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Philadelphia Phillies Weekly Recap: April 15 – April 21


Each week, Corner Pub Sports writer Matt Gregan will recap the events of the week for the Philadelphia Phillies. This week, we cover the third week of the Phillies season, April 15 to April 21. 

The Philadelphia Phillies (7-9) have had a season filled with both good and bad things so far. This past week, the Phillies went 4-2 while battling through a bullpen collapse and trying to replace Clay Buchholz’s spot in the starting rotation. All in all, the Phillies began to play some good baseball throughout the past week and many hope that they can continue their stretch of good play through the many weeks to come.

Saturday, April 15: @Nationals, win 4-2, (4-7 record)

On a bright, beautiful day down in the nation’s capital, the Phillies were able to use some timely hitting to overcome what was a pitcher’s duel between the two starting pitchers. In the top of the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez blasted a two-run home run off of Nationals’ relief pitcher Joe Blanton that gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead. Before that, Jeremy Hellickson and Tanner Roark were dominating both lineups, with each starter allowing only two runs. Hellickson ended up getting the win, his second of the season, while pitching seven innings and striking out two. Also, Joaquin Benoit made good on his new role, shutting the door and earning his first save in a Phillies uniform.

Sunday April 16: @Nationals, lose 6-4, (4-8 record)

On Easter Sunday, the Nationals, behind a stellar effort from Bryce Harper, were able to get the 6-4 win while holding off a spectacular rally staged by the Phillies in the later innings. Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff battled well against the Nationals starter, Gio Gonzalez. Eickhoff made it through six innings, with his only major blemish being a two-run home run to Bryce Harper in the third inning.

Gonzalez, while not pitching his best game, still only gave up three runs (only two earned runs) in 7 1/3 innings. The Phillies were able to rally in the eighth and ninth innings, and they even took the lead going into the bottom half of the ninth. However, Joaquin Benoit, making his second appearance in the closer role for the Phillies, coughed up the game by allowing a three-run home run to Bryce Harper. In the end, the Phillies late-game rally was all for nothing, as the Nationals were able to pick up the victory.

Tuesday, April 18: @Mets, win 6-2, (5-8 record)

On the opening game of the series, the Mets were not able to put Zack Wheeler’s strong start to good use, squandering the game with some untimely errors in the field. For the Phillies, young starter Zach Eflin, making his first start of the season, made it through a tough first inning in which he allowed two runs, to pitch a solid game. Eflin pitched five innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out four. The Phillies were able to tie the game in the eighth inning, when pinch hitter Andres Blanco capitalized on an error by the Mets to hit a RBI double. The game ended up going into extra innings, where the Phillies took over the game. Cameron Rupp gave the Phillies the lead with an RBI sacrifice fly. The team went on to score three more runs and were able to win the game 6-2.

Wednesday, April 19: @Mets, lose 5-4, (5-9 record)

The Mets were able to even up the series using the bat of Jay Bruce, who supplied two home runs to help give the team a 5-4 win. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez, who was struggling going into this game, pitched a solid game until he allowed a three-run home run in the sixth inning to Jay Bruce. Velasquez finished the game with only six innings pitched, allowing three runs and five hits while striking out two. Mets starter Robert Gsellman pitched a solid game as well, making it through seven innings while allowing three runs on six hits and striking out seven. In relief of Velasquez, Edubray Ramos allowed a two-run home run to Jay Bruce, and was saddled with his first loss of the season.

Thursday, April 20: @Mets, win 6-4, (6-9 record)

The Phillies, behind three New York errors, were able to win the game 6-4, and therefore win the series two games to one. The Mets struggled in the field throughout the beginning of the game, leading to the Phillies scoring five runs to jump out to an early lead. However, Phillies starter Aaron Nola wasn’t pitching a good game himself. Nola, although he got the win to move to 2-0 on the season, allowed four runs while pitching five innings and striking out only two.

Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was able to break out of his slump in this game, hitting an RBI double in the third inning and then a solo home run in the eighth inning. Hector Neris, the newest Phillies reliever to make an attempt at the closer role, earned his first save of the season as the Phillies were able to bounce back from a tough series in Washington to win the series in New York.

Friday, April 21: vs Braves, win 4-3, (7-9 record)

The Phillies, winning the game by the score of 4-3, were able to snap a seven game losing streak to the Atlanta Braves. The team used a solid pitching performance by Jeremy Hellickson, who earned the win to move to 3-0 on the young season, and some good hitting to get themselves a win at home. Cesar Hernandez finished the game with three hits, as he continued his torrid start to 2017. Freddy Galvis, Aaron Altherr, Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco all knocked in runs as part of the Phillies first win of the season against Atlanta. Hector Neris, although he did allow a solo home run in the ninth, picked up the save, his second of the season, in the Phillies seventh win of 2017.

Stats and Other Things

  • Second baseman Cesar Hernandez has been off to a great start to 2017. Hernandez, who is hitting .324 with three home runs and eight RBIs, hit .370 (10 for 27) with two home runs and three RBIs this past week. The Phillies would love to see Hernandez, their leadoff hitter, continue to hit with this kind of success.
  • The middle of the order in this Phillies lineup needs to step it up if the Phillies are to hit with any success this season. Thus far, Maikel Franco is hitting .164 with three home runs and 13 RBIs. Michael Saunders is hitting .264 with six RBIs and Tommy Joseph is hitting .212 with a home run and seven RBIs.
  • Howie Kendrick (.333 AVG, five RBIs) has been placed on the 10-day disabled list for an oblique injury. According to CSN Philly’s Corey Seidman, Kendrick will miss more time than anticipated.
  • Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson has been pitching lights out thus far in 2017. Hellickson, 3-0, has a 1.88 ERA through three starts, and he has shown no signs of slowing down. It will be interesting to see how the team handles his situation as the year goes on, will he get traded or will the team keep him as part of the rotation of the future.
  • Zach Eflin made his first start of the season, allowing two runs in five innings. In 2016, Eflin pitched in 11 games for the Phillies major league team, compiling a 3-3 record to go with a 5.54 ERA. The Phillies are looking to see what exactly they can get from this young pitcher and whether or not he can be a part of the rotation long term.
  • The Phillies closer carousel has continued and swept through Joaquin Benoit. Benoit has a 3.12 ERA and has made one save in two opportunities. It seems like the Phillies might have already pulled the trigger on Benoit’s time as a closer. Hector Neris, 0.96 ERA and two saves, has made a save in each of the team’s past two games, leading many to believe that Neris now holds the closer role for the Phillies.

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