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.

End could be near for Jimmy Rollins, who's unlikely to make Giants' roster

End could be near for Jimmy Rollins, who's unlikely to make Giants' roster

The long-expected homecoming for Jimmy Rollins didn't go as planned.

Rollins, now 38, is unlikely to make the San Francisco Giants' opening-day roster.

"We've talked to Jimmy and he knows the scenario and the situation," manager Bruce Bochy told reporters earlier this week. "We're just waiting to hear back from him."

J-Roll was hoping to catch on with the Giants as a utility infielder. San Francisco already has an everyday shortstop in Brandon Crawford, so Rollins' role would have been to back him up, play a little second base and perhaps some third base. 

But Rollins hit just .125 this spring and fell clearly behind fellow veteran Aaron Hill, who is three years younger and at this point simply a better hitter.

Is this the end for J-Roll? If it is, he'll finish with a .264/.324/.418 batting line in over 10,000 plate appearances, 2,455 hits, 511 doubles, 231 homers and 470 steals.

Rollins is one of just four players ever with that many career doubles and steals. The others are Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb and Paul Molitor.

While some players have precipitous drop-offs that lead to retirement -- forced or unforced -- Rollins' decline has been more gradual. His batting average has dipped in each of the last four seasons, from .252 in 2013 to .243 to .224 to .221 last season. 

Rollins latched on with the White Sox last spring and was their opening-day shortstop, but he was released on June 15 as Chicago made room for top prospect Tim Anderson.

Rollins, who played 15 seasons with the Phillies, is the franchise leader in at-bats, hits and doubles. He's second in steals, third in triples and runs scored, ninth in homers and eighth in RBIs.

He also won an MVP, a World Series, four Gold Gloves and made three All-Star teams.

Enough to make the Hall of Fame? That's obviously subjective, but for as much as he did for the Phillies and for how much he impacted the game for more than a decade, Rollins' rate stats -- namely the .251/.317/.395 batting line he posted from 2008-16 -- could keep him out of Cooperstown, even though some of his counting stats are more impressive than Barry Larkin's.

Phillies finalize bullpen; final two bench jobs to be announced later today

Phillies finalize bullpen; final two bench jobs to be announced later today

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies finalized their bullpen Thursday morning and will complete the rest of their roster later in the day, manager Pete Mackanin said.

Lefties Adam Morgan and Joely Rodriguez were named to the final two spots in the bullpen after veteran Luis Garcia was optioned to Triple A.

The final two spots on the roster are both bench jobs. Brock Stassi, Daniel Nava and Jesmuel Valentin are the final candidates.

"We're going to pick two out of three and we'll know by the end of the game," Mackanin said before the Phillies were to play the Yankees in a 1 p.m. game.

There are indications that Stassi will make the roster, leaving the final spot down to Nava and Valentin. Nava is a first baseman/outfielder. Valentin, 22, is a second baseman by trade. If he doesn't make the club, he will play every day at Triple A.

Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and rookie catcher Andrew Knapp are already set on the bench.

Garcia was sent to the minors one day after pitching poorly against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. He was tagged for five hits and two runs in two innings of work. One of the hits was a double. Garcia needed 45 pitches to get through the two innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out three.

Garcia will likely close at Triple A.

"He developed a splitter over the course of spring training and we want him to go down and work on it," Mackanin said. "It could be a real good pitch for him in the future."

As far as bullpen roles, Morgan will work as a long man while Rodriguez will be more of a situational lefty. Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Neris, Edubray Ramos, Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek round out the bullpen.

Gomez will open the season as the closer. He saved 37 games last season but lost the job in September.

"I'm going to go with Gomez," Mackanin said. "He's going to get every opportunity to do the job. If he doesn't, we're going to take a look at it."