Clay Buchholz's arm and trade value injured in Phillies' latest 'embarrassing' loss to Mets

Clay Buchholz's arm and trade value injured in Phillies' latest 'embarrassing' loss to Mets

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As it turned out, there was no need for the New York Mets to retaliate for a Phillies pitcher throwing at one of their hitters.

The merciless whooping that the Mets laid upon the Phillies on Tuesday night was retribution enough.

In a game that at times had the look of men against boys, the Mets pounded four Phillies pitchers for 20 hits, including 14 for extra bases -- seven doubles and seven homers -- in a 14-4 drubbing (see Instant Replay).

Yoenis Cespedes hit three of the Mets' homers. Lucas Duda hit two, including one that traveled 448 feet -- over the batter's eye in dead center. Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis d'Arnaud also went deep.

The Mets have hit 46 homers in their last 21 games in Philadelphia. They have won 28 of 40 games against the Phillies since the start of the 2015 season and when this one was over, manager Pete Mackanin was succinct.

"Another embarrassing game against the Mets," he said. "We just made too many bad pitches and they didn't miss them. That's all there is to it.

"The whole game, we just made a lot of bad pitches. Hanging sliders all over the place. They didn't miss them."

Starter Clay Buchholz made some of those bad pitches -- he gave up six runs -- then headed for the trainer's room after 2 1/3 innings with what Mackanin called a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow.

Buchholz will have tests -- an MRI, etc. -- on the injury Wednesday and will end up on the disabled list. He had a similar injury right before the All-Star break in 2015 and missed the remainder of that season.

Buchholz sounded like someone who expected to miss significant time.

"That's the worst thing ever, having to call your manager or trainer out in the middle of an inning," he said. "I tried to get through it. I wasn't doing the team any favors throwing what I was throwing at that point in time so I made the move.

"Nobody in a big-league clubhouse wants to be hurt. You're here for a reason. You're here to play baseball. You're here to win. Whenever you're not able to do that, it's frustrating, especially being a guy that's been hurt multiple times. I've been on the DL for an extended period of time, multiple times. It's nothing that you want to happen. For me, I've got to find out obviously what it is and then get it taken care of."

Buchholz was asked if he felt a pop or anything like that as he pitched in the third inning.

"Nope," he said. "It just hurt."

The injury comes after Buchholz made just two starts, totaling just 7 1/3 innings, with his new club. The Phillies traded for him in December. It was a pure salary dump by the Boston Red Sox, who had grown tired of his inconsistency and fragility and were looking to clear his $13.5 million salary. The Phillies took on that salary because they were looking for a veteran arm to help buy some development time for their young pitching prospects at Triple A. They also saw it as a potential opportunity to turn Buchholz into a summertime trade chip. For that to happen, Buchholz needed to stay healthy and be effective. So much for the best-laid plans of the Phillies front office.

The Phillies have several starters on their 40-man roster at Triple A and one of them will take Buchholz's spot against these same Mets on Tuesday night in New York. Among the group is Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, Ben Lively and Nick Pivetta.

The Phils made one roster move after Tuesday night's beating. They sent reliever Adam Morgan to Triple A after he was pounded for seven hits, including four homers, in 3 2/3 innings. The Phils will announce the addition of a fresh arm before Wednesday's series finale.

Morgan, who made the switch from starter to long reliever in spring training, was called upon with no notice when Buchholz got hurt. He had to face a loaded lineup that was still a little fired up after Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos threw at Cabrera's head on Monday night. Before the game, some wondered if the Mets and their starter, Matt Harvey, would retaliate. There was no need to. They let their bats do the responding and Morgan felt much of it.

"If you’re going to be in this league you’ve got to be up for that challenge," Morgan said. "You’ve got to be ready for it. Today was just unacceptable. I made a lot of mistakes over the plate, which I shouldn’t have. But the role is the role. You’ve got to be ready for the role."

Phillies-Rockies 5 things: Phils turn to Zach Eflin to stop the bleeding

Phillies-Rockies 5 things: Phils turn to Zach Eflin to stop the bleeding

Phillies (15-27) vs. Rockies (29-17)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

The Phillies were supposed to take a step forward in 2017. Pete Mackanin went out on a limb when he said before the season that he thought they could be close to a .500 team, and so far they've fallen well short of that expectation.

At 15-27, the Phillies are on pace to go 58-104, an even worse record than 2015, the year of Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, etc.

They hope to stop the profuse bleeding tonight against the Rockies, who can't lose on the road lately.

1. Franco and Saunders sit
Looking for some more offense, or just a different approach, Mackanin is sitting Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders tonight in favor of Andres Blanco and Ty Kelly (see lineup).

Franco has actually been hitting a bit more in May, picking up a hit in nine straight games before going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts Monday. Still, he's hitting just .221 with a .281 on-base percentage, and his .657 OPS is 27 percent below the league average.

Saunders just hasn't done much with the Phillies. He's hitting .227/.273/.383 with four homers and 15 RBIs, and he's struck out 35 times in 150 plate appearances. Two of those four homers came in games that were already decided.

It's a rare start for Blanco, just his fifth of the season. Coming mostly off the bench the last four seasons, he's been a consistent hitter for the Phillies, batting .270/.333/.449 with 43 doubles, four triples and 13 home runs in 559 plate appearances, essentially a full season's worth.

2. Eflin's turn
Mackanin's hope is that with Aaron Nola back from the DL, Jeremy Hellickson appearing to turn a corner and Zach Eflin giving the Phils some consistent innings, the starting rotation can get into a groove, thus helping out the bullpen and giving the Phillies a chance to win more close games the way they did in 2016.

Jerad Eickhoff was just OK last night, allowing four runs in six innings as he dropped to 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA. A quality start tonight from Eflin against a strong Rockies lineup would go a long way because the Phillies really need more than half of their rotation to be clicking right now.

Eflin was rocked his last start in Texas, allowing seven runs on 11 hits and two walks over four innings. It caused his ERA to rise from 2.81 to 4.25 and his WHIP from 1.00 to 1.25.

As is usually the case when Eflin doesn't pitch well, he just wasn't getting his sinker low enough in the zone. He had induced 40 groundballs over his previous three starts before picking up just eight against the Rangers. 

An interesting note on Eflin is that he's struck out just five of the 70 right-handed hitters he's faced compared to 13 of the 85 lefties he's seen. Righties have hit .323 off him with a .798 OPS compared to .250 with a .715 OPS from lefties.

Current Rockies are 3 for 16 off Eflin with just one extra-base hit. He faced Colorado last season at Coors Field and gave up just two runs over six innings.

3. An unlikely start
Unlike most seasons, the Rockies are pitching well and winning on the road. Colorado has gotten off to hot starts almost every year the last five, but it's usually fueled by an unsustainably hot offense. 

Hasn't been the case in 2017. The Rockies are middle of the pack with a 4.29 ERA, a half-run lower than the Phillies. And away from Coors Field, they have a 3.45 ERA, the second-lowest road ERA for any team behind the Diamondbacks.

The run has been credited to a young starting staff that has been missing projected No. 1 Jon Gray. We saw former first-round pick Jeff Hoffman dominate the Phillies last night (seven innings, three hits, one run, seven strikeouts) and tonight the Phils face 22-year-old German Marquez (2-2, 4.34).

One of the biggest difference-makers for the Rockies in 2017 has been closer Greg Holland, who signed a prove-it deal with Colorado coming off a major injury. He has 19 saves and a 0.96 ERA in 20 appearances and has earned himself a whole of money this winter.

4. The book on Marquez 
The Rockies acquired Marquez along with left-handed reliever Jake McGee in the January 2016 trade that sent Corey Dickerson to the Rays, where he's thrived.

Marquez made just a handful of appearances in the majors last season but has been solid for the Rockies in five starts so far this year. 

He throws pretty much all four-seam fastballs (65 percent) and curveballs (24 percent), with his heater averaging 95.1 mph. He'll also mix in a few changeups to lefties and cutters.

In two starts away from Coors Field, Marquez has allowed just one run in 11 innings with 11 strikeouts. He's kept the ball in the park in four of five starts.

5. This and that
• Good to see Aaron Altherr pick up two doubles last night. He was 6 for his previous 33.

• Tommy Joseph in May: .345/.418/.707, six doubles, five homers, 13 RBIs. 

• Since beginning the season on an eight-game hitting streak, Odubel Herrera has hit .207 with a .246 OBP, six walks and 35 strikeouts.

• Daniel Nava was placed on the 10-day DL with a hamstring strain suffered Friday in Pittsburgh. LHP Adam Morgan was recalled again from Triple A to take his place on the active roster.

Tonight's lineup: Sputtering Phillies sit Maikel Franco, Michael Saunders vs. Rockies

Tonight's lineup: Sputtering Phillies sit Maikel Franco, Michael Saunders vs. Rockies

Losers of 18 of their last 22 games, the Phillies are desperate for a spark. 

And Pete Mackanin is hoping the bench can revive the Phils' sputtering offense tonight vs. the Rockies.

Maikel Franco, Michael Saunders and Cameron Rupp will all sit vs. Rockies righty German Marquez (2-2, 4.34).

In come Andres Blanco at third, Ty Kelly in left field and Andrew Knapp behind home plate.

Saunders' day off comes a night after he was dropped to eighth in the lineup, where he went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. 

Franco continued to struggle in Tuesday's loss, going hitless with two strikeouts. The embattled third baseman is now hitting just .221 on the year and continues to struggle with his plate discipline. 

Rupp, who is hitting .118 over the last week, has more strikeouts (5) than hits (2) in that span. He will be replaced by Knapp, who is off to a solid start to his MLB career. The backup is crushing right-handed pitching with a .847 OPS and 10 of his 11 hits on the year coming vs. righties.

Tuesday will be just Kelly's second start as a Phillie.

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Andres Blanco, 3B
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Ty Kelly, LF
8. Andrew Knapp, C
9. Zach Eflin, P