Phillies

Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez will skip Arizona Fall League after setback

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Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez will skip Arizona Fall League after setback

The Phillies have decided against sending top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez to the Arizona Fall League after the right-hander recently experienced a setback in his recovery from an elbow injury that first sidelined him in early June, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

General manager Matt Klentak confirmed the team’s decision.

Sanchez was firmly on the road to recovery and getting work in the Florida Instructional League when he recently came down with soreness in his right collarbone. Team medical officials are not alarmed by the issue and they are confident that Sanchez will be fully healthy and ready to go for spring training. However, the setback cut into Sanchez’s preparation time in Florida so the team has decided to err on the side of caution and hold him out of the AFL. The prospect-studded league opens play Tuesday and runs through Nov. 17. Sanchez had been slated to pitch for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Sanchez, 20, was shut down in early June after experiencing right elbow soreness. After a battery of tests, it was determined that he would not require surgery. He spent the summer rehabilitating the injury in Florida and began getting back on the mound in late August.

Sanchez had been pitching for Single A Clearwater at the time of his injury. In four starts leading up to the injury, he had allowed just two earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 29 and walking four. In his last start on June 3, he delivered seven shutout innings, walked two and struck out five in a win over the Florida Fire Frogs. He reported to the ballpark the next day complaining of elbow tenderness.

The Phillies discovered Sanchez, a converted shortstop, during a workout in the Dominican Republic in late 2014 (see story). His mix of control and power stuff has made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects and an untouchable in trade discussions. The Phillies envision him as being a mainstay in their rotation in the coming years.

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Nationals 2, Phillies 0: Max Scherzer outduels Jake Arrieta as Phillies lose nightcap of doubleheader

Nationals 2, Phillies 0: Max Scherzer outduels Jake Arrieta as Phillies lose nightcap of doubleheader

Updated: 11:19 p.m.

BOX SCORE 

Two runs in 18 innings didn’t cut it for the Phillies Wednesday in Washington, D.C. 

The Phils fell to the Nationals in the second game of their doubleheader, 2-0. They lost in the afternoon, 6-2 (see observations)

Brian Dozier crushed a 3-2 sinker from Jake Arrieta that split the plate over the left-field wall in the second inning to give the Nationals the lead. The only other hit Arrieta allowed in his six innings was a fourth-inning single by Adam Eaton.

Victor Robles added an insurance run in the eighth inning with a homer off Pat Neshek.

Max Scherzer outdueled Arrieta in a contest between former Cy Young Award winners, throwing seven scoreless innings and recording 10 strikeouts.

The Phillies are 39-34, four games behind the Braves in the NL East. 

Quite a sight 

Scherzer started despite breaking his nose in batting practice Tuesday, when he bunted a foul ball against his face.

He took the mound looking like he’d already been through a fight or two, with a dark bruise encircling his right eye. 

Sluggish start

Jean Segura led off with a single that could have been a double had he run hard out of the box. Juan Soto dove and failed to catch Segura’s bloop to shallow left field, but Segura settled for a single despite the ball ending up behind Soto. Segura was stranded on third base when Scherzer struck out Rhys Hoskins looking on a 3-2 breaking ball to end the inning.

It was a missed opportunity for the Phillies’ offense against Scherzer, who’s allowed 10 first-inning runs in 16 starts this season and pitched like the three-time Cy Young Award winner he is once he escaped the early trouble. 

Arrieta’s night 

Outside of his lapse to Dozier, Arrieta was excellent. 

He induced just one swinging strike on 48 sinkers but spotted the pitch well down in the zone. Ten of Arrieta’s 18 outs came via the ground ball. 

Manager Gabe Kapler elected to pinch-hit for Arrieta in the top of the seventh, sending J.T. Realmuto to the plate with two outs and Cesar Hernandez on second base. Realmuto struck out swinging.

Tip of the cap 

Like Arrieta, Scherzer pitched very, very well. His electric stuff helped him power through the Phillies’ best threat of the night.

He worked around Hernandez’s leadoff double in the seventh by getting Brad Miller to swing through a 97.5 mph, 3-2 fastball, striking out Andrew Knapp on a 96.7 fastball and baffling Realmuto with a wipeout slider on his 117th and final pitch of the night. 

A nightmare return

Neshek's first game back from the injured list couldn't have gone much worse. After serving up a one-out home run to Robles, Neshek got Kurt Suzuki to fly out to left field. He then grimaced following a 1-0 sinker to Trea Turner that missed outside. Neshek left the game with a limp.

Kapler told reporters after the game that Neshek has a left hamstring strain and will "likely" go on the IL again.

Seeing the ball well … just not hitting it 

Bryce Harper was hitless in the doubleheader, though he did walk four times. He saw 16 pitches in three plate appearances against Scherzer. 

Harper’s struggles against the fastball continued as he swung through or fouled off four heaters in the heart of the zone. 

Still no sign of Franco 

Maikel Franco started neither game of the doubleheader. Scott Kingery played third base in the afternoon, Miller in the nightcap. In June, Franco is hitting .143 (4 for 28). His last multi-hit game was on May 13, and it appears he’s no longer a regular option for Kapler.

Up next

The Phillies wrap up their series against the Nationals Thursday night (7:05 p.m./NBCSP).

They begin a seven-game homestand Friday with the first matchup of a three-game set vs. the last-place Marlins. 

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Nationals 6, Phillies 2: Bats go silent in first game of doubleheader

Nationals 6, Phillies 2: Bats go silent in first game of doubleheader

BOX SCORE

After two straight nights of rainouts, the Phillies were well-rested heading into the first game of a doubleheader against the Nationals. 

Didn’t help. They got stuck in the mud. 

The Phillies lost 6-2 this afternoon and will now try to even the series at a game apiece in a few hours when they send Jake Arrieta to the mound. 

Zach Eflin gave the Phillies six innings and gave up just two earned runs, but the bats didn’t back him up again. Eflin now has a 6-7 record on the season and the Phillies have scored a total of 11 runs (an average of just 1.57 runs per game) in his seven losses. 

Any chance of a Phillies’ comeback was ruined in the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Nationals added another three insurance runs against Cole Irvin. First, Brian Dozier hit a two-run shot and then Gerardo Parra added a solo homer. The Phils added a run in the top of the ninth, but too little, too late. 

Oh well. Time to get ready for tonight’s game in just a few hours. 

At least he hustles

In the top of the sixth inning, Bryce Harper tried to generate a little offense after a walk to lead off the inning. He tried to make it to third on a Scott Kingery single but was gunned out by Parra at third base for the first out of the inning. 

After Harper was thrown out, Rhys Hoskins singled. At worst, the Phillies would have had bases loaded, no outs for J.T. Realmuto. Instead, Realmuto grounded into a fielder’s choice and Sean Rodriguez grounded out to end the top of the frame. 

The Phillies lost their chance to tie the ballgame or take a lead and Washington added a run in the bottom of the inning. 

Fit for a King(ery)

Scott Kingery stayed hot from the plate on Wednesday. He homered on a 1-2 count in the top of the first inning for his ninth bomb of the season. He came into the day batting .344 and had another multi-hit game, his third in four games. 

Kingery did have a throwing error in the first inning that led to the unearned run the Nats scored in the bottom of the first inning. 

Eflin’s day  

Eflin pitched well again today, but the Phillies just didn’t give him enough support, which has been all too common this season. He went 6 innings, gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, with 3 walks and 7 Ks. He’s gotten losses in each of his last two starts after giving up just two earned runs in each. 

Up next 

After rainouts for a couple straight days, the Phillies have another game tonight with first pitch in Washington at 7:05 p.m. Jake Arrieta (6-5, 4.31 ERA) will take the mound for the Phillies in the second game. He’ll be opposed by Max Scherzer (5-5, 2.81), who actually broke his nose during a freak batting incident yesterday.

After today, the Phillies are scheduled to have one more game in Washington (a 7:05 start time) on Thursday, before getting out of town and hopefully away from soggy weather. They’ll start a three-game home series against the Marlins on Friday and then welcome the Mets to town for four starting Monday. 

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