting a hit.

Blake Parker and Zach Eflin deserve credit for getting the game to the 15th. They each pitched two perfect innings, with Parker striking out four and Eflin two. 

The Phillies are 57-52. They have a good chance to even the series Saturday night behind ace Aaron Nola.

Solid first impression for Vargas

In a favorable matchup against a mediocre, young White Sox offense, Jason Vargas had a solid Phillies debut. He allowed just two runs over 6⅓ innings on a two-run shot from Abreu in the third inning.

Vargas put multiple men on base only once, in the first inning, when he stranded runners on the corners.

Vargas has seven quality starts in his last 12. If he can continue to pitch as he has since May 25 — 3.30 ERA — he can be a real upgrade for this rotation. No, Vargas is not going to wow anyone, but you must consider the pitcher(s) he is replacing. The Phillies had several starters who no longer belonged in a big-league rotation.

Interestingly, Vargas this season has been better the deeper he goes into a game. His opponents have hit .255 the first time through the order, .200 the second and .200 the third. That is rare. The league average batting average is 20 points higher after the first trip through the order.

Vargas showed the value of pitching below the speed limit. His fastest pitch on Friday night was 84.6 mph and his slowest was 69.8. He offers a much different look than the many Phillies right-handers with mid-90s fastballs. 

Theoretically, Vargas' repertoire should make it harder to hit someone like Nick Pivetta in relief of his starts, or someone like Nola on Saturday night. 

Small ball?!

The Phillies stole four bases for the first time all season — two by Roman Quinn, one from Bryce Harper and one from Scott Kingery. (Quinn also homered for the second straight game, hitting one to the second deck in right field.)

The Phils went ahead in the seventh inning when Quinn bunted for a hit, stole second, advanced to third on Cesar Hernandez's infield hit and scored on Jean Segura's ground-ball single between first and second. Hernandez was aggressive going first to third on the play, which allowed Segura to reach second.

It was the kind of energetic baserunning Phillies other than Harper have not utilized much this season.

Keepin' it real

When do teams stop testing J.T. Realmuto altogether? For whatever reason, White Sox catcher James McCann tried to steal third with one out in the seventh inning of a tie-game and was nabbed by a quite a bit.

It was the 30th base stealer Realmuto has caught this season. Not only does that lead the majors, but no other catcher has 20.

Dickerson debuts

It was a quiet Phillies debut for Corey Dickerson, who struck out on three pitches as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.

Dickerson says his groin injury is nearly healed. He will start against most right-handed pitchers. The Phillies face a lefty on Saturday but Dickerson could start Sunday against right-hander Reynaldo Lopez.

Up next

Tomorrow is a Nola night.

Saturday night at 7:05 — Aaron Nola (9-2, 3.72) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (1-1, 6.35)

Sunday afternoon at 1:35 — LHP Drew Smyly (2-5, 6.85) vs. Reynaldo Lopez (5-9, 5.43)

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Phillies 3, Tigers 2 (15 innings): Scott Kingery, Rhys Hoskins, Brad Miller and the bullpen save the day

Phillies 3, Tigers 2 (15 innings): Scott Kingery, Rhys Hoskins, Brad Miller and the bullpen save the day

BOX SCORE

DETROIT — On a night when they struck out 18 times and went 12 straight innings without scoring a run, the Phillies benefited from a lot of good pitching from starter Aaron Nola and the bullpen to pull out a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in 15 innings Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

Scott Kingery led off the 15th with a triple off the right field wall and scored the go-ahead run on a base hit by Rhys Hoskins.

The Phils have scored just six runs in their last three games. They have managed to win two of those games on late hits by Hoskins.

Defense was huge in this win. Brad Miller, who entered the game late in left field, gunned down Nicholas Castellanos at the plate in the bottom of the 14th to keep the Phillies alive.

Nola pitched seven innings of two-run ball and the bullpen pitched eight shutout innings.

The Tigers have the second-worst record in the majors. They are 2-9 since the All-Star break. But they got a nice start from lefty Matthew Boyd and the bullpen put up a lot of zeroes against the Phillies’ mostly feeble offense.

The Phils were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position before Hoskins’ hit in the 15th.

The start of the game was delayed 38 minutes by rain and it ended at 12:17 a.m.

The Phils are 53-48.

Nola impresses

Nola went seven innings and allowed just two runs, one of which was unearned after his own wild pitch.

He walked one but hit three batters. He struck out seven.

Boyd impresses

The Phillies got their first look at Detroit lefty Boyd. He is one of a handful of pitchers that the Phillies have trade interest in, though the Tigers’ price on him is extremely high.

Boyd pitched six innings, scattered five hits, struck out eight and left with the score tied, 2-2.

Boyd entered the game averaging 12 strikeouts per nine innings. He threw 101 pitches and got an impressive 19 swings and misses — seven on his fastball and 12 on his slider.

Pivetta impresses

Nick Pivetta pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and struck out five. Pivetta was recently demoted to the bullpen. He showed a good fastball and an excellent curveball. With the Phillies looking to hold on to prospects, someone like Pivetta could be used in a trade.

Big yard

Comerica Park is one of the biggest parks in baseball. It’s 420 feet to center and 345 feet down the left field line. The dimensions bit the Phillies in the top of the 12th inning when pinch-hitter Jean Segura and Kingery both hit balls to the wall. Both would have been homers in mostly every other park.

Quinn goes deep

With Segura out of the lineup and Kingery playing shortstop, manager Gabe Kapler used Roman Quinn in center field. Quinn has had a tough year. He entered the game with just six hits in 55 at-bats (.109). However, Quinn came up with a big hit when he crushed a two-run homer to left against Boyd in the second inning. Batting from the right side, Quinn leaned on an 0-1 fastball and hit it 434 feet to give the Phils a 2-1 lead.

Horrible inning

Clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Phillies had a horrible inning against Boyd in the sixth. With the help of two Detroit errors, the Phils put runners on second and third with no outs. Cesar Hernandez then popped up on the first pitch. The Tigers walked Maikel Franco intentionally and Boyd got Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn on infield pop outs as the Phils left the bases full. It was a nice threat and it went for naught. In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers tied the game on a pair of doubles against Nola.

Trade talk

Things could change, but at the moment, it doesn’t look like a big trade-deadline move is coming for the Phillies.

Health check

Reliever Tommy Hunter had surgery to repair an injured flexor tendon. He is out for the remainder of the season. He pitched in just five games this season. Hunter’s contract is up after this season.

Segura sat out with a bruised left heel.

Reliever David Robertson will throw to hitters for the second time in Florida on Wednesday. The Phillies are optimistic they could see Robertson in the next couple of weeks, if all continues to go well. He has been out since April with an elbow injury.

Up next

The quick, two-game series ends on Wednesday afternoon with Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.87) pitching against Jordan Zimmermann (0-7, 7.51).

The Phils have an off day Thursday. They open a three-game series at home against division-leading Atlanta on Friday night. Kapler said Zach Eflin would start one of those games. Eflin complained of his body feeling heavy after his last start in Pittsburgh. Kapler was adamant Tuesday that Eflin was fine and completely healthy. “There’s no issue,” he said.

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Could this be Nick Williams' last hurrah with the Phillies?

Could this be Nick Williams' last hurrah with the Phillies?

Could this be Nick Williams' last hurrah as a Phillie?

Williams was called up from Triple A on Wednesday to replace Jay Bruce on the active roster. Bruce strained his right oblique Tuesday night and was placed on the injured list. Oblique strains tend to sideline a player for 3-5 weeks.

Williams was on a roll at Lehigh Valley, hitting .345 with a 1.032 OPS. Bruce's injury should result in Williams getting his most consistent playing time all season with the Phillies.

However, rookie outfielder Adam Haseley is ahead of Williams on the Phillies' depth chart. Manager Gabe Kapler said Wednesday that the Phillies still don't know what they have in Haseley, the 2017 first-round pick. This is a good chance to give Haseley regular reps and learn more about his major-league ceiling.

The Phillies do know what they have in Williams. In 877 career plate appearances with the Phils, Williams has hit .260/.319/.427. His .746 OPS has been three percent below the league average. He also has not proven to be an overly instinctive or strong defensive player. And the Phillies do not feel comfortable playing Williams in center field, whereas Haseley can play all three outfield spots.

Shortstop Jean Segura has missed two straight games with a bruised heel. In both games, Scott Kingery has started at shortstop. As a result, on Wednesday night the Phillies started Haseley in center, Williams in left and Bryce Harper in right field.

Who ever saw that outfield alignment coming in 2019?

When Segura is ready to return — and the Phillies continue to say the injury is not serious — he will return to shortstop. Kingery will play center field, second base when Cesar Hernandez sits and third base when Maikel Franco sits. 

When Kingery is in center, expect to see Haseley in left field. 

As for Williams, he has been a prime trade candidate all season because of the Phillies' crowded outfield. Even at this point, after injuries to Andrew McCutchen and Bruce, and the ineffectiveness of Roman Quinn, Williams is still in a position where he has to earn reps, Kapler said.

Williams will not be the centerpiece of a big trade. He could be a second or third player in a deal for a good player, or he could be another team's return for a rental player. The Giants would need more than Williams for Madison Bumgarner. But Williams probably gets you a lesser pitcher like a Tanner Roark.

The Phillies didn't expect to call Williams up this week. They wouldn't have if not for the Bruce injury. You have to wonder if keeping him at Triple A would have done more for his trade value. If he struggles again during a two-week major-league stint leading into the July 31 trade deadline, it would probably nullify a lot of that minor-league production to another team.

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