Phillies' bats back De Los Santos' winning debut

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 7, New York Mets 3  ❖  Attendance: 22,416

QUEENS, NY — Tonight's Philadelphia Phillies (51-39) and New York Mets (36-53) match-up was notable for an unusual occurrence: both starting pitchers were making their Major League debuts. Although this last happened only four seasons ago, it is extremely rare. In this particular rookie battle, the Phils came out on top. Instead of starting the Triple-A All-Star Game, Enyel De Los Santos was fantastic for the Phillies in his debut tonight. Over six and 1/3 innings, the righty allowed three runs on five hits. De Los Santos walked three and struck out six. The bullpen was solid in relief, combining for two and 2/3 innings in which no runs and two hits were allowed.

The Phillies hitters took advantage of the Mets' visibly nervous rookie starter. For the thirteenth time in his career, Maikel Franco knocked in four or more runs. He is also batting .409 this month, which is a good sign for the offensively inconsistent third baseman. With his fifth inning homer, Odubel Herrera now has a new career high with 16. Carlos Santana has an impressive 74 walks on the season, as he added two to his total tonight. As an interesting side note, Jorge Alfaro became the first Phillie this season to get hit by a pitch twice in one game.

WP: Enyel De Los Santos (1-0, 4.26 ERA)  ❖  LP: Drew Gagnon (0-1, 11.57 ERA)

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Eflin continues to dominate as Phillies win third straight

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 3, Baltimore Orioles 2  ❖  Attendance: 28,204

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — With tonight's win over the Baltimore Orioles (24-60), the Philadelphia Phillies (46-37) will, at worst, split the short two-game series. The Phillies increased their already impressive home record to 29-16 and are a season-high nine games over the .500 mark. Phils starter Zach Eflin was excellent once again. Over seven innings, he allowed two runs on five hits. Eflin struck out six batters and didn't walk any. Tommy Hunter was surprisingly solid in 2/3 innings of relief. While Seranthony Dominguez struggled to get the last out of the eighth inning after Hunter's exit, he made adjustments and was fantastic in the ninth. Dominguez now has eight saves on the season.

On the offensive front, the Phils benefited from a few clutch hits. Rhys Hoskins' two-run double in the third inning brought him up to 25 RBI in his last 22 games. In addition, Andrew Knapp extended his hitting streak to six games with his RBI triple in the fourth inning. Coming into tonight's game, the Phillies were second in all of baseball with 321 walks, behind only the Cincinnati Reds. They added four more to their season total. Working deep counts and drawing walks has been one of the consistent positives of the Phillies' offense this season, and it's good to see them continuing on the right path.

After the game, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler revealed to the media why Eflin was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the seventh, despite only having 82 pitches. Eflin had a blister on one of his fingers, and although it didn't seem serious, they didn't want to risk making it worse. In his own conversation with the media, Eflin clarified that the blister is on his middle finger. He noted that while he frequently got blisters from pitching in the past, this was the first time it happened this season. Eflin wanted to continue pitching in the game, as the blister was only occasionally uncomfortable when he threw his slider. Although it doesn't seem that this is a big concern moving forward, it's something to keep an eye on.

WP: Zach Eflin (7-2, 2.97 ERA)  ❖  LP: Alex Cobb (2-10, 6.63 ERA)  ❖  SV: Seranthony Dominguez (8)

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Nola earns 10th win as Phillies defeat Nationals

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 4, Washington Nationals 3  ❖  Attendance: 25,026

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — It got a little too close for comfort in the ninth inning, but the Philadelphia Phillies (43-36) pulled out a win over the Washington Nationals (41-38). Phils starter Aaron Nola was magnificent yet again. Over seven and 2/3 innings, the righty allowed one run on five hits while striking out eight. This marked the first time that Nola has pitched seven or more innings since May. In addition, he reached a new career high in pitches with 114. Nola is now the third pitcher in the National League to reach ten wins for the season.

While there were plenty of opportunities to do more damage, the Phillies managed to score enough runs to win the game. Rhys Hoskins had another big night at the plate with three hits. He was only a triple shy of the cycle. Maikel Franco and Jorge Alfaro picked up two hits apiece. Nick Williams ended his 0-9 stretch with a single in the third inning.

WP: Aaron Nola (10-2, 2.48 ERA)  ❖  LP: Tanner Roark (3-9, 4.10 ERA)  ❖  SV: Seranthony Dominguez (6)

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Phillies shut out by Yankees in third straight loss

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: New York Yankees 6, Philadelphia Phillies 0  ❖  Attendance: 43,568

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — To say that tonight's game against the New York Yankees (52-25) was an uphill battle from the start for the Philadelphia Phillies (41-36) would be an understatement. Three pitches into the game, the Yankees took the lead and never looked back. Phils starter Jake Arrieta struggled with his command. Over five innings, the righty allowed six runs, with only three of those being earned, on nine hits. Coming into tonight's game, Arrieta already led the league in unearned runs with 11. After this outing, he now leads all of Major League Baseball with 14 unearned runs. The bullpen was solid after Arrieta's exit. Zac Curtis, Victor Arano and Hector Neris combined for four scoreless innings.

The Phillies offense was yet again anemic against a stellar Luis Severino. Only four Phillies recorded hits in the game and only one of the six total hits was for extra bases. However, two Phillies did extend hitting streaks. With a double in the third inning, Maikel Franco extended his hitting streak to four straight games. Scott Kingery's fifth inning single extended his streak to seven games. Outside of those small positives, there was little to enjoy about the performance of the Phils' bats.

WP: Luis Severino (12-2, 2.10 ERA)  ❖  LP: Jake Arrieta (5-6, 3.54 ERA)

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Phillies bullpen struggles in loss to Cardinals

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: St. Louis Cardinals 7, Philadelphia Phillies 6  ❖  Attendance: 21,122

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A win tonight over the St. Louis Cardinals (38-33) would have guaranteed a series victory for the Philadelphia Phillies (38-33). Unfortunately, after quite a bit of back and forth scoring, the Phillies ultimately came out on the losing side. Starter Vince Velasquez was solid, though his line for the game doesn't look that impressive. Over six and 1/3 innings, he allowed four runs on four hits while walking three and striking out eight. However, two of those runs were allowed to score by the bullpen. As a whole, the bullpen was disappointing yet again. Three relievers pitched a combined two and 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits. The Phillies bullpen has allowed at least three runs in four of the last five games, which is simply unacceptable.

There were some bright spots on the offensive front. With his home-run tonight, Odubel Herrera has now homered in four of his last five games. Rhys Hoskins continued to swing a hot bat, getting two more hits and a pair of RBI. Since fracturing his jaw, Hoskins is 14-40 with four doubles, four home-runs, and 14 RBI. Because the Phils added a game to the loss column, the shortcomings of the offense cannot be ignored. The lineup was 1-8 with runners in scoring position and nine runners were left on base. Both of those numbers need to improve as the season progresses.

J.P. Crawford was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fourth and left the game in the fifth inning. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told the media after the game that Crawford had fractured his left hand and would be out for four to six weeks. There hasn't been an announcement about his replacement on the roster yet, but that should happen soon.

WP: Jordan Hicks (3-1, 2.13 ERA)  ❖  LP: Seranthony Dominguez (1-1, 1.61 ERA)

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Velasquez's no-hit bid, hot bats earn Phillies series win

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 9, Colorado Rockies 3  ❖  Attendance: 22,500

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Philadelphia Phillies (35-31) came into today's game aiming for a win over the Colorado Rockies (33-35) to give them their first series win of the month. They were able to do just that. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez was masterful. He didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning. Over six and 2/3 innings, Velasquez allowed two runs on one hit and walked two batters. He struck out six. Today's game marked the second time this season that a Phillies starter has taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning, with the other being Aaron Nola on May 26.

The Phillies' bats woke up today. In the almost 37 minute long bottom of the seventh inning alone, the Phillies scored four runs on five hits and walked twice. Rhys Hoskins had an especially good game. He finished a triple short of the cycle and scored two runs. For the tenth time in his young career, Hoskins had three or more RBI in the game. Nick Williams also homered and knocked in a pair of runs. Odubel Herrera and Carlos Santana each picked up a pair of singles and a RBI. As a team, the Phillies were 6-11 with runners in scoring position, which is huge. They need to build on this momentum and work on making this kind of offensive production less unusual.

WP: Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.74 ERA)  ❖  LP: German Márquez (4-7, 5.13 ERA)

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Phillies suffer painful loss on walk-off grand slam

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Chicago Cubs 7, Philadelphia Phillies 5  ❖  Attendance: 40,275

CHICAGO, Il. — Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, it looked like the Philadelphia Phillies (32-27) would be able to secure a series win against the Chicago Cubs (34-24). They just needed three outs from the bullpen. Unfortunately for the Phils, the Cubs took advantage of struggling relievers Seranthony Dominguez and Adam Morgan and came out on top. Phillies starter Aaron Nola didn't have the best command tonight. Over six innings, he allowed three runs on four hits and walked an uncharacteristic four batters. This was only the third time in 13 starts this season that Nola allowed three or more runs in an outing. Tommy Hunter threw a scoreless inning of relief, and Dominguez did well in his first inning of relief. However, he lacked control in the ninth inning. That same problem plagued Morgan, who allowed the grand slam that decided the game.

The Phillies offense had their hands full through the first half of the game with Cubs starter Jose Quintana. He struck out ten batters and only allowed three hits. The Phils celebrated his exit after five and 2/3 innings in a big way: Aaron Altherr homered on the first pitch he saw from reliever Steve Cishek. At the time, the home-run tied the game and was huge for the Phillies. Outfielder Dylan Cozens didn't start the game, but came in to replace Nick Williams after the latter left the game as the result of a wrist injury he sustained in the second inning. Cozens' bat helped the Phils take the lead in the top of the ninth. He hit his first Major League home-run.

If it weren't for the bullpen implosion in the bottom of the ninth, those two big hits would have been enough to hand the Phils the 'W'. Because the Phillies added another loss to their record instead, the overall lack of offense and 16 strikeouts need to be scrutinized. It doesn't matter how well the pitchers are doing if the hitters can't support them. The Phillies need consistent offensive production if they truly want to contend this season.

WP: Cory Mazzoni (1-0, 0.00 ERA)  ❖  LP: Adam Morgan (0-2, 3.45 ERA)

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Nola excellent as Phillies split series with Dodgers

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 2, Los Angeles Dodgers 1  ❖  Attendance: 40,986

LOS ANGELES, Ca. — The Philadelphia Phillies (31-23) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (26-30) ended their four game series with a battle of aces and the Phillies came out on top. Starter Aaron Nola was fantastic, despite relying more heavily on his secondary pitches than normal in the first few innings of the game. Over seven innings, Nola allowed one run on two hits and struck out seven batters. In his six starts in the month of May, the righty had a 4-1 record with a 1.80 ERA. In 40.0 innings pitched, Nola only allowed eight runs and eight walks, while striking out 46 batters. Seranthony Dominguez, who relieved Nola, pitched the final two innings of the game and continued to impress. So far in his Major League career, Dominguez has faced 43 batters and only three have reached base. He has yet to walk a batter.

The Phillies offense didn't do a lot of damage, but some timely hitting helped earn the win. Jorge Alfaro had two hits and knocked in both runs. In his last 26 games, the catcher has a .322 average with ten extra-base hits and ten RBI. He has really started to flourish in his role as an everyday player. Nick Williams picked up two more hits tonight. He will continue to get a good look while left fielder Rhys Hoskins is on the disabled list. If Williams continues to contribute offensively on a consistent basis, there's no reason why the Phillies shouldn't give him more consistent playing time.

WP: Aaron Nola (7-2, 2.18 ERA)  ❖  LP: Josh Fields (2-2, 2.36 ERA)  ❖  SV: Seranthony Dominguez (2)

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Eflin struggles as Phillies fall to Dodgers

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Los Angeles Dodgers 8, Philadelphia Phillies 2  ❖  Attendance: 43,302

LOS ANGELES, Ca. — The Philadelphia Phillies (30-23) didn't pitch or hit well against the Los Angeles Dodgers (26-29) in tonight's game. Starter Zach Eflin labored through four innings. The righty allowed five runs on seven hits, including two home-runs. While he may have struck out five batters and only walked one, it was clear that Eflin was having difficulty with his command. Relievers Victor Arano and Drew Hutchison threw two innings apiece and each allowed at least one run and at least two hits. This was Hutchison's first appearance in almost two weeks, which could explain some of his difficulties. However, this does not excuse them.

The offense, or the lack thereof, is a big reason why the Phillies lost the game. The team combined for 13 strikeouts in the game, including four by Mitch Walding in his rather disappointing Major League debut. Walding is the first player to go 0-4 with four strikeouts in his debut in franchise history and only the eleventh player in MLB history to do so. On a positive note, Carlos Santana and Nick Williams both continued to be bright spots for the struggling offense. Santana collected two hits and his hot month of May has boosted his average up to .221, which is a significant improvement. Williams homered in his second straight game.

WP: Ross Stripling (3-1, 1.68 ERA)  ❖  LP: Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.50 ERA)

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Defensive blunders lead to Phillies loss

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Atlanta Braves 3, Philadelphia Phillies 1  ❖  Attendance: 18,545

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A win tonight over the Atlanta Braves (29-18) could have put the Philadelphia Phillies (27-19) in first place in the National League East. However, that was not meant to be. Phils starter Vince Velasquez battled through four and a third innings, including a rough fourth inning that saw him load the bases with no outs before striking out three consecutive batters to get out of it. The righty allowed two runs, only one earned, along with six hits and three walks. He also struck out nine batters. According to Phillies reporter Jim Salisbury, this is Velasquez's fourth loss to the Braves this season. However, Velasquez wasn't to blame for the loss. Errors on back-to-back plays by right fielder Nick Williams and first baseman Carlos Santana led to a run scoring in the fifth inning for the Braves. Also, a passed ball by catcher Jorge Alfaro led to another run scoring in the ninth. Santana now has errors in four straight games for the first time in his career, which is alarming.

There weren't many positives on the offensive front, as the bats were quiet when it counted. With his fifth inning single, Cesar Hernandez extended his on-base streak to 26 consecutive games. It's currently the longest streak in the National League and tied for the longest streak in baseball with J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox. Santana ended his 0-8 streak with a single in the bottom of the sixth inning. He needs to contribute on a more consistent basis.

WP: Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 4.67 ERA)  ❖  LP: Vince Velasquez (4-5, 4.18 ERA)  ❖  SV: Arodys Vizcaíno (9)

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