Phillies

Phillies 6, Pirates 1: Jake Arrieta, Bryce Harper and Jean Segura's hustle lift Phillies to win

Phillies 6, Pirates 1: Jake Arrieta, Bryce Harper and Jean Segura's hustle lift Phillies to win

BOX SCORE 

PITTSBURGH — Bryce Harper had another big hit. Jean Segura had the at-bat of the season. Adam Haseley stood out on both sides of the ball. Jake Arrieta and the bullpen got it done on the mound.

The Phillies made it two wins in a row and improved to 4-4 since the All-Star break with team-effort, 6-1, win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Friday night.

Harper, who tied the game with a hit in the seventh inning of Thursday’s win over the Dodgers, this time had the go-ahead hit with two outs in the seventh.

Harper is heating up. He has had two hits in five of the eight games the Phils have played since the All-Star break. In those eight games, he has four doubles and eight RBIs.

The Phils are 51-47.

The Pirates are 1-6 since the break.

Arrieta’s night

Though he did not pitch deep into the game, Arrieta did a solid job with 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. In two starts since it was confirmed that he is pitching with a bone spur in his right elbow, Arrieta has pitched 10 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs.

Arrieta threw 87 pitches and got just four swinging strikes. He was able to throw his curveball, a pitch that had previously aggravated his elbow, with some success.

Bad clutch early

The Phillies had the bases loaded and one out in the first inning and got nothing. They ran into an out on the bases after a one-out double in the fourth and left runners on the corners in the sixth when Maikel Franco went down on a disputed 0-2 check-swing.

The Phils finally got a big hit with men on base when Harper laced a first-pitch single to left-center with two outs in the seventh to score Brad Miller (one-out pinch-hit single) with the tie-breaking run.

And then in the eighth …

Segura turned in what may have been the Phillies’ best at-bat of the season when he went toe-to-toe with reliever Kyle Crick for 13 pitches — Segura fouled off nine of them — before stroking an RBI infield hit to the right side to give the Phils a 3-1 lead.

Huge out

Manager Gabe Kapler lifted Arrieta for Juan Nicasio with the bases loaded and two outs in a 1-1 game in the bottom of the sixth. Nicasio then retired dangerous Kevin Newman on a bouncer back to the mound to end the Pirates’ threat.

Arrieta had gotten the first two outs of the frame before allowing a walk and a ringing double to Colin Moran. It was a good thing Moran hit the ball hard off the wall — and a good thing centerfielder Scott Kingery made such a quick retrieval of the ball off the wall — because Josh Bell, the runner at first, had to hold at third. Arrieta then intentionally walked the bases full before Kapler went to Nicasio.

An underappreciated pickup

The Phillies swapped relievers and sent Luis Garcia to Anaheim for lefty Jose Alvarez in the offseason. Alvarez has been a nice pickup. He protected a one-run lead with a scoreless frame in the bottom of the seventh. Eleven of his last 12 appearances have been scoreless, including his last seven.

Cole Irvin got the final six outs.

Hey, Haseley

Rookie outfielder Adam Haseley returned for his second stint in the majors six days ago when Sean Rodriguez went on the IL. Haseley, who turned 23 in April, is a developing player who needs to be on the field. The injury to Jay Bruce has allowed him that time in left field.

Haseley had an impressive game on both sides of the ball. He made a nice play in left field to gun down Moran as he tried to stretch a single into a double in the fourth inning.

In the fifth inning, he showed off his power with a game-tying solo homer to center. Pirates starter Jordan Lyles challenged Haseley with a 93-mph fastball on an 0-2 count and Haseley crushed it 402 feet for the second homer of his big-league career. He hit his first in Thursday’s win over the Dodgers.

Haseley added an RBI double as the Phils turned it into a rout in the ninth.

Health check

Reliever David Robertson (elbow injury) continues to make progress toward a return. He will face hitters in a live batting practice session in Clearwater on Saturday and then again on Wednesday, if all goes well. The Phils hope to have Robertson for most of the final two months.

Up next

Zach Eflin (7-9, 4.16) will oppose right-hander Joe Musgrove (6-8, 4.31) on Saturday night. Trevor Williams was the Pirates’ scheduled starter, but he has been scratched with what the team called “severe flu-like symptoms.”

Drew Smyly, whose signing will become official Saturday or Sunday, will start for the Phillies on Sunday afternoon.

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Bryce Harper, Jake Arrieta, the infield puzzle ... lots going on in Phillies camp Tuesday

Bryce Harper, Jake Arrieta, the infield puzzle ... lots going on in Phillies camp Tuesday

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Tuesday should be an interesting day in Phillies camp.

Bryce Harper will make his spring debut. He is slated to play five innings against the Toronto Blue Jays at Spectrum Field.

Jake Arrieta, healthy and upbeat after having his elbow surgically cleaned out last season, will make his first start of the spring in the game.

Forty-five miles south, in Bradenton, the Phillies will play a split-squad game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lefty Ranger Suarez, a dark horse candidate for the fifth starting pitcher’s job, will get the start against the Pirates.

Lefty Damon Jones, who emerged as a solid starting pitching prospect last season, is also slated to get some work in that game. Jones struck out 12 batters per nine innings in the minors last season. He is slated to open the season at Triple A but could be in the picture in Philadelphia at some point.

Manager Joe Girardi will preside over the game in Bradenton.

Girardi is making the trip over the Sunshine Skyway because he wants to get a look at Suarez.

He also wants to continue to evaluate Jean Segura’s work at third base. Segura is slated to start at third base in Bradenton and Scott Kingery at second base. The addition of shortstop Didi Gregorius has pushed Segura off shortstop. Segura has experience at second base and is open to playing there. But the team would prefer to use him at third base so Kingery can play second base, his best position. This equation all rides on Segura’s ability to play third.

“It's important I continue to see Segura at third and Kingery at second,” Girardi said.

Monday's game

The Phillies beat Baltimore, 8-7. Mikie Mahtook, Luke Williams, Logan Forsythe and Nick Maton all homered for the Phillies.

Minor-leaguer Carlos De La Cruz, who stands 6-8, got some time in center field for the Phillies.

“I thought that was Ben Simmons out there,” Girardi quipped. “I thought we were getting Ben Simmons an at-bat.”

Girardi loved the work of minor-league catcher Rafael Marchan.

“My favorite part of the game was Marchan,” Girardi raved. “He's the block master. The master. That might have been the best exhibition of blocking I have ever seen in one game.”

That’s high praise from Girardi, who caught for 15 seasons in the majors and was part of three World Series championship teams.

Marchan, who turns 21 on Tuesday, played in Single A last season. He is considered an excellent defender.

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This is a recording: Vince Velasquez seeks efficiency

This is a recording: Vince Velasquez seeks efficiency

CLEARWATER, Fla. – In four seasons with the Phillies, Vince Velasquez has teased with his potential and frustrated with his inconsistency.

But at least he hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

Standing in front of his locker at Spectrum Field on Monday afternoon, Velasquez made a pack of reporters break into laughter after his spring debut against the Baltimore Orioles.

“I threw 26 pitches in two innings – which is a shocker,” he said comically.

Running high pitch counts early in games has been one of the reasons for Velasquez’ frustrating inconsistency.

“The past three or four years, it’s always been an issue,” the 27-year-old right-hander said.

He’s trying to address the shortcoming – and several others – this spring under new pitching coach Bryan Price, who just might be the most popular guy in camp right now, at least with a pitching staff that is eating up everything he has to say, especially when it comes to pitching down in the strike zone.

“I’ve developed a lot of confidence with Bryan and really trust in his work,” Velasquez said. “I’ve told you guys so many times that I have that confidence to be that pitcher and I think Bryan is the guy who is going to pull that out of me.”

When Velasquez says, “that pitcher,” he means, that starting pitcher. He knows he’s in a battle for the fifth starter’s job. He knows about all the talk of possibly ending up in the bullpen when camp breaks.

But he wants to start.

“I know what the task is at hand,” he said. “It’s just a matter of what I have to do to earn that spot. Today was a good display of what I can be. It seemed like everything was working in my favor. I walked the first guy and then got some ground balls. I executed pitches down in the zone.”

Velasquez allowed just one hit, a walk and he struck out one in his two innings of work. The Phillies won the game, 8-7.

Velasquez is competing mostly with Nick Pivetta for the No. 5 starter’s job. Lefty Ranger Suarez, who will get a start Tuesday against the Pirates in Bradenton, is also in the mix.

Manager Joe Girardi has stressed that the competition for jobs has not really started yet, that the first couple of starts are a time to prepare for the competition that will come in March. But he is clearly watching. He liked what he saw of Velasquez on Monday. He especially liked the economy of pitches.

“He was very efficient,” Girardi said. “That's how you get deep in games. If you're throwing 20 pitches every inning, it's not a very long night.”

At least not for the starter.

Sometimes it is for the team.

Girardi mentioned how much he liked seeing Velasquez execute pitches down in the strike zone. Last year, Velasquez was encouraged to work the top of the strike zone. He has the giddy-up on his fastball to do that, but locating the pitch was a problem and poorly located pitches up in the zone turn into trouble and short outings.

“He got outs down in the zone, not just up in the zone, which he's done a lot in the past,” Girardi said. “But he got outs down in the zone. Because he did that, he was pretty efficient. He got a strikeout down there. He got a double play down there. So, I was encouraged by what he did.”

Velasquez believes he was too predictable last season, that he got away from throwing his changeup and lived too high in the zone with his fastball. He still wants to elevate and has the stuff to do it, but he also wants to work the lower part of the zone with his fastball like he did Monday.

“I was living at the top of the zone 95 percent of the time,” he said. “Every game plan was always at the top of the zone, so, again, you’ve got to learn how to change speeds and live up and down and in and out.

“I have the weapon to go up in the zone. That pitch just makes it even more useful to go down in the zone. You can’t be too predictable in this game.”

It’s too early to predict whether Velasquez will end up in the rotation or the bullpen. But if his work the rest of the spring is as efficient as it was Monday, he will give Phillies decision-makers something to think about.

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