In Vince Velasquez's second start of the season, the Phillies put 20 runs on the board in a win over the Miami Marlins. Six days later, with Velasquez back on the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Phillies scored 18 less runs, but were still able to pull out a win in one of Velasquez's finest starts to date.
Final: Phillies 2, Rays 1
WP: Edburay Ramos (1-0) ❖ LP: Alex Colome (0-2) ❖ S: Hector Neris (2)
Playing in an American League park, the Phillies added a designated hitter to their lineup Friday. For much of the game, it didn't help them to add their offensive output.
Cesar Hernandez did walk to leadoff the game, but he was among just two baserunners that the Phillies had in the first four innings. It took until the top of the fifth for the Phillies to break into the hits column against Jacob Faria, when Nick Williams lined a hard single into right field. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Williams wasn't on base long, as he was picked off of first base later in the inning.
Down 1-0, the Phillies were able to tie the game in the top of the sixth. J.P. Crawford started off the rally with a double off of the base of the right-center field wall. After Hernandez walked for the second time, the Rays turned to Jose Alvarado to attempt to keep the Phillies off the board. Alvarado wasn't able to do that, as Carlos Santana hit a fly ball into right field that Carlos Gomez misplayed, allowing Crawford to score the tying run.
What Alvarado was able to do in the sixth inning was limit the damage the Phillies did. While the Phillies did tie the game, Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams put together consecutive sloppy at-bats with the bases loaded, both of which culminated in strikeouts. While it appeared that Herrera checked his swing on his third strike, Williams certainly didn't and the Phillies left the bases loaded.
It took until the top of the ninth for any more offense, as Scott Kingery roped a double into the left-center field gap with one out. After Alex Colome was able to strike Aaron Altherr out, Jorge Alfaro hit a sharp grounder to the left side of the infield. Rays third baseman Matt Duffy attempted to make a diving stop on the ball, but it instead ricocheted off of his glove and past shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria into the outfield. This, which many missed due to technically difficulties experienced on the broadcast, allowed Kingery to score the winning run:
Alfaro gives the Phillies the lead in the top of the 9th. the Flyers win has given them life.— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) April 14, 2018
LET'S. GO. pic.twitter.com/u0hky6BStV
Jake Arrieta and Chris Archer will square off at Tropicana Field Saturday evening, in what may turn out to be a pitcher's duel between two of the more accomplished right-handed arms in the game. Friday evening, Vince Velasquez and Jacob Faria gave fans a pretty good appetizer for the main course.
Velasquez, who rebounded from a rough start to go six innings against the Marlins last Saturday, turned in one of his finest starts of his career Friday evening. The 25-year-old righty displayed an aggressiveness that has lacked for his first two years with the Phillies after he was given a cushion of more than 10 runs last Saturday. He carried that over to tonight's start, while also effectively mixing in his breaking pitches at a higher rate than he normally does.
In six-and-two-thirds innings, Velasquez walked just one, while striking out seven. Velasquez, the key piece acquired in the December 2015 Ken Giles trade with the Houston Astros, scattered just four hits on the night, while only using 93 pitches. He exited the game with a runner on third base, one that Luis Garcia was able to strand, closing his line on the night.
Velasquez has now turned in back-to-back starts where he's lasted six plus innings and allowed one run. The last time that Velasquez had consecutive starts where he pitched more than six innings and gave up one run or less was in April of 2016, his first two starts with the team.
For much of the night, Faria outdueled Velasquez, as the Phillies didn't break into the hits column until the fifth inning. However, Rays manager Kevin Cash had a relatively short leash on Faria, as he was pulled with one out in the top of the sixth inning with runners on first and second base. As explained above, the Phillies were able to tie the game against Jose Alvarado, though they left the bases loaded that inning.
- Cesar Hernandez: 0-2. two walks
- Scott Kingery: 1-4, double, two strikeouts, one run
- Jorge Alfaro: 2-4, two strikeouts, one RBI
- C.J. Cron: 2-4, one run
- Denard Span: 0-3. two strikeouts
- Carlos Gomez: 0-4
- Luis Garcia (seventh, eighth): 0.2 IP, zero hits, zero runs
- Adam Morgan (eighth): 0.1 IP, zero hits, one strikeout, one walk
- Edubray Ramos (eighth): 0.2 IP, zero hits
- Hector Neris (ninth): 1.0, 1 BB, SV
- Jose Alvarado (sixth): 0.2 IP, one hit, one walk, two strikeouts
- Chaz Roe (seventh): 1.0 IP, one hit, one strikeout
- Sergio Romo (eighth): 1.0 IP, zero hits
- Alex Colome (ninth): 1.0 IP, two hits, one run
- Saturday, April 14, 2018 vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 1:35 p.m.
- Tropicana Field
- RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Archer (1-0, 5.94 ERA)
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP