Colon stymies Phillies as Dom Brown sits again

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Colon stymies Phillies as Dom Brown sits again

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Bartolo Colon might look more like a Wing Bowl contestant than a major-league pitcher, but he had no trouble with the Phillies Friday night.

In fact, you could say he gobbled them up.

Colon, the rotund 41-year-old right-hander, pitched eight innings of one-run ball in leading the New York Mets to a 5-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).

With the victory, Colon became just the third Dominican-born pitcher to reach 200 wins, joining Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (243) and future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez (219).

Colon served a suspension for testing positive for PEDs in 2012.

The Mets have won 11 of their last 13 games in Philadelphia, dating to last season.

Colon left with a 5-1 lead after eight innings and the Mets’ bullpen nearly coughed up the lead. The Phillies rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Jenrry Mejia stopped the rally by striking out pinch-hitter Reid Brignac looking at a third strike as the tying run stood on third base.

Grady Sizemore provided the big hit in the ninth, a hard-hit, two-run double off the right-field wall with no outs.

Mets rightfielder Curtis Granderson then made a diving catch on Carlos Ruiz’s sinking liner to save a run. If that ball dropped in, the Phils might have had their second late win in as many nights.

Sizemore’s double was his only hit of the night. He is 28 for 85 (.329) with seven doubles and one home run in 23 games with the Phillies. He has been the Phillies’ starter in left field eight of the last nine games as Domonic Brown’s playing time has shrunk.

Brown, hitting .228 in 107 games, struck out as a pinch-hitter in Friday night’s game. He has been out of the starting lineup nine straight games, though three of those non-starts came over the weekend in Washington when he was being treated for a tonsil infection.

Asked about his health before Friday night’s game, Brown said: “I’m 100 percent. Have been for four days.” Brown was terse and he did not sound happy.

Manager Ryne Sandberg clearly likes what he’s seen of Sizemore. The Phillies swept Houston in the previous three games and Sizemore was right back in left field Friday night.

“Well, you don’t want to mess with something that’s going good, either,” Sandberg said before the game. “Domonic will get another day of batting practice under his belt.

“We'll give (Sizemore) a number of at-bats and see what he looks like for the future. He's part of a lineup that has won three straight, so that's a part of it also."

Phillies starter A.J. Burnett continued his second-half slide. He was tagged for 11 hits and five runs in six innings. His ERA in five starts since the All-Star break is a plump 6.66.

Two of Burnett’s last three starts have been losses to the Mets. In those two starts, he has pitched 11 innings and given up 19 hits and 12 earned runs.

Sandberg said Burnett was falling behind in too many counts and elevating too many pitches.

Burnett, who is 6-12 with a 4.29 ERA in 25 starts, agreed.

“That’s how it’s been the past four starts,” he said. “It’s time to get better. I’m pretty sure they didn’t bring me over here to be like this all year — inconsistent.”

Burnett allowed six hits and four runs in the fourth inning. He was still upset about that after the game. Had he limited the damage in that inning, the Phils’ rally in the ninth might have gone further.

Colon scattered six hits, walked none and struck out six in beating the Phils for the second time in his last three starts. He allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings against the Phillies on July 28.

So in his last 15 2/3 innings against the Phils, Colon has given up just two runs.

“He has movement on his fastball — cuts it and sinks it,” Sandberg said. “And he changes speeds on his fastball. I think it’s been really hard for our hitters to gauge his fastball. It’s anywhere from 88 to 92 (mph).”

Colon actually hit 94 on the stadium radar gun in the eighth inning.

“He does a good job changing speed with his fastball,” Cody Asche said. “And I think he’s good at reading the hitter, too -- kind of like being a step ahead. I think that’s why he’s survived so long in this game and done so well. He’s tough.”

A.J. Ellis still adjusting, learning names as he joins the Phillies

A.J. Ellis still adjusting, learning names as he joins the Phillies

NEW YORK – It wasn’t easy leaving the only professional organization he’d ever been part of, but new Phillie A.J. Ellis, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Carlos Ruiz trade Thursday, is coming to terms with it.

“To find out that the trade went down, it was hard,” Ellis said upon reporting to his new club Saturday. “It was so immediate and sudden, really hard to say goodbye to a lot of relationships I had been blessed to forge for more than a decade.

“But the waves of emotion are getting farther and farther apart, which is a good thing.”

Ellis, 35, was drafted by the Dodgers in 2003 and rose to the majors with them in 2008. With the Phillies, he will serve a similar role to the one he played with the Dodgers – backup catcher. Ellis wasted no time getting to know the pitching staff he will now work with. He arrived at Citi Field early Saturday afternoon and caught Jake Thompson and Jerad Eickhoff in their between-starts bullpen sessions.

Ellis said “Eichorn” when referring to Eickhoff. He’s forgiven. It’s been a whirlwind week.

“See?” he said. “I’m still learning names.”

Ellis, who served as the personal catcher for Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw, was blindsided by the trade.

“When I was summoned to the ballpark, that’s never really a good thing, especially when the front office wants to meet with you as far as where you’re at with the club, you know some kind of transition is happening,” he said. “The first 12 hours were definitely the hardest.

“But to arrive here and arrive in the clubhouse, meeting the staff, I’m starting to feel re-energized, refilled with a sense of purpose as to why I’ve been placed here, and why this is where I need to be at this time. I’m excited about that.

"I know I have huge shoes to fill. Carlos Ruiz is such a fixture in the Phillies organization. The work that he’s done here behind the plate, you can’t fill. This guy is a world champion catcher who has been back there for so many great baseball memories. So it’s up to me to do my part to fill the void.”

Manager Pete Mackanin thought about putting Ellis in the lineup Saturday night then had some mercy when he figured facing hard-throwing Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard might not be the best indoctrination for a guy who just flew cross-country. Ellis is likely to start Sunday afternoon’s series finale and catch Vince Velasquez.

That doesn’t mean he wasn’t asked to make a contribution to Saturday night’s game. Mackanin said he wanted Ellis to speak with the Phillies hitters about the weaknesses the Dodger pitchers tried to exploit.

“We talk to them about this stuff all the time, but it might help to hear it from an outside source,” Mackanin said.

Ellis left a first-place club for a rebuilding team. That’s not easy. He has come to terms with that. He likes the young talent on the Phillies’ roster and hopes to help it come to flower.

“Guys are playing for their careers,” he said. “Guys are playing to make their mark in this game and create a winning franchise once again in Philadelphia. 

"You see the talent, you see their desire to learn, their desire to get better. You just know the youth on this staff, the talent level on this staff. And if I can in some short time here impact some wisdom on those guys, share some of the wisdom along the way that I’ve picked up from some great mentors I’ve had in my time in the game, I need to pay it back, from what all has been given to me.”

Ellis hit just .197 with a .285 on-base percentage in 53 games for the Dodgers this season. That’s one of the reasons the Dodgers acquired Ruiz – to get more production from their right-handed-hitting backup catcher. Ruiz had a .369 on-base percentage at the time of the trade.

Phillies’ general manager Matt Klentak was “adamant” that Ellis come back on the deal because he wanted someone who could fill Ruiz’ void on (behind the plate) and off (with clubhouse leadership) the field. Ellis’ time with the Phillies might be short. He will be a free agent at the end of the season and his playing time might be scant as September unfolds. The Phils will probably add prospect Jorge Alfaro to the catching mix sometime during that month. Management seems eager to get a look at him while still getting No. 1 catcher Cameron Rupp the game reps he needs.

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

After watching his club get smacked around in a 9-4 loss to the Mets on Friday, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has tinkered with his lineup for Saturday's game at Citi Field.

Odubel Herrera moves up to the two-hole after hitting sixth Friday, while Aaron Altherr goes from second to third and Jimmy Paredes gets the start in left and bats seventh. Ryan Howard starts again at first base and bats fifth.

Herrera, who has been struggling since the All-Star break with a .257 average, has lost his leadoff spot to Cesar Hernandez but is starting to find his swing again.

In the last seven days, Herrera is 5 for 17 with a double and a run scored. In August, the centerfielder is hitting .288 with two homers and five RBIs.

Altherr, who played left field Friday, moves over to right field and Peter Bourjos gets the night off. Altherr is hitting .255 with four home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.

Here is the full Phillies lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P

For more on tonight's's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes.

Phillies option Jorge Alfaro back to Double A Reading

Phillies option Jorge Alfaro back to Double A Reading

As expected, the Phillies on Saturday optioned prized catching prospect Jorge Alfaro back to Double A Reading after a one game stint with the big club.

Alfaro was called up for Friday's series opener in New York against the Mets because newly acquired veteran backstop A.J. Ellis had yet to arrive with the team. Ellis was acquired Thursday from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the trade that sent Carlos Ruiz to L.A.

The 23-year-old Alfaro is expected to return to the Phillies once Reading's season is over and MLB rosters expand in September. The Fightin Phils, at 83-48, are the Eastern League's top team and very much could make it to the championship series.

Alfaro, acquired in the Cole Hamels trade last summer, has a .279 average with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs in 90 games with Reading this season. He did not get play Friday night against the Mets.