Phillies have something special in Seranthony Dominguez

Phillies have something special in Seranthony Dominguez


ST. LOUIS — A year ago, Seranthony Dominguez was showing off a blazing fastball and a hard, sharp slider as a starting pitcher for Clearwater of the Florida State League.

Phillies officials watched that power combination all season and decided Dominguez’s best and quickest route to the majors would be as a reliever. The conversion was made in spring training. At first, the 23-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic was skeptical of the move — after all, who grows up dreaming of being a reliever? — but now he’s loving it.

“Any pitcher wants to be a starter,” Dominguez said. “But I thought about it and decided I’m going to put it in God’s hands and if that’s what he wants me to do and that’s what the coaches want me to do, I’m going to do it because I’m here, really, to help the team win. I’m here for them.”

Dominguez was there for the Phillies in a big way on Saturday. He brought some sanity to a rather crazy and occasionally sloppy game — the Phils blew leads of 3-0 and 5-3 — by pitching the final two innings to lock down a 7-6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium (see first take).

Dominguez hit 98 mph on the radar gun in notching his first big-league save. Two of his six outs were strikeouts. Called up from Triple A on May 7, Dominguez has begun his big-league career with six scoreless appearances. He has not allowed a hit or a walk. He has struck out seven.

The Phillies have something special in the kid who signed for $25,000 in October 2011.

“He’s a strike thrower and that’s a really good profile for a reliever who throws 97 to 99,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I throw 97 to 99 (mph), plus I throw strikes, plus I can land my secondary pitch for a strike, and by the way, that’s kind of nasty, too. Oh, and my fastball has cut and sometimes sink. Those are all characteristics that make us feel that Seranthony is special.”

Phillies officials were thinking future closer when they converted Dominguez to the bullpen. But this soon? In the big leagues? Oh, wait, Kapler is loath to assign roles in the bullpen, never mind dub someone the closer. Just get outs when you’re called upon.

Getting six of them wasn’t easy.

“We were looking to get a little length from Seranthony since he came to the big leagues for us,” Kapler said. “It’s something that we’ve been considering and we will continue to consider. It won’t always be that way. We won’t always use him for two or two-plus, but there will be stretches that we do use him like that. One of the things that’s nice about him is that he has a history of starting games and he can give us a little more length. He’s tough and his arm bounces back well. All of those things in aggregate give us confidence that he’s capable of taking down two and two-plus. He was electric today.”

Scott Kingery was one of the Phillies' heroes (see story). He stroked a game-tying, two-out triple in the eighth, setting up Jorge Alfaro for the go-ahead RBI single, then enjoyed watching as Dominguez locked things down.

“I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a 98-mph cutter, to be honest,” Kingery said with a laugh.

“In a lot of ways, that felt like the biggest win of the year,” Kapler said.

The Phils are 26-17 and just a half-game behind the Braves for first place in the NL East. 

Dominguez threw his arms in the air when Odubel Herrera, whose on-base streak climbed to 45 games with a two-run homer, chased down the final out. The pitcher was thrilled to notch his first big-league save.

It made you wonder where he’d be if he was still a starting pitcher.

“In Double A,” he said with a laugh.

After giving up 30 runs in 1 day, Phillies actually gain ground in race

After giving up 30 runs in 1 day, Phillies actually gain ground in race


If you are going to take a 20-run beating, it’s best to do so in the first game of a doubleheader. And not one of those separate admission doubleheaders, an old-fashioned doubleheader in which the second game starts 30 minutes after the first one.

That way there’s no time to sit around and stew in the juices from the painful defeat.

Lace ‘em right back up. Get back out there and start swinging again.

That’s just what the Phillies did Thursday night. They won the second game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets, 9-6 (see first take). The win came just a few hours after the Mets pounded the Phillies, 24-4, and turned position players Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery into batting-practice pitchers (see story).

Rhys Hoskins made a costly error — one of four that the sloppy Phillies made — in the Mets’ 10-run fifth inning in the opener. But Hoskins came back in the nightcap and rescued the Phillies and Zach Eflin from an early two-run deficit with a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning and the Phillies never trailed again.

“Rhys’ homer was huge,” said Eflin, who delivered 6 2/3 innings of four-run ball for his ninth win. “As a pitcher, you always want to pitch with the lead and he got it for us.”

Hoskins has homered in three of the last four games. He has 25 on the season.

“Rhys set the tone with that big three-run home run, getting us right back in it and I think it speaks to the character of our club,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’re not down for long. We can take it on the chin. We can take a punch and we always get up and come out swinging. We believe in each other and I think that was on display today.”

The victory capped a crazy day of baseball. Even after a 20-run loss in the opener, the Phillies were able to pick up ground in both the NL East and NL wild-card races. They trail Atlanta by 1½ game in the division and lead the wild card race by 1½.

“Obviously, you never want to lose like we did (in the first game) but it happens,” Hoskins said. “We get to wake up tomorrow closer than we were today — that’s a good day.”

There were no chats, meetings, speeches or reprimands in the brief time between games.

“Nothing,” Kapler said. “These guys are professionals. They know how to prepare for the next game. They know how to wash it off. You have to have a short memory. We had an ugly first game, there’s no denying that. It was one that we wanted to forget quickly and one way to do that is to come out and win the next game. That’s just what we did.”

Hoskins said there was no need to say anything between games.

“We all saw what happened,” he said. “You just flush and move on to the next one. We know what to do to get back on the horse and win a ballgame.”

Having little time to wallow in the ugly loss helped.

“Yeah,” Hoskins said. “There’s a lot less time to think about it.”

Kapler used Quinn and Kingery for three innings of relief — they combined to allow nine runs as the game deteriorated into a comedy act — in the first game because it was a blowout and he wanted to save his bullpen. He was able to use Luis Garcia, Victor Arano and Seranthony Dominguez for big outs late in the second game — not that any one of those guys would have profiled to pitch in the first-game blowout.

“You saw it,” Hoskins said. “We don’t use guys in the first game. We used position players. Even though it’s pretty ugly, especially in the seventh inning, we have a stronger chance to win the second game, especially with the bullpen we have. You trust Gabe. It’s worked. There’s not really much else to say. We don’t see any madness in his method.”

Kingery started the second game at shortstop and ignited a three-run second inning with a solo homer. That broke an 0-for-21 drought for the rookie.

“I joked with him that I wish I knew all we had to do was put him on the mound for him to hit a homer,” Hoskins said. “A little extra adrenaline. Different adrenaline. It was good to see. He’s been grinding with the rest of us. His swing is right there. For him to see results was great.”

Kingery became the first player since Rocky Colavito of the 1968 Yankees to pitch in Game 1 of a doubleheader and homer in the second game (see video).

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Phillies use bats to rebound from debacle for doubleheader split with Mets

Phillies use bats to rebound from debacle for doubleheader split with Mets


The Phillies were able to flush a horrendous performance in the opener and come back and win the second game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets on Thursday night.

Zach Eflin pitched 6 2/3 innings and Rhys Hoskins clubbed a three-run homer to lead a 9-6 victory.

The win came on the heels of an ugly 24-4 loss in the first game. The Phillies made four errors in the game and their pitchers were charged with 11 unearned runs. The Mets had 11 extra-base hits in the opener, including three homers, against five Phillies pitchers, two of which were position players.

Phillies pitching held the Mets to nine hits in the nightcap. They had 25 in the opener.

By coming back and earning a split in the doubleheader, the second-place Phils were able to pick up a half-game on first-place Atlanta in the NL East standings. The Braves' lead is 1½ games. 

Things did not get off to a promising start in the second game as Eflin allowed three straight doubles and two runs to open the game.

The right-hander got things in order after that. He rattled off five straight scoreless innings before the Mets scored twice in the seventh and manager Gabe Kapler went to his bullpen. Luis Garcia and Victor Arano were effective and Seranthony Dominguez cleaned up a little mess in the ninth to close it out with a strikeout of dangerous Jose Bautista with two men on base and the Mets down by three.

Hoskins homered in the first game but also made a costly error in the Mets’ 10-run fifth inning.

After the Mets scored twice in the first inning of the second game, Hoskins clubbed a three-run homer against Steven Matz in the bottom of the inning to put the Phils ahead. They never relinquished the lead.

Hoskins has three homers in the last four games and 25 on the season.

Scott Kingery, who limbered up with some time on the mound in the first game, started at shortstop and clubbed a solo homer in the second inning.

The Phillies had 14 hits. Wilson Ramos had his second three-hit night in as many games since joining the club. Hoskins, Kingery, Nick Williams and Cesar Hernandez all had two apiece.

Eflin is 9-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 17 starts.

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