Ryan Braun

Phillies 6, Brewers 4: Vince Velasquez leads big effort by the bullpen

Phillies 6, Brewers 4: Vince Velasquez leads big effort by the bullpen

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MILWAUKEE — The Phillies' hard-working bullpen delivered six shutout innings Friday night to help the team win the opener of a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-4, at Miller Park.

The Phils' bullpen has picked up 47 1/3 innings in the last 12 games.

Vince Velasquez made his first appearance of the season out of the bullpen and delivered two scoreless innings. Edgar Garcia, Seranthony Dominguez, Adam Morgan and Hector Neris (three K's) picked up the rest of the relief innings after starter Jerad Eickhoff failed to make it past the third inning.

Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins had big hits to put the Phils over the top.

The Phils are 3-2 on this seven-game trip. They are 30-21 overall.

The keys

• Harper tied the game with a double in the fifth, McCutchen put the Phils up by a run with a double in the sixth and Hoskins' ended a 15-game home run drought with an important one in the seventh.

• Velasquez entered a tie game in the fifth. He allowed a walk and a hit to the first two batters he faced then struck out four of the next five to finish with two scoreless frames. His shutdown work and the Phils' offense earned him the win.

• J.T Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura hooked up for a big defensive play to end the fifth inning. The Brewers tried to execute a double steal and the catcher and shortstop both delivered perfect throws to cut the run and keep the game tied. The Phils took the lead in the next inning.

Eickhoff's night

Eickhoff gave up five hits, a walk and four runs over three innings. Four of the hits were for extra bases and two of them were homers. He has given up seven homers in his last three starts after giving up none in his first four.

Eickhoff had some bad luck in the first inning as Ryan Braun reached on a swinging bunt with two outs. Mike Moustakas then hopped on a curveball and stroked it for an RBI double.

Eickhoff gave up three damaging hits on fastballs, none of which were above 91 mph. Orlando Arcia hit one for a solo homer in the second. Christian Yelich hit a 3-2 fastball for his 20th homer in the third and Yasmani Grandal clubbed a 2-2 fastball for an RBI double after a two-out walk in the third.

Over his last three starts, Eickhoff has been tagged for 17 hits and 13 runs in 12 innings.

What's up with Pat?

Pat Neshek did not appear happy as he left the field after working out with the rest of the relievers late in the afternoon. He clearly was not available to pitch as he did not even report to the bullpen for the game. It's not immediately clear what the issue was.

(Update: Neshek has a sore shoulder and is headed back to Philadelphia, manager Gabe Kapler said after the game. He will go on the 10-day injured list.)

Transaction

Velasquez was activated from the IL and assigned to the bullpen, at least for the next few days. He or Nick Pivetta will start Tuesday. All the details here.

Health check

Roman Quinn has recovered from his groin strain. He is doing all baseball drills and working toward starting a minor-league rehabilitation assignment late next week, according to Kapler.

Up next

Jake Arrieta (4-4, 3.77) opposes Jhoulys Chacin (3-5, 4.65) on Saturday afternoon.

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Brewers 11, Phillies 3: Brewers slug out another win, prove Phillies still have a lot of work to do

Brewers 11, Phillies 3: Brewers slug out another win, prove Phillies still have a lot of work to do

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The Phillies' rearranged top of the order produced early runs but not nearly enough of them against a Brewers lineup that came to town in a bit of a funk before teeing off at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils dropped this one Thursday, 11-3, and lost the final three games of the series after winning Monday's opener. They were outscored 22-6 in those three games.

Jean Segura, batting third, homered for a second straight game and drove in another run on a groundout. Bryce Harper, batting second for the first time as a Phillie, went 1 for 4 and scored a run.

But Milwaukee's offense was again too much, this time with the bottom of the order creating unexpected runs and another three-run homer from Yasmani Grandal, who seemed to come up with two men on in every at-bat this week.

The Phillies are 24-19 and 8-4-2 in their 14 series. They have a two-game lead over Atlanta heading into tonight's Braves-Cardinals game.

The Phils are 21-1 when they lead after six innings this season and 0-15 when they trail after six.

Up-and-down day for Eflin

Zach Eflin allowed four runs in five innings but was a bit more effective than that, with defense playing a role in two different run-scoring innings.

The first-inning home run Eflin allowed to Christian Yelich was on him — it was crushed to the bullpen in right-center.

In the third, opposing pitcher Zach Davies led off with a double and moved to third when Cesar Hernandez made the wrong decision on a groundball to second base. Hernandez aggressively went after the lead runner at third but Davies was safe, putting runners on the corners with nobody out and the heart of Milwaukee's order due up. Eflin popped Yelich up and was able to escape by allowing just one run.

An inning later with a man on third, Eflin's spikes appeared to get caught in the grass as he tried to field a bunt from Davies. It resulted in another run and Davies was safe at first.

As good as Eflin has been this season, he's allowed a league-high five hits to opposing pitchers, who are 5 for 14 with two doubles and a home run.

Eflin struck out seven and kept the Phillies in the game by escaping a few jams. In total, Phillies starting pitchers allowed 16 earned runs in 18 innings in the series.

Through nine starts, Eflin is 5-4 with a 2.91 ERA. His next start will be Tuesday at Wrigley Field against lefty Jose Quintana.

Another dominant series for Braun

No visiting player has ever done the kind of damage at Citizens Bank Park that Ryan Braun has, and it's remained that way even as he's declined. Braun has hit .261 overall the last three seasons but continues to pound the baseball every time he visits South Philadelphia.

Braun had two more hits Thursday afternoon and has 63 in 38 career games at CBP, where he's hit .420. In the series this week, he went 7 for 13 with a home run, four RBI and six runs scored. He reached base in 10 of 16 plate appearances.

The Brewers came to town with only one player, Yelich, clicking at the plate. They left with Lorenzo Cain, Braun and Grandal all heating up.

Kingery update

Scott Kingery had his rehab assignment transferred on Thursday from Class A Lakewood to Double A Reading, where the plan was for him to play nine innings at second base Thursday, then see time at third base and center field on Friday.

It looks as though Kingery could be recalled by the Phillies Saturday or Sunday. He will have missed nearly a month of big-league time after straining his hamstring on April 19.

Up next

In come the Rockies for a three-game series.

Friday night at 7:05 — Cole Irvin (1-0, 1.29) vs. Jon Gray (3-4, 4.25)

Saturday afternoon at 4:05 — Aaron Nola (3-0, 4.86) vs. Antonio Senzatela (3-2, 5.35)

Sunday afternoon at 1:05 — Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 2.65) vs. LHP Kyle Freeland (2-5, 5.68)

While Coors Field has been a major challenge for the Phillies in recent years, they've played the Rockies well at home. The Phils are 16-10 against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park dating back to 2012 and 6-4 in their last 10 meetings here.

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More on the Phillies

Jerad Eickhoff pounded in Phillies loss as Ryan Braun shockingly homers again at CBP

Jerad Eickhoff pounded in Phillies loss as Ryan Braun shockingly homers again at CBP

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Jerad Eickhoff was taken deep twice in the first three innings and the Phillies couldn't solve Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff in a 6-1 loss Tuesday night.

Five of the first 13 batters of the game for the Phillies drew a walk but they were unable to capitalize with men on base. Woodruff ended up allowing just one hit over six scoreless innings, a Jean Segura infield single in the opening frame.

The Phils' best run-scoring opportunities against Woodruff came in the second and third innings. In the second, Andrew McCutchen grounded out with runners on second and third and two outs. McCutchen has been a table-setter for the Phillies (.363 OBP) but has stranded 67 of the 76 runners on base during his plate appearances.

In the third, Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins walked but J.T. Realmuto hit into a double play to end the threat.

The Phils' only run came on a Jean Segura RBI single in the eighth.

The Phillies are 24-17.

Correction for Eickhoff

One of the major reasons Eickhoff entered his fifth start with a 1.50 ERA? He allowed no home runs in his first 30 innings this season. 

Against a powerful Brewers team, the market correction came. Eickhoff served up a three-run home run to Yasmani Grandal on a high, 90 mph fastball in the second inning, then a two-run shot to Ryan Braun on a hanging curve the next inning.

Eickhoff lasted just four innings, allowing five runs and 10 baserunners. 

He is one of the few Phillies who has overperformed through the first six weeks and was due for regression.

Braun's Phillies ownership continues

Braun's home run was his 14th in 36 career games at Citizens Bank Park. No visiting player has done as much damage as him here. In 160 career plate appearances at CBP, Braun has hit .406 with 27 extra-base hits and 43 RBI. His OPS is just a shade under 1.300.

Someone did the typical Wikipedia thing, editing his page to say he is the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies.

A sigh of relief with Harper

Harper made a sliding catch in foul territory in the sixth inning and came up limping. It was a scary moment, but Harper stayed in the game after a visit from Gabe Kapler and trainer Scott Sheridan. Harper must have been pretty convincing because the Phillies were down five runs at the time, the kind of situation when caution is typically exercised.

Two batters later, Harper made another sliding grab in right field and trotted off to a standing ovation. He has made four sliding or diving catches in the Phillies' last three games and has been one of their most impactful defensive players through 41 games.

Up next

Jake Arrieta (4-3, 3.78) opposes lefty Gio Gonzalez, who signed with the Brewers on April 27 and is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts.