victor arano

Victor Arano finds his slider as Phillies come home from Miami with a series win

Victor Arano finds his slider as Phillies come home from Miami with a series win

MIAMI — The last time Victor Arano was in Florida, he couldn’t get anybody out.

This time …

Different story.

Arano was one of many pitching stars in the Phillies’ marathon win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon. The Phils prevailed, 3-1, on the strength of Jean Segura’s two-run home run in the top of the 14th inning (see observations). They are 9-5.

While Segura’s first homer with his new club put the Phillies over the top, it was the work of the pitching staff that gave the team life and saved it from the ignominy of losing a series to the lowly Marlins on a day when the offense sputtered.

“I really think pitching is the story today,” manager Gabe Kapler said after the game. “We came out and really threw the ball well.”

Fourteen innings. One run. Yeah, very well.

Vince Velasquez — six innings, one run — had his second straight positive start and the bullpen came through with eight scoreless innings. David Robertson and Arano both pitched two scoreless frames. Arano struck out all six batters he faced in the 12th and 13th innings and got the win after Andrew McCutchen preceded Segura’s homer with a triple.

“Arano was kind of the star of the show,” Kapler said. “Him giving us some length right there was huge.”

Arano got burned badly the last time he was in the Sunshine State. That was during spring training. Unable to find his slider, he was tagged for an ungodly 17 hits and 20 runs in just four innings of work. Arano pitched well for the Phillies last season (2.73 ERA in 60 games) and club officials wanted to keep him on the roster. But given the way he pitched in spring training, there was no way they could. He was sent to Triple A in the final week of camp to try to find the slider that made him so effective last season.

Arano found the pitch quickly. He pitched four scoreless innings at Triple A and struck out seven. He was recalled before Friday night’s game against the Marlins and, similarly, racked up four scoreless innings and seven strikeouts in the series.

Catcher Andrew Knapp described Arano’s slider as electric after Sunday’s win.

“I think he threw maybe three fastballs,” Knapp said. “The slider was dropping off the table.”

Arano could not argue with the Phillies’ decision to send him to Triple A at the end of spring training.

“I knew I needed to get my slider back to where it was last year,” he said through translator Diego Ettedgui. “That was my main focus.”

He said he was able to figure out that he needed to strengthen his grip a little on his slider, add a little finger pressure. He also watched video and determined that his front shoulder was flying open. With the help of Lehigh Valley pitching coach Steve Schrenk, Arano made the adjustments and — welcome back, slider.

If Arano can continue his effectiveness, it will be huge for this team. Ditto, Velasquez. He gave up just two hits and a run over six innings, walked three and struck out four. He did not allow a hit until Brian Anderson’s homer on a first-pitch fastball in the sixth. He was economical with his pitches, throwing 81.

In two starts, Velasquez has given up just six hits and three runs in 11 innings.

“Vince came out and attacked the strike zone really well,” Kapler said.

The offense has been inconsistent lately. It was held to three hits and a run in Wednesday night’s loss to Washington. It scored nine runs in Friday night’s win over the Marlins then didn’t score until the ninth inning in Saturday night’s 10-3 loss. On Sunday, the Phils got on the board with a Cesar Hernandez homer in the fourth inning then went nine innings without a run.

Good thing the pitching showed up.

The offense will need to pick it up because the tests get tougher this week, first with the Mets coming to town for three games starting Monday night. The Phils are 50-82 against the Mets over the last seven seasons.

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Phillies send down Edubray Ramos; Victor Arano recalled

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Phillies send down Edubray Ramos; Victor Arano recalled

Update: Pitcher Victor Arano has been recalled. 

The Phillies have altered their opening day roster for the first time this regular season, optioning right-handed reliever Edubray Ramos to Triple A Lehigh Valley. 

A corresponding roster move will be made prior to Friday’s game in Miami against a Marlins team that was outscored 21-1 by the Reds the last three days. 

The activation of Roman Quinn is a possibility but seems more likely to occur next week. The promotion of another reliever would fit with the Phillies’ preference to carry eight relievers. 

Candidates include:

• Victor Arano, who has pitched four scoreless innings at Triple A, allowing one baserunner and striking out seven.

• Edgar Garcia, an interesting right-handed relief prospect with a good slider. 

• Lefties James Pazos and Austin Davis, who are both at Triple A. 

All four are on the Phillies’ 40-man roster. 

We’ll see tomorrow.

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Victor Arano loses spot in Phillies' bullpen, leaving door open for a different arm

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Victor Arano loses spot in Phillies' bullpen, leaving door open for a different arm

Updated: 8:23 p.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Victor Arano was an important member of the Phillies’ bullpen last season. He recorded a 2.73 ERA in 60 games. He struck out 60 batters, walked 17 and gave up just six homers in 59 1/3 innings. 

The previous year, he came up from the minors for a look and gave up just two runs in 10 2/3 innings.

That's a 2.57 ERA in his first 70 big-league games.

In most cases, numbers like these would ensure Arano’s roster spot entering the new season.

But the 24-year-old right-hander struggled so badly this spring that Phillies officials decided Saturday night to option Arano to Triple A Lehigh Valley along with right-hander Yacksel Rios.

“We weigh track record heavily and lean on it pretty strongly,” manager Gabe Kapler said Saturday before the decision came down. “However, without an indication that he’s feeling confident, it’s something to examine closely. You can discount one, two, three outings. It’s hard to discount five or six outings of struggle, consecutively.”

Arano pitched two-thirds of an inning in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Pirates. He gave up a hit, a walk and a run. In four innings of work this spring, he has given up 20 runs. He has been tagged for 17 hits, including four homers.

“By every account, he was outstanding for us the last two years, one of our higher-leverage relievers, a guy we depended on in the biggest situations,” Kapler said after the game. “You still also have to pay close attention to what is happening right in front of you and we’ve seen several outings in a row that are worth really digging into to find out how we can help him.

“I think it’s cause to really dig on what’s happening for him both mentally and mechanically. I think he’s absolutely fine from a physical perspective. His legs are underneath him. He’s strong. I think his arm speed is fine.

“But you know, today the ball didn’t come out great. It’s worth having a conversation with him and really discussing what he needs to get back on track because at this point it hasn’t been very effective and I think he knows that. If he was standing next to me right now, he would tell you there’s a better performance in there.”

Through a translator, Arano indicated that his struggles are mechanical. He said he is struggling to find the release point on his slider, which was an excellent pitch for him last season.

Arano had pitched on back-to-back days — he gave up a homer to Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees on Friday night. The Phils play their final two games in Florida on Sunday and Monday. The club knew before then that Arano will have to clean up his mechanical problems and build some confidence in the minors before getting back to Philadelphia.

The Phillies open the season on Thursday.

Right now, these seven relievers look set in the bullpen:

Hector Neris (R)

David Robertson (R)

Seranthony Dominguez (R)

Pat Neshek (R)

Juan Nicasio (R)

Adam Morgan (L)

Jose Alvarez (L)

With Arano and Rios failing to make the club, a spot looks open for Edubray Ramos as the eighth reliever.

The Phils could also use Vince Velasquez out of the bullpen for the first week of the season. 

Tommy Hunter will open on the injured list.

We’ll know in a few days how the bullpen fully shakes out. Unfortunately for Arano, he had made some final decisions easy for club officials.

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