You might need an extra cup of coffee to power through today thanks to the Phillies, whose game finally ended after 2 a.m. this morning. Seranthony Dominguez is human, a brilliant Jake Arrieta start was wasted and the Phillies lost to the Diamondbacks in 14 innings. It wasn't the way they hoped to begin a six-game road trip, but they still have a one-game lead over Atlanta. Keep the coffee flowing; there's another late one tonight.
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If there was a win the Phillies needed, it was Monday. They scored two runs in the seventh after finally getting to Zack Godley and entered the ninth just three Seranthony Dominguez outs from a sixth-straight win. But it wasn't meant to be.
And now the games in Arizona become a bit tougher. The Phillies will face Zack Greinke on Tuesday night and Patrick Corbin on Wednesday afternoon. If the Phils are to salvage their series in the desert, they'll have to do it against the Diamondbacks' two best pitchers.
Greinke enters the game with a 2.96 ERA in 23 starts as he's having his best season in three years. He has a 1.37 ERA in his last eight starts with 53 strikeouts and just six walks in his last 52 2/3 innings. He appears to be a much different pitcher than the one the Phillies battered on April 25 for five runs in six innings. Greinke looks like his old self and Tuesday should be a challenge.
Remember xFIP? Corbin has the second-best xFIP in the National League, which tells Gabe Kapler that Wednesday won't be any easier than Tuesday. The lefthander has spiked his strikeout numbers this season. He's averaging 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings thanks to a slider which he relies on for nearly 40 percent of his pitches and garners whiffs on 30 percent of its swings. Corbin, like Greinke, enters his start against the Phillies on a roll. He has a 2.98 ERA in his last eight starts. If the Phillies fall tonight, they could suddenly be staring at a sweep.
Seranthony Dominguez blew the save on Monday night and has now allowed five runs in his last seven outings after allowing just six runs in his first 29 appearances. Scott Lauber was on the scene in Arizona as Gabe Kapler said Dominguez is not pitching his best but "we are not waving in our confidence in him whatsoever."
ESPN released their updated MLB power rankings on Monday morning and left the Phillies out of the top 10. The Phillies, who were ranked No. 11, are "doing pretty good," Kapler said.
There was much concern about Asdrubal Cabrera's ability to play shortstop after the Phillies traded for him last month. But the Phillies need his bat in the lineup so they are riding with him at the position. Cabrera, who played exclusively at second base this season with the Mets, said he's getting used to playing shortstop again. "To look at this fairly, you have to say Asdrubal gives us our best chance to score runs, and that's why he's in our lineup tonight." Kapler said.
Tonight: Nick Pivetta faces Zack Greinke, 9:40 p.m.
Tomorrow: Vince Velasquez vs. Patrick Corbin, 3:40 p.m.
Thursday: The Phillies are off.
Friday: Phils open a three-game series in San Diego, 10:10 p.m.
The Clearwater Threshers proved Monday night that you don't need a hit to win. The Phillies' affiliate in the high-A Florida State League were no-hit by the Tampa Yankees yet still won 1-0. The Threshers are the first Florida State League team to win without a hit since 1992. The game was the second of a seven-inning doubleheader, so the top of the eighth was the first extra inning. Under the new minor-league rules, the Threshers were granted a runner on second to start the eighth. Luke Williams moved to third on an error and then scored on a fielder's choice. The Threshers finished 0 for 26 with 13 strikeouts and no walks. But they won.
Question: What is it with Odubel Herrera some at-bats? On no less than three occasions in the past few weeks I've watched him come to the plate and, without assuming his unusual (but apparently successful for him) stance, watch the first pitch get thrown right down the middle for a strike. It's amazed me each time. Is he assuming he won't get a hittable first pitch? Was he unaware the pitcher was ready to fire away? He hasn't even squared up the bat on these occasions.Has anyone else taken note of this and, if so, how can it possibly be explained? — Paul D., via email