National League East Report 4/22-28

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The Washington Nationals have struggled somewhat thus far

This past week began with the Philadelphia Phillies (16-12) at three games above the .500 mark in first place in the National League East Division standings. They held a one game lead over both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, with the Washington Nationals just 1.5 behind but also just a game out in the loss column.

The week began in disheartening fashion for the Phillies. They dropped their first two games on Monday and Tuesday by a combined 14-1 to the Mets. However, the Fightin’ Phils lived up to that nickname, roaring back to take four of the last five games.
That stretch lifted them four games over the .500 mark and raised their lead in the division to 1.5 over the Mets, though it remains just a game in the loss column. Atlanta has fallen 2.5 and Washington is now 3 games behind the Phillies, both 2 games out in that all-important loss column.
The Phillies will meet the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday of the current week in what is already their second inter-league series of the season. With a win on Tuesday night, the Phillies would equal their best record in the early weeks of the 2019 season by going to five games above that .500 mark. They were at 7-2 back on April 8.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION STANDINGS

EAST DIVISION

    <th aria-label="Win-Loss %" class=" poptip hide_non_quals center" data-filter="1" data-name="Win-Loss %" data-stat="win_loss_perc" data-tip="Win-Loss Percentage
    W / (W + L)
    For players, leaders need one decision for every ten team games.
    For managers, minimum to qualify for leading is 320 games.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>W-L%

    <th aria-label="Games Back" class=" poptip sort_default_asc center" data-stat="games_back" data-tip="Games Back of Division/League Leader
    Computed as games over .500 of leader (W-L) minus games over .500 of team divided by two.
    Typically computed at the end of play for a particular day.
    Blank for 1st game of DH.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>GB

    East Division
    Team W L
    Philadelphia Phillies 17 13 .567
    Atlanta Braves 15 15 .500 2.0
    New York Mets 15 15 .500 2.0
    Washington Nationals 12 17 .414 4.5
    Miami Marlins 9 21 .300 8.0

    ATLANTA BRAVES (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Braves began the week by dropping two of three tight games at Great American Ballpark to the host Cincinnati Reds. Then they came back home to Atlanta and surrendered 24 runs in losing two of three to the visiting Colorado Rockies. They salvaged something by scoring three times in the bottom of the 8th to rally to an 8-7 victory on Sunday.
    Offensively the Braves continue to be led by veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman and budding young superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Freeman has a .324/.448/.539 slash line. His five homers and 18 RBIs are both tied for second on the club. Acuna, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, is slashing .289/.410/.526 and leads the club with six homers. He also has 18 RBIs on the year.
    Third baseman Josh Donaldson has begun to heat up, slashing .327/.453/.712 over the last 15 games. He also has five homers and leads the Braves with 13 extra-base hits. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis is slashing .333/.407/.490 with 11 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has a dozen extra-base hits and his 22 RBIs lead the team.
    The Braves two-headed catching combo has produced well for the club. Righty-hitting Tyler Flowers is slashing .367/.426/.592 with three homers in 54 plate appearances. The lefty-hitting Brian McCann is hitting .270 with a .364 OBP and has driven in eight runs over 44 plate appearances.
    For all the good that the offense has produced, the pitching has been letting the Braves down thus far. A bright spot has been 25-year-old lefty Max Fried. The southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.085 WHIP, allowing 27 hits over 31.1 innings while striking out 26 and walking seven.
    Righty reliever Luke Jackson has been strong out of the bullpen for manager Brian Snitker. The 27-year-old has allowed 11 hits over 14 innings across 13 appearances with a 15/6 K:BB ratio.
    Key injuries: That bullpen has lost four key members to the Injured List. Lefties Johnny Venters and Jesse Biddle and right-handers Darren O’Day and Arodys Vizcaino. The latter is done for the season following should surgery.
    Upcoming: Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres come to Atlanta for a four-game series beginning Monday night. The Braves will then hit the road for a 10-game road trip, one of two of that length that they will see this season. It begins next weekend with a visit to Miami for three games, then continues out west to visit the Dodgers and Diamondbacks next week.

    MIAMI MARLINS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Marlins are the least consequential and yet in some ways the most pivotal team in the division. They are going to finish in last place, barring some sort of major miracle that would need to include any of the other four teams suffering a series of major lengthy injuries.
    However, the Fish have already done some damage, taking two of three from the Nationals last weekend. They have losing records against the Phillies (2-5), Mets (0-3) and Braves (1-2) to this point. If the Marlins can find a way to win frequently against any of those teams it would be a major crippling blow.
    This past week, Miami started solidly enough, capturing two of the first three games. They split a quick two-game trip to Cleveland and won the opener against the Phillies. But then the Phils roared back to sweep the final three of their four-game series this weekend.
    The Marlins have gotten a strong start to the year from catcher Jorge Alfaro, who is slashing .297/.342/.500 and leading the club with five home runs. Veteran left fielder Curtis Granderson leads the team with 11 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
    And that’s about it for the Miami offense, which has pretty much been putrid on every day of the week other than Saturdays. For some odd reason the Marlins become competitive on that day. They were 4-0 over the first four Saturdays of the season including division wins over the Braves, Phillies and Nationals. The Phils finally put an end to that streak this weekend, but only after watching the Marlins roar back from a 10-1 deficit to make it a 10-9 game at one point.
    The Miami staff has received a strong season thus far from lefty starter Caleb Smith, who is 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.828 WHIP over his first five starts. He has allowed just 17 hits over 29 innings with a 37/7 K:BB ratio, and has tossed a pair of gems against the Phillies.
    The Marlins bullpen has received mostly strong work from a trio of right-handers in Tayron Guerrero, Nick Anderson and Tyler Kinley. Those three have combined to allow just 27 hits over 38.1 innings with a 57/21 K:BB ratio. Veteran closer Sergio Romo has four saves and was perfect in his last three opportunities.
    Key injuries: Veteran infielder Neil Walker pinch-hit in the final two games against the Phillies this past weekend. He has been battling hamstring tightness but remains available. The Marlins have otherwise been one of the healthiest teams in baseball over the first five weeks of the season.
    Upcoming: The Marlins are home in Marlins Park this week, hosting the Cleveland Indians for a pair on Tuesday and Wednesday after visiting Cleveland last week. Then they welcome in the division-rival Atlanta Braves for a three-game set next weekend.

    NEW YORK METS (3 – 3)

    Summary: The Mets pulled away from the Milwaukee Brewers late on Sunday to salvage the final game of their weekend series and get back above the .500 mark, staying within a game of the Phillies in the standings.
    New York opened the week by taking two of the three from the Phils but then dropped two of three to the Brew Crew. They are in the midst of a 10-game home stand that continues with four this week against the Cincinnati Reds.
    The Mets offense continues to be led by the National League’s leading Rookie of the Year candidate, first baseman Pete Alonso. The 24-year-old is slashing .306/.398/684 and leads the club with nine homers, 24 RBIs, 19 extra-base hits, and 20 runs scored.
    Right fielder Michael Conforto is second on the team with six home runs and 13 extra-base hits. Catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Amed Rosario are each second on the club with 16 RBIs. Left fielder Jeff McNeil is hitting .355 with a .434 OBP and nine extra-base hits.
    On the mound, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have been the surprise leaders of the rotation. The performances of the Noah Syndergaard and Jake deGrom ace duo have been puzzling. Those two have combined to surrender 66 hits over 60 innings including 10 home runs, and they have walked 10 batters apiece.
    Closer Edwin Diaz remains perhaps the best in the game. He has eight saves over a dozen appearances with a 20/2 K:BB ratio over 10.2 innings. Right-hander Seth Lugo has also been solid, but the rest of the Mets bullpen has been a mess.
    Key injuries: Second baseman Robinson Cano was hit on the hand by a pitch from newly signed Milwaukee pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Sunday and had to leave the game early. Initial x-rays reportedly came back negative but he will undergo an MRI today before the club decides how to proceed.
    Infielder Jed Lowrie remains out with a knee injury and hopes to return over the next week or two. Lefty reliever Justin Wilson had soreness in his pitching elbow and an MRI came back clean. He could return later this week. There remains no timetable on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who could return later this season but could also miss the year entirely.
    Upcoming: After hosing the Cincinnati Reds for four games at Citi Field to open the week, the Mets go on the road for a two-city trip that starts with three games next weekend in Milwaukee against the Brewers and then continues out in San Diego to start next week.

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Nationals dropped two of three to the Rockies at Coors Field to open the week, then returned home and again lost two of three games, this time to the visiting San Diego Padres.
    A big factor this past week for the Nationals was the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon to an injury that lingered. He was hit on the elbow by a pitch last weekend, sat out a few games, and then tried to return on Friday. After playing that night, the elbow flared up again.
    Bottom line, the club’s top hitter missed most of the action this past week. Rendon has slashed .356/.442/.740 over his first 86 plate appearances. His six homers are tied for the club lead, his 18 RBIs are second, and he leads the Nats with 16 extra-base hits and 21 runs scored.
    The two young outfielders who the club has hoped would step up and ease the transition away from Bryce Harper have been a mixed bag to this point. 20-year-old left fielder Juan Soto, last year’s runner-up to Acuna in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, is hitting .255 with a .376 OBP and is tied for the club lead with six homers while leading the Nats with 22 RBIs.
    22-year-old center fielder Victor Robles is hitting just .265 with four homers and 11 RBIs, though he does have a dozen extra-base hits. He is second on the club in that category and with his 19 runs scored behind only Rendon.
    Howie Kendrick has filled in well as a back-up at both third and second bases. The 35-year-old, 14-year veteran is slashing .333/.421/.667 with four homers, seven extra-base hits and 13 RBIs over 57 plate appearances. The Nationals have called up one of their top prospects, shortstop Carter Kieboom, to try and bridge the gap with the injuries to Turner and Rendon.
    On the mound, the club’s big free agent signings have been a split decision. Lefty Patrick Corbin has been the club’s most consistently strong starting pitcher. He is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 0.918 WHIP, allowing 24 hits over 32.2 innings with a 39/6 K:BB across his first five starts.
    However, Anibal Sanchez (0-3) has allowed 32 hits and walked 16 over his first five starts and 27 innings with the club. His rotation spot could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t straighten out and get better results quickly. Manager Dave Martinez has a number of options waiting for a shot, including Erick Fedde and Joe Ross.
    Veterans workhorses Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg have been dominant at times, but both have also struggled on a couple of occasions as well. Combining with Corbin, they give the Nationals a top three in the rotation that, assuming health, should keep them in the race all year.
    In the bullpen, closer Sean Doolittle has been strong. That’s about it. The rest of the pen group has largely been a mess. Fedde was called up from the minors to help out there, but he could end up in the rotation at some point.
    Key injuries: Getting Rendon straightened out quickly would be a huge plus for a lineup that is already missing star shortstop Trea Turner. However, Rendon may yet require an IL stint. Turner is out still after breaking a finger on a bunt attempt against the Phillies a few weeks ago. He is expected to be out anywhere from four to six more weeks.
    Veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was just placed on the Injured List, presenting the lineup with another setback. He is suffering from plantar fasciatis. Relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Koda Glover are also on the IL with no return ETA.
    Upcoming: The Nats open a four-game home set with the Saint Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on Monday night. They will then embark on a 10-game road trip beginning with a visit to Citizens Bank Park for next weekend. That tough trip will continue next week with visits to the Brewers and Dodgers.

    Zach Eflin tosses first Phillies complete game victory in nearly three years

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    The Phillies rode a Zach Eflin gem to victory

    After losing the opener on Thursday night in heartbreaking fashion, the Philadelphia Phillies needed to sweep the next three in a row in order to win this four-game weekend series. Sweep they did, finishing things off with a big 5-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

    The Phillies got a complete game gem from starting pitcher Zach Eflin, who scattered seven hits and walked no one while striking out three Marlins batters.
    It was the first official complete game by a Phillies starting pitcher since Ben Lively was credited with one in an eight-inning performance during a 3-2 loss at Washington on September 10, 2017.
    This was the first complete game victory by a Phillies pitcher since Jeremy Hellickson shut the Marlins out on three hits back on September 17, 2016. Coming at the end of a long, wild 17-game stretch without a day off, the outing by Eflin came at a great time for a tired, battered bullpen.
    The Phillies (16-12) continue to lead the National League East Division standings while the visiting Miami Marlins (8-20) sit at the bottom of the division, where they are likely to remain for the rest of the year.
    In the bottom of the 1st inning the Phillies drew first blood when Bryce Harper drew a two-out walk and came all the way around on a double by Rhys Hoskins.
    With one out in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Andrew McCutchen worked a walk and raced around on a triple by Jean Segura, who was back in the lineup after getting beaned in the head on Saturday night. Segura then scored on a ground out by Harper and it was 3-0 in favor of the Phillies.
    The RBI was the 20th for Harper since the start of the season. It gave the Phillies three players (Hoskins and Maikel Franco) with 20+ RBI prior to the month of May for the first time in franchise history.
    The Marlins got on the board in the top of the 4th thanks largely to the latest in a series of defensive gaffes by Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez. A wild pitch by Marlins starter Pablo Lopez (2-4) in the bottom of the 6th got that run back, with Segura racing home from third base on the play.
    Fireballing reliever Tayron Guerrero, who dominated the Phillies back on Thursday night, was brought on by Marlins manager Don Mattingly for the bottom of the 8th inning.
    The right-hander came out firing high-90’s heat again, touching 100 mph once, but was wild this time. He walked three around another hit by Segura, his third of the afternoon. The third walk came to Hoskins with the bases loaded, bringing in a run that made it the final 5-1 score.
    Eflin (3-3) came out for the 9th inning at 99 pitches and made short work of the Miami hitters, setting down the side 1-2-3 to finish off his brilliant Sunday afternoon performance.
    The Phillies will now enjoy an off-day before resuming a nine-game home stand, welcoming in the Detroit Tigers for a quick two-game Inter-league series on Tuesday and Wednesday. That will be followed by a visit from the division-rival Washington Nationals next weekend.

    SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

    • Zach Eflin: 9 IP, 7 hits, 1 earned, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts. 107 pitches, 77 for strikes.
    • Pablo Lopez: 5.2 IP, 3 hits, 4 earned, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts. 94 pitches, 60 for strikes.

    PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME:  ZACH EFLIN

    The Phillies starting pitcher was brilliant on the afternoon. He was firing his four-seam fastball effectively as his lead pitch at 93-94 mph, mixing in the two-seamer. From time to time he would drop a curveball and slider to keep the Marlins batters off-balance. It was a masterful performance from the 25-year-old who is emerging as pivotal member of the starting rotation.

    NEXT GAME

    • Tuesday April 30 at 7:05 pm vs the Detroit Tigers at Citizens Bank Park
    • This will be a Hatfield Phillies Franks ‘Dollar Dog’ Night 
    • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
    • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

    Phillies will try to take the series with Fish on Sunday

    Phillies wrap Marlins series in South Philly
    After the first-place Philadelphia Phillies (15-12) dropped the opener of this four-game series with the last-place Miami Marlins (8-19), an unlikely and troubling scenario was presenting itself.
    The Phillies roster was noticeably improved this past off-season by an influx of free agents and trade acquisitions. Much was expected of a team that was viewed as a legitimate contender, and they got off to a hot start.
    But that loss in the series opener left the Phillies just a game over the .500 mark and struggling. They had lost six of their previous eight games and had suffered a series of recent injuries that seemed to sap the life out of the squad.
    In order to win a division crown or a Wildcard playoff berth, teams are going to need to find a way to overcome injuries and other challenges. They are going to have to win series. And they are especially going to have to win the series that they are supposed to win.
    This series against a bottom-dweller team at home was one that the Phillies needed to win, injuries or not. Losing the opener meant that in order to accomplish that, the club would have to capture three straight.
    Well, we are almost there. The Phillies have recovered to win on Friday and Saturday nights, setting up the chance to win the series with a Sunday afternoon victory.
    They won on Saturday night after building up what seemed to be an insurmountable 10-1 lead after five innings. But the Marlins, who have made an early-season habit of playing their best baseball on Saturdays, roared back to cut the deficit to just 10-9. 
    Rhys Hoskins stepped up with a huge two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to clinch a 12-9 victory, setting up this Sunday opportunity.
    Phillies shortstop Jean Segura, playing in his first game since being activated from the Injured List, was literally knocked out of the game on Saturday night when he was hit in the head by a pitch from Marlins starter Trevor Richards. His initial concussion examination came back negative, and after a re-evaluation this morning, Segura was cleared to play.
    Phillies Nation wishes public address announcer Dan Baker well. An undisclosed illness caused Baker to miss his first game since Citizens Bank Park opened back in 2004. Generations of fans have listened as he introduced lineups, served as emcee for many events, and made numerous other announcements both at Veteran’s Stadium and CBP since 1972.
    The Phillies currently are the only team in the National League East Division standings with a winning record. They hold a 1.5 game lead on the New York Mets, one game in the loss column. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals are both two games back in the loss column.

    SUNDAY STARTING LINEUPS

    PHILLIES LINEUP

    1. Andrew McCutchen CF
    2. Jean Segura SS
    3. Bryce Harper RF
    4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
    5. Nick Williams LF
    6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
    7. Andrew Knapp C
    8. Maikel Franco 3B
    9. Zach Eflin P

    MARLINS LINEUP

    1. Jon Berti 3B
    2. Martin Prado 1B
    3. Brian Anderson RF
    4. Starlin Castro 2B
    5. Miguel Rojas SS
    6. Isaac Galloway LF
    7. Chad Wallach C
    8. Lewis Brinson CF
    9. Pablo Lopez P

    SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

    • Zach Eflin: 2-3, 4.15 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 30 hits allowed over 26 IP (5 starts) with a 23/5 K:BB
    • In his only other appearance at Citizens Bank Park this season, Eflin went 7 innings to beat the Twins
    • Eflin has five career starts against Miami: 2-2, 5.52 ERA, 31 hits including eight home runs over 29.1 IP
    • Pablo Lopez: 2-3, 4.44 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 26 hits allowed over 26.1 IP (5 starts) with a 29/5 K:BB
    • Lopez registered his best start of the season thus far in his last outing. Went 6.1 IP at Cleveland allowing just two hits and no earned runs to the host Indians with six strikeouts and two walks.
    • Lopez has one career start at Citizens Bank Park and it was a good one. Last August 2 he allowed just five hits over six innings, one of those a solo home run from Hoskins, in a 5-2 loss to the Phillies.

    PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

    • With a win today it would be the first time that the Phillies have won five straight home series against any team since they defeated the Padres in six straight over 2011-16. The Phillies are 13-3 against the Marlins over these last five series, outscoring the Fish by 118-49.
    • Per Elias, Hoskins 60th career home run in his 229th game made him the second-fastest Phillies player ever to reach the 60-homer plateau behind Ryan Howard, who did it in 209 games. Since his MLB debut on 8/10/17, Hoskins leads the National League in home runs. He and Mike Trout are the only big-leaguers with at least 50 homers and 140 walks in that time period.
    • The Phillies now have 96 extra-base hits, tying the franchise record prior to May. They now have a combined 38 home runs, the most prior to May since the 2008 club banged out 41.
    • Both Hoskins and Maikel Franco have 22 RBIs, five behind Howard’s pre-May club record. The Phillies have one remaining April game after Sunday. If Bryce Harper (19 RBI) drives in another run on Sunday or Tuesday it would mark the first time in team history that three players drove in 20+ prior to May.
    • Cesar Hernandez has hit safely in eight straight games and 13 of his last 14. Over the last 76 plate appearances he is hitting .333 with a .395 on-base percentage.
    • The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and its PHL Sports division have announced that Phillies Chairman David Montgomery would receive its Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony on June 11.

    SUNDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION

    • Sunday April 28 at 1:05 pm vs. the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park
    • This will be the Phillie Phanatic birthday celebration: hooded towels to kids 14 and under
    • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
    • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)


    Late blast from Rhys Hoskins gives Phillies a shootout win over Marlins

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    Rhys Hoskins two-run 8th inning homer clinched Saturday’s win

    The Philadelphia Phillies (15 – 12) and Miami Marlins (8 – 19) engaged in a wild one down in South Philly on Saturday night. In the end, the Phillies would come out on top at Citizens Bank Park by a 12-9 score, but not before sweating out the end of what looked early-on as if it would be a blowout for the home team.

    The Phillies put up crooked numbers in both the 2nd and 5th innings to blow out to a 10-1 lead over the first half of the contest. Nick Williams blasted his first home run of the season, a solo shot with one out in the second to get the scoring started.
    Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco followed Williams with singles, and starting pitcher Jake Arrieta bunted them over into scoring position with two outs. A passed ball by Jorge Alfaro allowed Hernandez to score to make it a 2-0 game.
    Andrew McCutchen then drew a walk from Marlins starter Trevor Richards. That was followed by a scary moment as shortstop Jean Segura, just activated today after a stint on the Injured List, was plunked on the head. He walked off under his own power and was replaced by Sean RodriguezBryce Harper then ripped a two-run double to right, scoring both Franco and McCutchen to give the Phillies an early 4-0 lead.
    The Marlins got one back in the top of the 3rd inning when Starlin Castro grounded into a 6-5 force out with the bases loaded that scored Curtis Granderson. The Phillies got that one back when McCutchen drilled his fifth home run of the season out to left field.

    Embedded video

    Cutch comes in clutch 🔥

    He hits his 5th homer of the season to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead.

    31 people are talking about this

    Holding a 5-1 lead, the Phillies appeared to break out to an insurmountable lead when they scored five times in the home 5th inning. The big blow was a two-run single by Franco. That was followed by a run-scoring infield single from Arrieta and a two-run double by Rodriguez to push the Phillies lead out to 10-1.
    Arrieta was struggling some, but keeping the Marlins off the scoreboard – until the top of the 6th inning. The Fish put up a four-spot in that frame, driving the Phillies starter from the game and cutting the lead down to 10-5. The big blow was a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Granderson that got away from McCutchen in center field.
    With both starting pitchers out of the game the final few innings would be in the hands of the two bullpens. The Marlins would get to the Phillies pen in the top of the 7th to cut into the lead some more.
    Enyel De Los Santos, who was called up earlier this week after a successful start to the season in the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation, was victimized by a two-run homer from Alfaro to make it 10-7. Alfaro now has mulitple hits in all five games that he has played this season against his former team.
    In the top of the 8th, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler turned to Seranthony Dominguez. The Marlins just kept coming. Rosell Herrera and Neil Walker each singled, one of which could easily have been an error on Hernandez. Granderson then grounded out 1-3 on a ball that Hoskins nearly made an error on, but recovered in time to nip the speedy Granderson with a pitch to Dominguez covering.
    With runners at second and third, a Rojas ground out scored one run and an RBI single by Brian Anderson another, and suddenly the Marlins had trimmed the once comfortable 10-1 Phillies cushion down to a 10-9 nail-biter.
    In the bottom of the 8th inning with the game now a nervous tightrope walk, Rhys Hoskins decided to play hero. With Rodriguez aboard on a leadoff walk, Hoskins blasted a no-doubt two-run home run out to left field, pushing the Phillies lead out to 12-9.
    For the 9th inning, Kapler turned to Hector Neris to try and close it out. Neris allowed a one-out single and a two-out walk, bringing Chad Wallach to the plate as the tying run for the Fish. Neris buckled down and struck Wallach out swinging on a nasty splitter and the Phillies had a 12-9 victory.

    SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

    • Jake Arrieta: 5 IP, 9 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 99 pitches (71 strikes)
    • Trevor Richards: 4 IP, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 76 pitches (49 strikes)

    PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: RHYS HOSKINS


    The Phillies first baseman went 2-4 and his eighth inning, two-run homer off Drew Steckenrider, his eighth of the season, gave the club some breathing room when it needed it most.

    NEXT GAME

    • Sunday April 28 at 1:05 pm vs. the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park
    • This will be the Phillie Phanatic birthday celebration: hooded towels to kids 14 and under
    • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
    • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

    Phillies need to win this weekend series against the Marlins

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    Winning this weekend series at home is important for the Phillies

    The Philadelphia Phillies (14 – 12) will host the Miami Marlins (8 – 18) on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Parkin South Philadelphia. This will be the third game of a four-game weekend set and the sixth overall meeting here in the early part of the season between the two divisional rivals.

    Last night’s 4-0 victory left the Phillies alone in first place in the National League East Division standings. Meanwhile, Miami enters the contest with the worst record in the NL, tied with the Kansas City Royals for the worst record in all of Major League Baseball.
    The Phillies really need to start taking advantage of teams like the Marlins, especially at home, winning series and putting runs on the board. After dropping the opener, the only way that the Phillies can win this particular series will be to capture both tonight and Sunday afternoon’s contests.
    After this weekend, three of the next four series will be against teams who currently sport losing marks. But a glance forward reveals that much of the Phillies first-half schedule right through the MLB All-Star break is filled with tough opponents and/or divisional series and not too many games against non-contenders.
    The Phillies will have enjoyed 17 home games by the time the month of April ends next Tuesday. That will be the most home dates the team will play during any calendar month this season: May (14), June (13), July (12), August (15), September (10) and then hopefully at least a handful in October.
    Saturday night’s weather is expected to be sunny at the 6:05 pm first pitch time and right through sundown, then remaining clear with a near 0% chance of rain the entire night. It has been a windy day in Philly and will be breezy at the start, with winds around 15 mph out of the WNW. Those will diminish by about three mph with each passing hour, and the 62 degree first-pitch temperature will drop by about one degree per hour.

    SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS AND PREVIEW

    PHILLIES LINEUP

    1. Andrew McCutchen CF
    2. Jean Segura SS
    3. Bryce Harper RF
    4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
    5. J.T. Realmuto C
    6. Nick Williams LF
    7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
    8. Maikel Franco 3B
    9. Jake Arrieta P

    PHILLIES HOT & COLD

    • Lefty reliever Adam Morgan delivered his 14th consecutive appearance without allowing a run in Friday night’s contest. That ties him for the second-longest such streak in franchise history. Should he extend it one more game, Morgan would join what is right now a four-way tie for the longest such opposition scoreless streak at 15 straight appearances. Two more in a row and the club record would be his alone.
    • After a scoreless 2/3 of an inning on Friday night, righty reliever Edubray Ramos has a 2.25 ERA over his last 68 innings dating back to August 22, 2017.
    • Cesar Hernandez is hitting .338 with a .394 OBP over his last 16 games and 71 plate appearances. J.T. Realmuto is slashing .325/.378/.625 over his last 45 plate appearances across 11 games (10 starts)
    • The Phillies are still not getting much offensive production from their bench group. Aside from the currently injured Scott Kingery, none of those reserve players his hitting higher than the .222 average of backup catcher Andrew Knapp, while Phil Gosselin (4) and Nick Williams (3) are the lone contributors with more than one RBI.

    MARLINS LINEUP

    1. Curtis Granderson LF
    2. Miguel Rojas 1B
    3. Brian Anderson RF
    4. Starlin Castro 2B
    5. Jorge Alfaro C
    6. Isaac Galloway CF
    7. Jon Berti 3B
    8. Rossell Herrera SS
    9. Trevor Richards P

    MARLINS HOT & COLD

    • Where the Marlins offense is concerned it’s all cold. Last night marked the seventh time already this season that the club has been shutout. In 20 of their 26 games the team has managed to score just three or fewer runs.
    • Saturday has been the Marlins day. They are unbeaten at 4-0 on Saturdays in these early weeks of the 2019 season with all of those victories coming against division rivals: 7-3 and 4-2 over the Braves, 10-3 over the Phillies, and 9-3 over the Nationals.
    • Jorge Alfaro continues to hit his old team. The catcher was obtained by the Phillies as part of the Cole Hamels trade with Texas back in 2015 and shipped to Miami in the Realmuto deal back in February. He now has two hits in each of the four games he has played against the Phillies.

    SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

    • Jake Arrieta: 3-2, 2.65 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, 26 hits allowed over 34 IP with a 25/13 K:BB. His outing of eight innings 10 days ago against the Mets remains the club’s longest of the season.
    • Arrieta has delivered a Quality Start in each of his five outings this season. In his two losses the club has scored just three total runs. He has a career 6-1 record with a 2.78 ERA and a .217 batting average against with just 43 hits allowed over 55 innings against Miami.
    • Trevor Richards: 0-3, 3.72 ERA, 1.241 WHIP, 20 hits allowed over 29 IP with a 28/16 K:BB
    • Richards is a 25-year-old right-hander who made 25 starts for Miami as a rookie last season. He is giving them length this year, having gone at least six innings in four of his five outings. His last time out this past Sunday he struck out seven in a 5-0 loss to Washington. His Marlins teammates have severely let him down, scoring just eight runs over his five starts.
    • Following their loss to the Mets in his last outing, Arrieta publicly called out Bryce Harper for getting thrown out of the game early while things were still close. I wrote about it in the following piece: Arrieta was right, Phillies need Harper on the field

    PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

    • The Phillies activated shortstop Jean Segura from the IL on Saturday afternoon, returning outfielder Dylan Cozens to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
    • After Friday’s win the Phillies are now 9-3 when they score first, 11-3 when they score four or more runs, and 13-1 when they hold a lead after the 6th, 7th or 8th innings. They are 13-6 in games in which they blast at least one home run, and are 13-7 when their starting pitcher gives them at least five innings.
    • Andrew McCutchen remains just one RBI shy of 800 for his career. Maikel Franco is two doubles short of 100 for his career.
    • Realmuto has thrown out nine runners attempting to steal this season, by far the most in MLB. The next-highest catchers have five.
    • Neil Walker has by far the most experience facing Arrieta of any Marlins hitter. The veteran infielder has fared well against the Phillies starter over their careers. In 25 a-bats, Walker has a .320 average and has homered off Arrieta.

    SATURDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION