Phillies

Giants 5, Phillies 0: One hit, one stinking hit, in third straight loss

Giants 5, Phillies 0: One hit, one stinking hit, in third straight loss

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This was not pretty.

Aaron Nola had a rare off night and the Phillies’ bats had another poor night. The result was an embarrassing 5-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.

The Phillies had just one hit and three base runners in the game.

Giants’ starter Madison Bumgarner tied Phillies hitters in knots. He did not allow a hit until there was one out in the sixth inning and he finished with seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball.

Pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez had the Phillies’ only hit, a single.

Bumgarner relied heavily on a four-seam fastball and a cutter, but he was not overpowering. His best fastball was 92 mph and the pitch averaged 90 mph. He struck out just three. He threw 85 pitches and got 21 called strikes.

Mike Yastrzemski led the Giants with a two-run double and a solo homer.

The loss was the Phillies’ third in a row — all on this road trip — and sixth in the last nine games. They had entered the day tied for the second NL wild-card spot, but are now off the pace by a half-game. At 59-56, they have the same record as the New York Mets, who were once dead and buried in the standings but have rallied into contention with 13 wins in the last 14 games. The Phils are going in the opposite direction (see story).

Bad offense

The Phils have scored one run in the last two games and that came on a Bryce Harper homer in the ninth inning Wednesday night after the Phils had already been down, 6-0.

Nola's night

The right-hander entered the game with a 1.91 ERA and 10.71 strikeouts per nine innings in his previous nine starts. Nola was tagged for seven hits and three runs in five innings. He allowed four straight hits, capped by Yastrzemski’s two-run double, and three runs in the third inning. Nola walked two and struck out three.

Not a fan

The Giants’ home park at 24 Willie Mays Plaza is one of the most beautiful in baseball, but Nola is probably not a fan. In three career starts in the place, he is 0-2 with an 8.77 ERA. He has allowed 13 earned runs and 24 hits in 13 1/3 innings.

Sloppy sixth

Catcher Andrew Knapp made a throwing error and Nick Pivetta walked two and threw a wild pitch that resulted in a run.

Tough out

Bumgarner is a very good hitting pitcher. He hit his 18th career homer earlier this season. Bumgarner gave Nola fits in two plate appearances. He finished a nine-pitch at-bat with a single to help fuel a three-run rally in the third inning and he worked a six-pitch walk in the fourth inning.

Kingery's defense

One night after costing the Phils a run with a defensive miscue at third base, Scott Kingery started at second base, his best position, and made two defensive gems, one on a tag play, one on a slow ground ball.

Transaction

The Phillies activated Jay Bruce from the injured list and sent Adam Haseley to Triple A. Manager Gabe Kapler explained why the Phillies subtracted a hot bat.

Up next

Lefty Drew Smyly (2-6, 7.01) opposes Giants right-hander Tyler Beede (3-6, 5.38) on Friday night.

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Phillies’ big signing Zack Wheeler to make his spring debut Saturday

Phillies’ big signing Zack Wheeler to make his spring debut Saturday

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Zack Wheeler will make his spring debut for the Phillies on Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Wheeler is expected to go two innings or 35 pitches.

The right-hander signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies in December.

“He’s ready to go and I’m anxious to watch him pitch,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ve never sat this close to him before.”

Wheeler is the last of the Phillies’ starters to debut this spring. Nick Pivetta and Aaron Nola have already made two starts.

“It’s just the way we just set up his program,” Girardi said of Wheeler’s schedule. “He threw batting practice and stuff, simulated stuff. It’s just where he’s at.”

Girardi has not announced his opening day starter, but Nola, who pitched Friday, is presumed to be the guy. Wheeler appears to slot in second followed by Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin, though this is all subject to change.

The fifth starter’s spot is up for grabs between Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Ranger Suarez.

Suarez gets the start in Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against Baltimore in Clearwater. Arrieta and Seranthony Dominguez will get work in an intrasquad game at the minor-league complex.

Eflin is slated to pitch Monday night against Atlanta.

Nola pitched two-plus innings and threw 45 pitches in a 6-5 win over the Braves on Friday. He gave up six hits and two runs. He walked none and struck out six.

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Phillies leadoff man Andrew McCutchen out for opening day

Phillies leadoff man Andrew McCutchen out for opening day

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The knee injury that cost Andrew McCutchen four months last season will cost him more time this season.

McCutchen, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee on June 14, will open the season on the injured list, Phillies manager Joe Girardi announced on Friday afternoon.

Girardi's announcement came less than two weeks after McCutchen said it was his "plan" to be ready for opening day.

According to Girardi, McCutchen did not experience a setback and the club hopes to have him back sometime in April.

"The tests continue to improve," Girardi said. "He has made improvements as we've gone along. He continues to get better.

"But as we start to put it together, there's some things, some hurdles that he still has to clear, like cutting. We've seen him out there taking fly balls, we've seen him taking batting practice. But we haven't seen him run full speed.

"Opening day is awful early. It's March 26. I think that had he been ready for opening day it would have been pretty quick. He would have been on the short end of the rehab scale. But we don't expect it to be a real long time. Our thought process is we will get him sometime in April. If it was a normal year, the season used to start April 4th or 5th. But with a high-end athlete like him, he's just not quite ready to go."

McCutchen had already left the ballpark when Girardi made the announcement so he was not available for comment.

The news on McCutchen was not a complete surprise. Less than a month before opening day, he had yet to play in an exhibition game and had shown a limp in supervised outfield drills.

McCutchen's situation creates some camp competition as the Phillies look to fill his spot in left field. It's possible that Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn could both be in the opening day outfield, either in left field or center field. It's also possible that Jay Bruce could play some left field, though he's had elbow issues that impact his throwing. The Phils have two other outfielders, Nick Williams and Kyle Garlick, on the 40-man roster, and there are a host of non-roster players in camp who can play the outfield, including Josh Harrison, Phil Gosselin, Mikie Mahtook, Logan Forsythe, Nick Martini and Neil Walker.

The Phils will also have to fill McCutchen's leadoff spot. Quinn would seem to be a good bet there. Losing McCutchen from the leadoff spot was a huge blow to the Phils last season. He had a .378 on-base percentage, second-best in the majors among leadoff men, when he went down on June 3. Phillies leadoff men had a paltry .295 on-base percentage the rest of the season and that ranked 29th in baseball over that span.

McCutchen, 33, is signed through 2021 as part of a three-year, $50 million contract signed before the 2019 season. 

With McCutchen out, the Phillies will have a different opening day left fielder for the 10th time in as many years.

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