Rare Neris Outing
The formula—strong starting pitching, clutch hitting, solid fielding and airtight bullpen—had been prominent in games won by the Phillies until last night. Hector Neris, the eighth-inning arm who leads NL relievers in strikeouts (38) and holds (12), had command problems (16 balls, 13 strikes). He had given up only three walks and three runs in May until the eighth inning when three walks and two hits produced three runs and a Washington 4-2 lead.
Back-to-back doubles by Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard to start the ninth made it 4-3. Strikeout, strikeout, pop-up left the Phillies with a 0-7 record on Mondays. Cubs in town for next Monday game. Oh brother.
Jeremy Hellickson was masterful and gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. He departed up 2-1. Hellickson has a 2.00 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his last four starts.
His squeeze bunt drove in the first run in the second inning and Freddy Galvis’ sixth-inning home run accounted for the second.
When leading after seven innings, the Phillies are now 19-4 . . . Jonathan Papelbon’s save was his first against the Phillies. He had three blown saves against his former team . . . Bryce Harper’s streak of homering in six straight games at Citizens Bank Park ended. Only other player to homer in six consecutive games in Philadelphia was Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. He did it at Shibe Park . . . Only the Rockies (22) in the NL have played fewer home games than the Phillies (23). 15 of next 21 games are at Citizens Bank Park.
Minor League Report
Players of the Week (May 23-29)
2B Scott Kingery, Clearwater. The 22-year-old batted .355 (11-31) with five doubles, a triple, a home run, four RBI, two walks and a 1.077 OPS in seven games. Leads Florida State League in doubles (19) and tied for the lead in extra-base hits (24). Kingery was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the June 2015 draft out of the University of Arizona.
RHP Harold Arauz, Lakewood… The 21-year-old made one start for the BlueClaws, tossing a career-high 8.0 scoreless innings, yielding only four hits and striking out five on May 26. He has now allowed zero earned runs in three consecutive starts (21.0 IP). Opponents are hitting just .197 against him. The Panama native was acquired from Houston along with four others in exchange for Ken Giles and Jonathan Arauz on December 12, 2015, and was originally signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent on July 12, 2011.
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (26-24), 4th place, International League North Division.
Won, 6-4, over Norfolk behind David Buchanan (3-3), 7-6-4-4-2-2 and 12th SV for Edward Mujica (7 pitches). LF Cody Asche (3) and CF Nick Williams (5) hit back-to-back home runs in a 5-run 4th. C Logan Moore had career-high, 4-4. Williams has a 9-game hitting streak. Asche has played 13 rehab games between A-AA-AAA and is hitting .160. Has 5 hits in last 6 games, 3 HR . . . Jake Thompson (3-4), 7:05 tonight vs. Norfolk.
Reading Fightin’ Phils (33-18), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.
Suffered their 1st 3-game losing streak, 9-1, at New Hampshire. LP: Anthony Vasquez (6-3), 5.1-10-7-7-2-4. 2B Jesmuel Valentin had 2 of Reading’s 7 hits . . . John Richy (1-1), 6:00 tonight in Portland.
Clearwater Threshers (30-20), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Were not scheduled. Shane Watson (0-1), 7:00 tonight vs. Tampa.
Lakewood BlueClaws (20-30), 6th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Won 4th in last 6 games, 6-1, in West Virginia. WP: Tyler Gilbert (2-5), 6-6-1-1-1-4. Offense led by 3 home runs: 2B Josh Tobias (5), 3B Jan Hernandez (6), CF Jiandido Tromp (5) . . . Luke Leftwich (4-2), 7:05 tonight in West Virginia.
May 31, 2009–LHP Jamie Moyer wins his 250th game, 4-2, over Washington.
May 31, 2014–1B Ryan Howard collects his 1,000th RBI with a three-run homer in 7th inning, a 5-4, 14-inning loss to the Mets. All three weekend games go extra innings, 14-14-11.
The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits is the title of my new book published by Triumph Books. Larry Andersen wrote a hilarious foreword. I’ll be signing:
**Thursday, June 16, Myerstown (PA) Community Library, 199 N. College Street, 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
**Saturday, June 18, Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
Follow me on twitter @ShenkLarry