Healthy Stutes ready after being called up


Healthy Stutes ready after being called up

WASHINGTON -- The Phillies’ reconfigured bullpen added another arm for Friday’s game at Nationals Park when right-hander Michael Stutes joined the club.

For Stutes, who missed most of the 2012 season while recovering from shoulder surgery, the return to the big leagues might have seemed like it took forever. After opening the season at Triple A Lehigh Valley where he posted a 3.33 ERA in 20 games covering 27 innings, Stutes got enough work under his belt to earn the call up.

Given that the Phillies’ middle relievers have struggled this season, Stutes’ effectiveness at Triple A was enough. Over his last 10 games, Stutes allowed one run in 14 1/3 innings with 14 strikeouts. He also gave up just three walks and eight hits over that span and picked up a five-out save against Norfolk last Friday.

Looks like Stutes has his strength back.

“This is my first time coming off an injury, first time being injured, so I don’t know of the difference if you go right back to where you were or take a step back and try to work your way back to where you were,” Stutes said before Friday’s game against the Nationals. “I don’t have anything to base that on. I feel like I’m in a good place now, so hopefully whatever steps I took I’m ready to go now.”

Stutes returns with strong command of his fastball and a reworked slider. In fact, Triple A manager Dave Brundage said Stutes’ stuff was “sneaky.” As a reliever Stutes hasn’t been overpowering, but he’s been very difficult to hit.

Could Stutes’ effectiveness for Lehigh Valley be from his slider?

“I changed my grip on it,” Stutes said. “It has a slightly different spin out of my hand. It should be back up to where it was, being more around 85-ish [mph], instead of down toward 77, which is where it was toward the end of 2011. That’s not really keeping them honest. That’s not really doing anything for us, me throwing at 77.”

Stutes said he hasn’t been told anything about his role with the Phillies. However, one can make the assumption that he will get some of the innings that Raul Valdes and Phillippe Aumont had before they were sent back to Triple A.

Adams to return Sunday
Set-up man Mike Adams will join the Phillies for Sunday’s game when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.

The right-hander had been out with a mild strain in the middle of his back suffered during batting practice in Arizona on May 10.

According to assistant general manager Scott Proefrock, Adams threw a bullpen session for pitching coach Rich Dubee on Wednesday and threw again on Friday.

In 17 outings this season, Adams has a 3.00 ERA. He's struck out 19 and walked six in 15 innings. Thirteen of his 17 outings have been scoreless.

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

NEW YORK — The clubhouse mood following the Phillies17-0 loss to the Mets Sunday was somber, in part because of the disastrous game that had just wrapped up, but also because of the tragic news of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident early Sunday morning.

“It was rough. People are devastated. I didn’t even know him and I was crushed,” Phillies starter Jake Thompson said. “I can only imagine how that clubhouse feels. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, to deal with something of that magnitude.”

Both teams paused for a moment of silence before Sunday’s game and the Mets taped a jersey bearing Fernandez’s name and number onto their dugout wall.

“This morning, that was quite a surprise,” manager Pete Mackanin said of the atmosphere of the day. “I don’t think it affected the players once the game started. It was such bad news this morning that everybody was kind of melancholy.”

Fernandez had built a strong track record against the Phillies in his young career, amassing a 2.88 ERA in six starts.

“It’s kind of cliché to say but you look at the start of his career and he could have been a Hall of Famer,” Thompson said.

Asked how he would remember facing Fernandez, Mackanin was succinct.

“He was a helluva pitcher,” he said.

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Phillies suffer worst shutout loss in modern era to Mets

Phillies suffer worst shutout loss in modern era to Mets


NEW YORK -- Jake Thompson faced the issues that a 22-year old starter in his 10th career appearance usually does Sunday against the Mets.
Thompson struggled with his command at times, walking the bases loaded in the fourth inning before escaping his self-induced jam with a flyout. He hit a batter and surrendered a home run to Curtis Granderson on a pitch that caught too much of the plate.
The righty departed after four innings in what manager Pete Mackanin declared postgame to be Thompson’s last start of the season.
But perhaps neither he nor the rest of the Phillies expected the extent to which his struggles would ripple through the bullpen. The Phillies’ relievers surrendered 14 runs, hit three batters and gave up a grand slam in a 17-0 loss, the franchise's worst shutout defeat in the modern era (see Instant Replay).
“Obviously the bullpen has scuffled for a while now,” Mackanin said. “That shows you how much the game is about pitching. It keeps you in games, gives you an opportunity to win like it did the first couple of months of the season for us. Now, the last month, it’s not keeping us in games or it’s losing games.”
The Phillies’ relievers were charged with 28 runs over the course of their four-game swing in New York. Their collective 4.69 ERA is the fourth-worst in the National League.
Sunday, Phil Klein — who hadn’t pitched since he was recalled from Lehigh Valley on Sept. 10 — and little-used Colton Murray and Patrick Schuster — who had combined for three appearances in the past two weeks — took the brunt of the damage.
Klein walked two batters, surrendered two singles and hit Mets catcher Rene Rivera in the left hand to force in a run. He left the bases loaded for Murray, who allowed an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch. Murray was pulled in the seventh having gotten into a bases-loaded jam of his own. His replacement, Frank Herrmann, allowed all three runs to score on a walk and a grand slam by Asdrubal Cabrera.
Schuster was assigned five runs in the eighth after he was tagged for three hits, walked a batter and hit Gavin Cecchini.
Which pitchers — if any — out of the Phillies’ cadre of middle relivers will return next year is an open question and Mackanin made it clear that he will use the remaining six games in the season to evaluate his team’s arms.
“It’s another audition.” Mackanin said. “We want to see who might fit in.”
Thompson can clearly stake a claim to his role in the Phillies’ rebuilding effort. Despite the hiccup in his final outing, he has come a long way in just two months from being the pitcher that surrendered six runs to the light-hitting Padres in his Aug. 6 debut.

His changeup — a pitch that hitters had connected on for six home runs this year, according to data from Fangraphs — was particularly lively Sunday. Cabrera chased it out of the zone in the first inning for Thompson’s only strikeout.
“I think the changeup’s probably been my best pitch up here,” Thompson said. “I’ve given up a lot of homers on it, too. That just shows whenever you don’t execute it, it’s a tough pitch to throw in the zone. As far as the swing-and-misses that I was getting with it, it’s kind of night and day.
“At this point last year I pretty much had no changeup, so that’s a big thing for me.”
Only 23 on Opening Day next year, Thompson has plenty of room to improve.
The Phillies’ bullpen does, too.

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