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."

Best of MLB: Manny Machado in center of bad blood as Red Sox beat Orioles

Best of MLB: Manny Machado in center of bad blood as Red Sox beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- A tempestuous three-game series between the Red Sox and Baltimore wound up with Matt Barnes being ejected for throwing a fastball behind the head of Orioles star Manny Machado in Boston's 6-2 victory Sunday.

Barnes' ejection was the latest facet of this tense rivalry between AL East rivals. His high, very inside pitch came two days after Machado took out Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia with a spikes-high slide.

Pedroia watched from the dugout for a second straight day Sunday with knee and ankle injuries. Machado apologized with a text message on Friday night, but that evidently wasn't the end of it.

When Machado batted in the sixth inning, Eduardo Rodriguez threw three pitches down and in near the knees. He came up again in the eighth and Barnes' pitch whizzed behind Machado and hit his bat. The ball hit Machado and rolled foul, and plate umpire Andy Fletcher tossed Barnes (see full recap).

Bour's 3-run homer lifts Marlins past Padres
SAN DIEGO -- Justin Bour hit a three-run homer to cap the six-run sixth inning and help the Miami Marlins to a 7-3 victory Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

The first six Marlins batters reached and scored in the sixth, helping Tom Koehler (1-1) to his first win of the season.

San Diego's Luis Perdomo came off the disabled list and shut down the Marlins through five before hitting the wall in the sixth. Martin Prado hit a leadoff single, Christian Yelich walked and Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI single to chase Perdomo.

Craig Stammen (0-1) came on and allowed Marcell Ozuna's RBI double just past the glove of first baseman Wil Myers and J.T. Realmuto's RBI single to left before Bour hit a no-doubter to right field, his third.

Kevin Quackenbush relieved and got three straight outs (see full recap).

Astros use 2-run 10th to beat Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brian McCann and Yuli Gurriel both had RBI singles in the 10th inning, and the Houston Astros rallied from an early four-run deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Sunday.

Carlos Beltran opened the 10th by drawing a walk from Ryan Garton (0-1) and went to second on Jose Altuve's single. After reaching third on Carlos Correa's fly to center, Beltran scored to make it 5-4 on McCann's hit to right.

Gurriel's two-out single put Houston ahead 6-4.

Luke Gregerson (1-1) went a scoreless ninth before Ken Giles got three out for his fifth save.

The Astros tied it at 4 on pinch-hitter Evan Gattis' sacrifice fly off closer Alex Colome, who was bidding for a two-inning save, in the ninth.

Brad Miller had an RBI triple, Steven Souza Jr. hit a two-run homer, and Jesus Sucre added a run-scoring single as the Rays went up 4-0 in the first (see full recap).

With new body, new swing, Cesar Hernandez keying Phillies' late-game power surges

With new body, new swing, Cesar Hernandez keying Phillies' late-game power surges

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A constant theme during the Phillies' playoff run from 2007-11 was that even when the offense was sputtering, it never felt like they were out of a game. That group of players picked up so many late hits and mounted so many comebacks that even a five-run deficit heading into the final three innings felt like a winnable game.

The 2017 Phillies are a much different, much less experienced, much less powerful team, but their late-game offense has been a surprisingly fun development this April.

The Phillies used back-to-back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning Sunday to pick up a 5-2 win over the Braves and a series sweep (see Instant Replay). Cesar Hernandez hit a go-ahead, two-run shot off hard-throwing reliever Arodys Vizcaino. Aaron Altherr followed with a solo shot on the next pitch. The Braves switched pitchers, then Odubel Herrera hit a solo homer of his own.

Just like that, ballgame.

The Phillies lead the majors with six home runs in the eighth inning. That's more than the Cubs, Red Sox, Rockies, Angels, Mariners, Pirates, White Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Giants and Astros have combined.

They've scored 14 runs in the eighth inning and 27 in innings 7-9. Both figures rank third-best in the National League behind only the Diamondbacks and Nationals.

Unexpected late-game heroics and unexpected power from some unlikely sources.

"It's always a bonus to have a team like that," manager Pete Mackanin said. "These guys pull for each other. We have a good bench, we have some interchangeable players that can step in and do a good job. ... They're fighters and it's good to see."

Hernandez continues to open eyes with his developing power. He has four home runs through 18 games after hitting six all of last season. He has more extra-base hits (nine) than Giancarlo Stanton, Kris Bryant, Paul Goldschmidt and Robinson Cano, among many others.

And he's done it without sacrificing his eye at the plate and slap-hitting ability. Hernandez is hitting .338 through 80 at-bats.

Hernandez gained muscle over the winter and reported to spring training looking noticeably bigger, but Mackanin credits the power surge to a change in his swing plane.

"He had an uppercut swing," Mackanin said. "He worked underneath the ball, which made him a low-ball hitter. I think the fact that we convinced him to level out his swing and stay on top of the ball -- work above the ball and work your way down through the strike zone -- I think has not only given him more power but also (the ability) to hit more line drives and use the whole field."

Makes sense. Managers, hitting coaches and players talk all the time about how you don't hit a home run when you're trying to hit a home run, you hit one when you're thinking up the middle and catch the ball with the barrel.

Hernandez hasn't lofted more balls because he's trying to loft them, he's done it by getting stronger and developing a more consistent swing.

"He's an on-base guy and a leadoff hitter and now I'm starting to think of him as a cleanup hitter as well," Mackanin said jokingly. "It is nice. It's good to see. He's not trying to hit home runs. He's trying to hit line drives and when you work above the ball and level your swing out and you hit the bottom half of the ball, the ball is going to go up with a line-drive swing. Because of that, he's hitting more gaps and hitting for more power."

In a way, it's similar to what Herrera did last season, jumping from eight home runs as a rookie to 15 as a sophomore as he continued learning the strike zone, learning major-league pitchers and learning of his own capabilities.

"I love watching Cesar hit the ball," Herrera said. "He has a beautiful swing and he makes great contact on the ball. It's great to be behind him."

With Hernandez leading off and Herrera batting third, the top of the Phillies' lineup has gotten on base a ton. They've gotten a .384 on-base percentage from the 1-3 spots in the order. Just imagine how many additional runs the Phillies would have produced to this point if Maikel Franco or Tommy Joseph were hitting consistently.

"I like all three right there," Mackanin said. "I like Howie Kendrick, also. I'm anxious for him to get back (from the DL) and then we'll go from there. We've got some good things going. We've got a good bench. We've got Altherr, (Daniel) Nava, (Andres) Blanco. We've got (Andrew) Knapp who's doing a good job behind the plate. I think we're in pretty good shape that way."

It's not going to be an explosive, league-leading offense, but it's certainly a deeper offense than it was a year ago. An addition like Nava, for example, has proven to be underrated and pay early dividends. Remember, he was one of the last men chosen for the opening day roster. So far this April, he's succeeded in every role in which the Phillies have used him.

Despite not playing regularly, Nava has reached base in 16 of his first 31 plate appearances, something no first-year Phillie has done since Jeremy Giambi in 2002.

"Nava is really valuable to us," Mackanin said. "He's a part-time player that gives you good at-bats, quality at-bats. He works the count, obviously the first game of the season he showed us he's got power. Gap power and the occasional home run from both sides of the plate. 

"Watching a guy like that, you can't help but notice. If it was me and I was a free swinger, I'd go up to him and ask him, 'How do I tone it down a little bit?' He just doesn't get himself out."