Hard Times

A tough stretch in which the Phillies are playing 19 games out of 23 against teams with winning records mercifully ends tonight vs. Toronto.  When that stretch started, the Phillies were 25-19. The date was May 23. Don’t look now, but they’ve gone 5-17 in their last 22 games. Hard times.

Pitching had kept the Phillies in games and was key in producing a winning record. Of the 17 losses, 13 have been by the starters.  Jeanmar Gomez has relieved just six times in 22 games, three saves and a blown save/loss.  Hector Neris, who had been lights out in the eighth-inning role, has fallen on hard times. He’s allowed eight earned runs in his last 6.1 innings after allowing only four in his first 28 innings. Hard times.

Finger pointing the pitching isn’t totally fair. The offense, which has struggled since day one, has scored three runs or less in 13 of the 22 games. Hard times.

During the tough stretch, the Phillies split four games with the Brewers.  The next seven games are against Arizona (4) and Minnesota (3). Better times.

The loss dropped the Phillies six games under .500, 30-36. On the bright side, the 2015 Phillies didn’t win their 30th game until July 17.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (36-29), 3rd place, International League North Division.
Won 4th in last 5 games, 7-5, over Gwinnett. WP: Luis Garcia (4-1). SV: Edward Mujica (15). SS J.P. Crawford, 1B, 2 2B, 2 R, BB, SB. 1B Brock Stassi, 2 1B, 13th 2B, RBI. RF David Lough, 2 H, 2 RBI . . . Jake Thompson (5-5), 7:05 tonight vs. Gwinnett.

Reading Fightin’ Phils (47-19), 1st place, Eastern League Eastern Division.

00 Valentin
2B Jesmuel Valentin (photo) hit a solo HR (#3) in the 10th inning to lift Reading to its 9th straight win, 5-4 in Hartford. WP: Miguel Nunez (3-1), blown SV (2). SV: Hoby Milner (2). Valentine also had a 1B, 2 R, BB. RF Dylan Cozens, 2 H, RBI. PH Harold Martinez HR (4) . . . Mark Leiter (2-0), 1:05 this afternoon in Hartford.

Clearwater Threshers (37-27), 2nd place, Florida State League North Division.
Scored 4 runs in the last of the 9th but fell, 9-7, to Bradenton. CF Carlos Tocci, 3 H, R, BB. 1B Zach Green, 3 H, including HR (7), 3 RBI, 2 R. LF Andrew Pullin, 2 H, including HR (4), RBI . . . John Richy (1-1), 7 tonight vs. Dunedin.

Lakewood BlueClaws (26-39), 6th place, South Atlantic League North Division.
Had 5-game winning streak at home stopped, 6-5, by Hagerstown.  2B Grenny Cumana, 1B, HR (1), 3 R, RBI, BB. 1B Damek Tomscha, 2 H, 2 RBI. CF Jiandido Tromp, 2 H, R, BB . . . Drew Anderson (1-1), 7:05 tonight vs. Kannapolis.

Williamsport Crosscutters, New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.
76-game season opens on Friday night, State College visiting Williamsport. Season ends September 5. Home games played in Bowman Field, which opened in 1923.

This Date
June 16, 1998–PH Mike Lieberthal hits a 3-run, game-winning home run to cap a 7-run ninth inning that gives the Phillies an electrifying 8-7 win over the Pirates at Veterans Stadium.

Book Signings
The Fightin’ Phillies is the title of my new book published by Triumph Books.  Larry Andersen wrote a hilarious foreword. I’ll be signing:

**This evening, Myerstown (PA) Community Library, 199 N. College Street, 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
**This Saturday, June 18, Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.

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