1 20 Ellis Give the Braves credit, they battled back
The second half woes continue for the .
On Friday night the lowly Braves came to town and beat the Phils, 8 4, at Citizens Bank Park.
It was a familiar face doing the damage as Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman delivered an RBI double in the ninth inning off of closer Jeanmar Gomez to break a 4 4 tie.
Matt Kemp hit a three run homer and knocked in his fourth run on a single in the ninth off Gomez.
The Phillies have lost four straight and eight of their last 10. At 60 74, the Phils are 14 games below .500, their worst record of the season.
The Braves have won four in a row and are now 52 83, still the worst record in the National League.
Starting pitching report
Jeremy Hellickson got through a bases loaded jam unscathed in the first before settling in and retiring 10 of the next 11 hitters he faced. He ran into trouble in the fifth with Kemp s game tying, three run homer doing the bulk of the damage. He threw six innings of four run ball, striking out six and walking three.
It appeared the Phillies would do the same thing to Joel De La Cruz that they did to him back on July 4. A.J. Ellis tagged him for an opposite field, three run home run in the second, giving the Phils an early 4 0 lead. But De La Cruz got in a groove and was able to set down 13 of the next 16 he faced. The righty went five innings, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out five and walking two.
Gomez s struggles continued. He didn t record an out in the ninth and was lifted after Kemp s single. Gomez has blown two saves in the second half and came into the game with a 3.79 ERA since the break. He gave up four runs on four hits on Friday.
New arrival Colton Murray came in to relieve Gomez and didn t fare much better. He allowed an RBI double to Nick Markakis and a sacrifice fly to Tyler Flowers both runs were charged to Gomez .
David Hernandez and Michael Mariot both escaped self inflicted trouble and each pitched a scoreless inning.
Chris Withrow, Jose Ramirez and Mauricio Cabrera each pitched a scoreless inning for the Braves. Cabrera got the win.
Jim Johnson pitched around a leadoff double by Ellis in the ninth to close it out.
At the plate
Ryan Howard beat the shift by hitting an RBI double down the left field line in the first to stake the Phillies to an early lead. Howard added a single in the eighth to go 2 for 4.
Ellis homer came after a Darin Ruf single and Freddy Galvis double. Ellis ninth inning double made him 2 for 4 on the night.
Kemp did the most damage for the Braves with his four RBIs on two hits including his three run homer.
Freeman continues to be a thorn in the Phillies side. He doubled twice and walked twice, knocking in the game winning run and reaching base for the 25th consecutive game. He came into the game hitting .340 against the Phils this season.
Former Phillies Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI infield single in the fifth. He finished 3 for 5 and scored the go ahead run.
Howard will play
Manager Pete Mackanin said earlier this week that Howard would see a decrease in playing time so the team could get a longer look at rookie Tommy Joseph. Howard wasn t pleased with that decision, but Mackanin said before the game that Howard will play more than he thinks, .
Vince Velasquez 8 6, 4.21 on Saturday night will take the mound for one of his final starts of 2016. He ll be opposed by righty John Gant 1 3, 4.59 , who s making his first start since June 27.
On Sunday, rookie Jake Thompson 1 4, 7.86 will look to keep the momentum from his last start going against Braves ace Julio Teheran 4 9, 3.12 .
Phillies Braves 5 things Vince Velasquez tasked with ending losing skid Phillies Braves 5 things Vince Velasquez tasked with ending losing skid By Steven Tydings CSNPhilly.com
Phillies 60 74 vs. Braves 52 83
7 05 p.m. on CSN
The have lost four straight games after dropping the series opener against the Braves. Vince Velasquez is the man they turn to end the skid, while the Braves send out right handed rookie John Gant for the start.
Here are five things to know for the Saturday night matchup.
1. Ending the season on a hot streak
The last time the Phillies won a game, Velasquez took the ball for five strong innings. While he didn t earn a win, he righted himself after a series of disastrous outings.
Velasquez still hasn t won a game since July 8, a span of eight starts. Not picking up a victory against the Mets last time out was hardly his fault though. He allowed just one run and gave up five hits and a walk over five innings while striking out seven.
Since coming off the disabled list on June 27, he has struck out at least five batters in every start and has fanned at least seven in three consecutive starts.
The 24 year old righty has already exceeded his career high in innings with 129 thrown so far this year. He will likely be shut down before the season ends, perhaps after two or three more starts. Velasquez doesn t seem too close to figuring out how to stay in games for longer stretches, but he still has a chance to finish 2016 on a high note before the Phillies hope he takes another step forward in 2017.
2. The rookie with the weird windup
Gant made his MLB debut in April. He made headlines not for his performance but for his windup, one of the more unusual ones in baseball. . He seemingly starts it, then does it again. The false start doesn t come in the stretch, so you won t see it when the Phillies have men on base.
But let s get to Gant the pitcher, not Gant the eccentric performer. Gant was originally in the Mets system after he was drafted in the 21st round in 2011. He was traded to the Braves as part of a deal for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson at the 2015 trade deadline.
He made the Braves roster to start the year as a reliever and made three early appearances before he was sent down to Triple A to join the rotation. He was up and down for the Braves until mid June, when he made four starts. His best start came against his former organization on June 17, tossing 6⅔ innings of one run ball. He earned his first career win while holding the Mets to just two hits and two walks.
Gant s other starts were much less successful, unable to put together any quality starts. He injured his oblique in his fourth start on June 27 and went on the disabled list. He made two relief appearances in late August after returning from the DL.
Gant made an extended relief appearance for the Braves Triple A squad, Gwinnett, on Aug. 29. He threw 3⅔ innings and 61 pitches, meaning he is likely close to fully stretched out for Saturday s start.
In the majors this year, he is 1 3 with a 4.59 ERA. He has struck out 33 batters in 33⅓ innings and has allowed 36 hits and 11 walks. His fastball is his primary pitch, sitting in the low 90s. He also mixes in a low 80s changeup and a mid 70s curveball.
3. Stopping the skid
While the Braves have somehow won four straight games, the Phillies are on the opposite end of the spectrum with four consecutive defeats. It s certainly not as bad as their season high nine game skid in mid June, but the losing streak is still worrisome for a team with little left to play for.
With Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin done for the season, the Phillies are struggling to reach the finish line. It doesn t help Velasquez has only a few starts left and Jerad Eickhoff is likely approaching his innings limit as well. When the team can t get a quality outing out of Jeremy Hellickson like Friday, wins can be few and far between.
The Phils haven t won a series since sweeping the Rockies on Aug. 12 14. They have four consecutive series against playoff contenders coming up after this series, making a marked improvement tougher to see coming.
After Friday s loss http://www.bravesfanaticsjersey.com/...rsey-c-13.html
, the Phillies are 14 games under .500 for the first time this season.
4. Players to watch
Phillies Maikel Franco has just three hits in his last 31 at bats and hasn t drawn a walk since Aug. 21 against St. Louis. He hasn t hit a home run since Aug. 18 against the Dodgers.
Braves Outfielder Ender Inciarte has been hot since the start of August. He batted .371 over 116 plate apperances in the month and has followed that up with a 5 for 9 start to September.
5. This and that
Velasquez leads the Phillies with 144 strikeouts this season, the 15th best mark in the National League. His 10.45 strikeouts per nine innings is the sixth best mark in the NL for pitchers with at least 100 innings.
Gant not only has never faced the Phillies, he hasn t opposed a Phillies affliate this year. He faced Single A Clearwater last season but did not face anyone on the active Phillies roster.
Velasquez is 0 1 against Atlanta this season with a 4.50 ERA over 12 innings. He picked up a loss against the Braves in July while allowing just two runs over six innings.
Braves outfielder Nick Markakis is 2 for 5 with a double and a walk against Velasquez. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is 3 for 6 while Inciarte is 1 for 7 with a strikeout.
Phillies blow lead in loss to Braves, stumble to season worst 14 games under .500 Phillies blow lead in loss to Braves, stumble to season worst 14 games under .500 By Paul Hudrick CSNPhilly.com
The NL worst Braves came into Citizens Bank Park and handed the struggling an 8 4 loss on Friday night .
The Phils built up a four run lead only to watch it disappear and have their bats go silent through the final seven innings.
The Phillies have now lost four straight and eight of their last 10. At 60 74, the Phils are 14 games below .500, their worst record of the season.
In a 4 4 ballgame in the ninth, closer Jeanmar Gomez got the nod and failed to record an out. He was tagged for four runs on four hits.
Gomez, who was almost automatic through the early part of the season, has struggled lately. Since blowing a save against Miami back on July 18, Gomez s ERA is well over 4.00.
Is the closer overworked?
I don t see him being tired http://www.bravesfanaticsjersey.com/...rsey-c-14.html
, manager Pete Mackanin said. You look at his usage and he s had plenty of rest in between his appearances. ... It s the last month. Everybody s a little tired but I don t see that [as the reason for Gomez s struggles].
It was Gomez s 56th appearance of the season so it s fair to wonder if fatigue is setting in for the 28 year old. Gomez dismissed that, chalking up Friday as just one of those nights.
Today I felt good with all my pitches, Gomez said. Physically I feel good. ... My velocity is the same and my pitches are moving.
Things looked good early for the Phillies against Atlanta starter Joel De La Cruz. Ryan Howard started the scoring by beating the shift on an RBI double down the left field line. A.J. Ellis three run, opposite field homer in the second gave starter Jeremy Hellickson a 4 0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, the veteran righty couldn t hold it. Hellickson appeared to be cruising before giving up a leadoff double to Gordon Beckham in the fifth. After an RBI infield single from Ender Inciarte Ian Krol Jersey
, Phillie killer Freddie Freeman worked a walk, which was followed by a three run home run off the bat of Matt Kemp on a hanging curveball.
It was the only real mistake Hellickson made all night. The Phils starter didn t take any solace in that and was especially disappointed after being staked to a four run lead.
You can t make a mistake up in the zone right there with a 4 1 lead, Hellickson said of Kemp s homer. Me making that mistake in that situation definitely overshadows the rest of the game.
Hellickson went six innings, giving up four earned runs while striking out six and walking three.
Freeman upped his average to .358 against the Phillies this season. He reached based for the 25th straight game with a double in the first inning. He finished 2 for 3 with two walks and two doubles. The second double turned out to be the game winning hit.
Freddie Freeman just had tough at bats all day long, Ellis said. Give him credit. It was tough battling him tonight, for everybody.
Ellis is new to the team, so he doesn t realize that it s been tough for Phillies pitchers to get Freeman out since he got to the big leagues. Including Friday night, Freeman is a .300 hitter against the Phils with 13 homers and 64 RBIs in 390 at bats.
Hellickson didn t have his best start and Gomez s rut continued http://www.bravesfanaticsjersey.com/...rsey-c-15.html
, but the biggest issue yet again was the Phillies inconsistent offense.
After scoring four runs in the first two innings, the Phillies could only muster one rally. That happened in the eighth when Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard led off the inning with back to back singles. But hard throwing righty Mauricio Cabrera struck out Aaron Altherr, Darin Ruf and Freddy Galvis to end the threat.
The Braves recorded five straight hits to start the ninth, scoring four runs on their way to the win. Mackanin almost seemed jealous of Atlanta s ability to put a few hits together and cash in.
They got five consecutive hits in that ninth inning, Mackanin said. That s what we need to do. You look at their lineup and their lineup isn t that bad. They got guys in the middle of that lineup that can do damage.
We need to get our guys on track. We got a month left to get something going and we just got to improve.
Best of MLB Mark Trumbo hits 41st HR as Orioles breeze past Yankees Best of MLB Mark Trumbo hits 41st HR as Orioles breeze past Yankees By The Associated Press
BALTIMORE Mark Trumbo hit his major league leading 41st homer to cap a six run second inning, and the Baltimore Orioles peppered the New York Yankees with four long balls in an 8 0 victory Friday night.
Pedro Alvarez and Chris Davis hit two run homers in the second inning and Manny Machado added a two run shot in the fourth. Baltimore leads the majors with 213 home runs, including 117 at home.
When Alvarez went deep, the Orioles became the 19th team in big league history to have six players hit at least 20 in the same season. Alvarez joins Trumbo, Machado 33 , Davis 33 , Adam Jones 24 and Jonathan Schoop 21 .
Dylan Bundy 8 5 allowed two hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. In his previous start, the right hander took the loss Saturday at Yankee Stadium after giving up five runs and seven hits in four innings
Harper, Nats win 4th in row, steal it from Syndergaard, Mets
NEW YORK Bryce Harper hit two doubles and became the latest player to steal a base against Noah Syndergaard, helping A.J. Cole post his first major league win as the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 4 1 Friday night.
Washington won its fourth in a row and increased its NL East bulge over the wild card contending Mets to 10 1/2 games.
Like a lot of teams, the Nationals came out running on Syndergaard, swiping four bases in the early innings. Tall and slow to the plate, he s had 45 runners steal with him on the mound the most against any pitcher since Hideo Nomo in 2001, ESPN Stats Info said.
Only six runners have been caught with Syndergaard pitching. Before the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said Syndergaard had improved at holding runners on base
Carrasco strikes out 11 as Indians beat Marlins 6 2
CLEVELAND Carlos Carrasco struck out 11 while pitching scoreless ball into the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Miami Marlins 6 2 on Friday night.
Carrasco 10 7 posted the 10th double digit strikeout game of his career, three this season. The right hander allowed six hits and walked one in 7 1/3 innings, leading Cleveland to its fourth straight win.
Cleveland scored three times in the first and once in the second off Andrew Cashner 4 11 . Abraham Almonte s two run double pushed the lead to 6 0 in the fifth.
J.T. Realmuto hit a two run homer off Jeff Manship in the eighth for Miami, which has lost six of seven