The Phillies got another look at one of their top pitching prospects this afternoon, but shaky outings from Kevin Slowey, Justin De Fratus and Sean O'Sullivan led to an embarassing blow out in favor of the Pirates, 18-4. The Phillies have been outscored 50-11 in their last six games this spring, posting a record of 0-5-1.
Zach Eflin, ranked as the Phillies number four prospect in the organization according to Baseball America, took the mound for his first big league spring training today and did pretty well. He did give up four runs in three innings, but just one of them was earned. He struck out two and walked one. Meanwhile, Kevin Slowey took over for Eflin in the fourth and got hit around. In his two innings of work, he gave up six runs on six hits, surrendering two homers in the process. Slowey was a dark horse for the Phillies fifth starter spot, but today's outing likely eliminates him from contention. Justin De Fratus only lasted a third of an inning, giving up two runs. Jake Diekman rebounded from a rough outing his last time out, tossing 1 2/3 shutout innings and striking out three. Sean O'Sullivan, a possible option for the fifth starter as well, had no luck this afternoon, getting tagged for six runs on four hits in his one inning on the mound.
Down 10-0 in the fifth, Freddy Galvis broke through for the Phillies with a two-run home run, his first of the spring, to make it 10-2. Cord Phelps knocked in Cesar Hernandez from second with an RBI-triple in the eighth, making it a 12-3 game. Darin Ruf followed with an RBI-groundout to score Phelps to cut the lead to eight.
Josh Harrison got the Pirates on the board in the first with a solo home run, his second of the spring. In the third, an error by Cody Asche at third allowed the Pirates to capitalize as they score three unearned runs against Zach Eflin. Gregory Polanco drove in their second run with an RBI-single while Starling Marte blasted a two-run homer to left to make it a 4-0 game. Pittsburgh teed off on Kevin Slowey, tagging him for eight runs in 2 1/3 innings. Leading 10-2 in the fifth, the Pirates tacked on two more thanks to a two-run homer off the bat of Pedro Florimon, making it a 12-2 game. The Pirates added insult to injury in the eighth, scoring six runs off of Sean O'Sullivan to take this game by a convincing score of 18-4.
Cody Asche returned to the lineup for the first time since experiencing some back stiffness that has kept him out since Wednesday. He went 1-for-2, but committed a costly error in the third that led to three Pirates runs. On the day, he had two fielding errors at the hot corner, so not a great tune up defensively for the Phillies starting third baseman. Fellow infielder Freddy Galvis had himself a nice day offensively, going 2-for-3 with a home run, a run scored and two RBI's. Ryan Howard went 0-for-2 at the plate, lowering his spring average to .183. Cord Phelps and Rene Garcia both had two hits on the day.
The Pirates were led by Pedro Alvarez, who went 2-for-4 with six RBI's and three runs scored. Top prospect Gregory Polanco went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI's. Josh Harrison went 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored and an RBI for the Pirates. Their projected closer, Mark Melancon, tossed a scoreless inning, striking out two.
Up Next: Tomorrow at 1:05pm, the Phillies head to Dunedin for another matchup with the Blue Jays. Probable fifth starter Sean O'Sullivan will get the start looking to rebound from a rough inning today while the Jays will counter with the Phillies