Bottalico: Phillies proving they are fighters
The Phillies' bats bailed out Cliff Lee on Saturday in a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Diamondbacks.
Lee had allowed five runs in six frames, but the Phils scored two runs in the seventh and four in the eighth to mount the comeback. Carlos Ruiz had three hits, and Cody Asche -- who wasn't in the original lineup with Freddy Galvis starting at third -- delivered a game-tying, two-run, pinch-hit double.
Sunday, the Phillies (12-12) can wrap up their road trip with a series win over Arizona (8-19) and return home with a 6-4 record on the West Coast.
A.J. Burnett (0-1, 2.73) opposes Brandon McCarthy (0-4, 6.23) at 4:10 p.m. on CSN.
Here are five things you need to know:
1. Making a case
Think Asche had any extra incentive when he stepped to the plate to pinch hit for Jeff Manship in the eighth inning last night? Of course he did.
Galvis, who started four of the last six games at third base (and came up hitless in all of them), had just struck out with the bases loaded with the Phillies down, 5-3, for the first out of the eight. Up stepped Asche, who prompty roped a double down the first-base line to tie the score.
Although the hit raised Asche's average to a modest .214, it was his third in as many games. Galvis, after his 0-for-5 night, is now hitless in his last 23 at-bats and 1 for 30 (.033) on the season overall.
With Galvis struggling as much as he is, it's hard to justify starting him over Asche -- or anyone else -- at this point. Remember, Asche got off to a slow start last season, going 1 for his first 17, and batted .255 the rest of the way.
2. Scouting McCarthy
From 2011-12, Brandon McCarthy went 17-15 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with the Oakland A's in 43 starts. After two productive seasons, the he signed a two-year, $15.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks, but he's thus far been unable to pitch up to expectations.
Last year, the oft-injured McCarthy went 5-11 with a 4.53 ERA in 22 starts. He's off to a terrible start in 2014, with a 6.23 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in five games. He's yet to toss a quality start.
Perhaps the second-best start of McCarthy's last two seasons came last May against the Phillies, when he tossed eight shutout innings at Chase Field, striking out five and walking none. Freddy Galvis had three of the Phils' seven hits off McCarthy in a game the Phillies eventually won, 4-2, in extra innings.
The 6-foot-7 righty is a groundball pitcher with a sinker, cutter and curveball in his repertoire. His ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio sits at 2.57 this season, but he's still managed to allow a league-high seven homers.
3. Hernia, schmernia
A.J. Burnett called his hernia a blessing in disguise, and it's hard to argue that theory based on his last two starts.
Burnett, who's yet to register a win this season, said the hernia forces him to keep a shorter stride, which helps him better control his pitches.
And he's had much better control in his last two starts, in which he's struck out 10 and walked just three in 13 2/3 innings and allowed two runs. The two starts before that, Burnett walked a dozen batters in only 10 frames.
Burnett is 2-2 with a 7.17 ERA in four career starts at Chase Field and 3-3 with a 4.93 ERA vs. Arizona overall. Collectively, the D'Backs are hitting .314 against him.
4. Nice back end
No, the Phillies' bullpen as a whole is not good. But the back end of the 'pen is beginning to look like it is.
Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon have been getting the job done recently, just like Ruben Amaro envisioned they would when he signed the pair to lucrative deals.
Adams, who made his season debut on this trip, has allowed just one run (and homer) and struck out three over his 4.1 innings of work. More importantly, he's looked good doing it and has been efficient with his pitches (40 total).
Papelbon, who blew a save in the third game of the season, has since made nine consecutive scoreless appearances and allowed just four hits and two walks over nine innings while picking up seven saves. His fastball has life to it and has reached 93 mph regularly. Things are looking up.
5. This and that
• The Phillies haven't lost a series to Arizona since April 2011. Last night's win guaranteed they wouldn't be swept at Chase Field for the first time since the opening series of the 2000 season.
• Carlos Ruiz, who went 3 for 4 last night, has raised his average from .204 to .296 over the past week. He's 11 for 22 in the last six games with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs and five walks. Unfortunately, he'll probably get the afternoon off Sunday.
• Diamondbacks vs. Burnett: Aaron Hill (7 for 22, HR), Cliff Pennington (2 for 12), Miguel Montero (3 for 3).
• Phillies vs. McCarthy: Ben Revere (3 for 12), Marlon Byrd (0 for 4), Freddy Galvis (3 for 3).
• Of the Phillies' next 29 games after Sunday, 22 will come at home. The Phillies have two more 10-game road trips this year -- from July 1-10 (in Miami, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee) and from September 15-25 (in San Diego, Oakland and Miami).
• The Phillies haven't been over .500 since they were 3-2 on April 5.