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: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

Best of MLB: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Reddick homered and scored four runs, Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez each went deep and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 12-9 on Thursday.

The major league-leading Astros completed a four-game sweep with their 10th straight victory in Oakland and their 15th win in 16 games against the A's overall. They've won 12 of their last 14 road games. Their 27-8 record away from home is the best in the majors.

Reddick also doubled, tripled and drew a walk, and Marisnick and Gonzalez each drove in three runs.

David Paulino (2-0) struck out six and gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks. The 23-year-old rookie right-hander struck out five of his first six batters in his sixth career start.

Astros center fielder George Springer left with a left hand contusion after being struck by a fastball from Jesse Hahn (3-5) leading off the game. The ball also grazed Springer's left shoulder. Springer is tied for second in the AL with 21 home runs. His status is day-to-day (see full recap).

Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks blast Rockies
DENVER -- Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings hit three-run homers, Zack Godley threw well into the eighth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 10-3 on Thursday.

Goldschmidt finished with three hits and four RBIs to increase his season total to 64, tops in the majors.

Arizona took two of three in the NL West matchup and is now tied with Colorado for second place in the division behind the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have won 12 of 14 and are a season-high 19 games above .500.

Godley gave up a home run to Charlie Blackmon to lead off the first inning, but shut down the Rockies from there.

Blackmon drew a walk in the third, then Godley erased him with a double-play ball to end the inning. He didn't allow a hit after Nolan Arenado's one-out single in the first and retired 19 of the next 20 batters before Raimel Tapia and Pat Valaika singled and doubled to lead off the eighth.

Godley (3-1) allowed three runs on four hits and struck out eight in seven-plus innings. He also helped himself with an RBI single in the eighth.

The Diamondbacks hit a Colorado rookie pitcher hard for the second straight night. Wednesday they scored 10 runs in the fourth off Jeff Hoffman, and Thursday they battered right-hander Antonio Senzatela (9-3) for nine runs in five innings.

Owings' homer in the third, his ninth, made it 5-1, and Goldschmidt hit his 18th to cap a four-run fourth to make it 9-1 (see full recap).

Knebel sets strikeout mark as Brewers top Pirates
MILWAUKEE -- Corey Knebel broke Arodlis Chapman's modern-era record for most consecutive games by a reliever with a strikeout at a season's start, fanning a batter for the 38th straight game and closing out the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

Knebel struck out Josh Bell on a foul tip leading off the ninth. The 25-year-old right-hander retired Elias Diaz and Andrew McCutchen on popouts, finishing a four-hitter for his 12th save in 15 chances.

Chapman had set the mark since 1900 as part of a streak of 49 games for Cincinnati that began in August 2013 and ended the following August.

Travis Shaw drove in three runs with a homer and two doubles, and he came within inches of a second home run.

Chase Anderson (6-2) allowed two runs and two hits in six innings (see full recap).

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Odubel Herrera’s return to the dugout was so slow that home plate umpire Nic Lentz had to clap to speed him along. Herrera obliged, accelerating to an effortless jog until he left Lentz’s sight. Then he went back to a hung head and a crawling pace as he reached the steps. Boos met his ears through it all. 

Herrera was picked off third base by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for the second out of the fourth inning on Thursday. It didn’t matter much as the Phillies beat the Cardinals, 5-1 (see Instant Replay), guided by Aaron Nola’s the best outing in a long time (see story)

However, Herrera made a base-running blunder at the same spot Wednesday night, when he blew through a Juan Samuel stop sign and was out by a mile at home plate to make the final out in the ninth inning of a tie game. And later on Thursday, while on second during a running count and Maikel Franco behind him at first, Herrera didn’t run on the pitch.

These are mistakes any big-leaguer should avoid. And when he’s the only player a team has signed to a long-term deal, which is supposed to last into a new era that involves winning games, the mistakes sting a bit more. 

“I’m not pleased about it,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. 

Had Wednesday night’s gaffe been avoided, maybe the Phillies could have gone on to win. Thursday’s was more embarrassing than damaging. While displeased, Mackanin, who said he thought about giving Herrera Thursday off, understood what happened this time around.

“He was running contact. And when you’re running contact, you’re susceptible to getting picked off by a catcher, especially with a left-handed hitter up,” Mackanin said. “You have to be aware of that. They’re taught to be aware of that. He just didn’t take that first hard step back. And that deters the catcher from throwing to third base. It happened.” 

The Phillies have been picked off eight times this season. Entering Thursday, only four teams had been picked off more. 

The Phillies own a run scoring percentage (percentage of base runners that eventually score) of 28.0, which puts them in the bottom third of the league. While much of that can be attributed to bad bats, mistakes like Herrera’s are not helping the cause. 

At 25, Herrera is still figuring this whole thing out. But he was the Phillies’ only All-Star last year and is supposed to be a consistent presence in the lineup. 

Andres Blanco, on the opposite end of the spectrum, first saw major-league action in 2004, and should be providing a consistent presence in the Phillies’ clubhouse. Yet on Thursday, starting at second base instead of Howie Kendrick, Blanco made a veteran play on the base paths, which felt like the remedy to Herrera’s mental lapses.

In the bottom of the fifth, with two outs and Blanco on second base, Freddy Galvis grounded a ball up the middle. Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz sent an errant flip to second to get the final out, and Blanco was smart enough to round third and score after the ball got loose in the infield. Mackanin called it a heads-up play. 

“That’s the kind of players you’re looking for, the guys that are going to look for those kinds of things to happen,” Mackanin said, “and they don't assume a play is going to be made and assume they might be able to take an extra base.

“He’s a veteran. I’m glad he paid attention.”