Instant Replay: Giants 2, Phillies 1

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Instant Replay: Giants 2, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

Jonathan Papelbon had not saved a game since July 11 when he entered Thursday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park with a one-run lead.

By the time the bottom of the ninth rolled around, Papelbon still had not saved a game since the second week of July.

Papelbon blew his sixth save opportunity of the season and his sixth in his last 13 chances on Thursday night, taking a much-needed victory from starter Cole Hamels and serving it up for the Giants, 2-1.

For the Phillies, the loss was the second in a row to the Giants and the 10th in the 11 games since the All-Star break. At 50-58, the Phillies fell to 13½ games behind the first-place Braves in the NL East.

Starting pitching report
It was another hard-luck no-decision for Hamels, who pitched brilliantly for eight innings and set himself up for the win with an RBI single in the fifth inning.

Hamels scattered seven hits and a walk over eight innings. He struck out five and threw 113 pitches. After Buster Posey singled with two outs in the first, Hamels retired eight in a row and 12 out of 14. He also got out of a one-out jam in the fourth and held the Giants to just 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

For the Giants, Matt Cain also went eight innings, allowing just one run on six hits with two walks. Cain retired the first 11 hitters he faced and 14 of the first 15. He also had some good fielding on his side, too. Pinch-runner Michael Martinez was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a single to left by John Mayberry Jr. in the seventh and Jimmy Rollins was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice.

Bullpen report
Papelbon’s fastball topped out at 92-mph as he blew his sixth save since June 17. He allowed four hits and a walk in serving up two runs. The closer had three two-strike counts in which he gave up two singles and a walk.

Sergio Romo put the first three hitters he faced on base and managed to wiggle out of the jam. An error, bunt single and a hit batsman loaded the bases, but Romo got out of it with back-to-back shallow flyouts and a groundout to sew up his 25th save.

At the plate
Of the Phillies’ seven hits, four of them came from the bottom half of the order. Hamels had the only RBI on a bloop single in the fifth, which is fitting considering how little run support the lefty has received this year.

Hamels leads the majors with 13 losses this year mostly because of a dearth of run support. Headed into Thursday’s game, Hamels received just 3.38 runs of support per game, a total that ranked him 84th among the 92 starting pitchers to qualify.

Up next
The homestand continues on Friday when the first-place Atlanta Braves come to town for three games. Ethan Martin will make his big-league debut for the Phillies in Friday night’s game against right-hander Kris Medlen (7-10, 3.74).

Acquired in the trade that sent Shane Victorino to the Dodgers at the deadline last year, Martin went 11-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 21 starts for Triple A Lehigh Valley. Martin had 107 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings.

The Phillies have not determined the rest of the rotation for the weekend. Cliff Lee would have pitched on Friday, but the neck strain that kept him from starting last Saturday in Detroit appears to still be an issue.

The Braves will send Brandon Beachy (0-0, 17.18) to the mound on Saturday afternoon with lefty Alex Wood (1-2, 3.51) pitching on Sunday night.

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

The Phillies were beaten, 4-0, by the Washington Nationals on Monday night, but wins and losses don’t matter as much as development in a rebuilding season, so there was a bright spot: Rookie right-hander Jake Thompson finally broke through with a good start in holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings.
 
The Phillies’ offense was not good. It produced just four hits on the night.
 
Washington got all the offense it needed when Jayson Werth, the second batter of the game, homered off Thompson in the first inning.

The Nats lead the NL East at 76-55. The Phils are 60-71.
 
The crowd of 16,056 was the smallest of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson had struggled in four starts — 9.78 ERA — since arriving from Triple A and there were questions whether he’d even make this start. But he put together a nice outing. After giving up two runs in the first inning, he pitched six straight scoreless innings, finishing his outing with three strikeouts, the last of which came on his 111th pitch when he froze Trea Turner with a breaking ball with two men on base. Thompson allowed seven hits — four in the first three innings — and walked one.
 
Washington right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 14-7. He held the Phils to four hits and a walk and struck out five.

Roark is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA (two earned runs in 28 innings) in four starts against the Phillies this season. The Nats are 15-4 in his last 19 starts.

Bullpen report
Frank Herrmann gave up two runs in the ninth.
 
At the plate
Odubel Herrera had two of the Phillies’ four hits.
 
Werth’s homer in the top of the first was his 19th. Anthony Rendon drove in a run with a two-out single in that inning. Clint Robinson and Turner had RBI singles in the ninth to push the Nats’ lead to 4-0.
 
ICYMI
Herrera is staying in center field for the remainder of the season, Pete Mackanin said (see story).
 
Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87) pitches against Washington right-hander Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92).

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

A couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said there was a chance he could look at Odubel Herrera in a corner outfield spot over the final weeks of the season.

Scrub that idea.

“Not this year,” Mackanin said Monday. “If we decide we're going to do that, we'll encourage him to play a corner in winter ball and then in spring training, if that's what we decide to do.

“I thought about doing that. But I don't know if we want to do that now. We’ll just let him get back on track offensively. I won't say it won't happen here or there. But we're not going to make that move right now.

“Let's try to keep his mind as uncluttered as possible right now. It looks a little cluttered.”

The Phillies have thought about moving Herrera to a corner spot because they have a top center field prospect in Roman Quinn. Also, Aaron Altherr is an excellent defender in center.

Quinn seemed to be on target for a call up after the Eastern League playoffs, but that could be in doubt now that he’s on the disabled list with a concussion.

Still, Quinn may be this club’s centerfielder of the future. And behind him is Mickey Moniak, this year’s top draft pick. He’s a ways away. But it’s worth wondering if the Phillies believe Herrera’s future is at a corner outfield spot. Or whether Herrera will be wintertime trade bait.

Mackanin was asked if he believed Herrera’s future would be in a corner spot.

“You know, I'd rather not really even comment on that,” he said. “I don't want him to think that we're not pleased with him. I just want to keep him confident the rest of the season.”

Herrera’s defense in center field has slipped this season.

“He was better last year defensively,” Mackanin said. “He's made a lot of mistakes this year. I think we've all seen that. But that doesn't mean he's not going to play center field anymore. There's another month left to see what happens.”

Herrera was the Phillies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game. He hit .294 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .427 slugging percentage before the All-Star break. Since then, however, he was hitting .252 with a .314 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage entering play Monday night.

Tonight's lineup: Has the Ryan Howard showcase come to an end?

Tonight's lineup: Has the Ryan Howard showcase come to an end?

Showcase time for Ryan Howard has apparently come to an end.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin will go with Tommy Joseph rather than Howard at first base for Monday's series opener against Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark. It's an interesting decision because it likely means Howard will sit until at least the weekend. On Tuesday, the Phils face Max Scherzer, against whom Howard is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts. On Wednesday, they draw lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Howard is 1 for 10 with four strikeouts in his last three games. He was hot after the All-Star break but the Phillies were still unlikely to be able to find a suitor for him because of the scarcity of American League teams in need of a DH. With just three days before Sept. 1, it seems extremely unlikely Howard will be moved. A player is not postseason eligible unless he's on a team's roster by Aug. 31. Thus, Joseph should get more playing time in September.

Jimmy Paredes gets another start in left field after striking the ball well three times on Sunday. Paredes has been productive lately, going 10 for 27 (.370) with two doubles and two homers in his last 14 games. He could be designated for assignment by the Phils soon if they need to clear a spot to add a prospect to the 40-man roster for a September call-up.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B (.895 OPS in last 230 PA)
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, LF
9. Jake Thompson, P