Jerad Eickhoff, Phillies burned by lack of offense in 1st loss of season

Jerad Eickhoff, Phillies burned by lack of offense in 1st loss of season


CINCINNATI -- The Phillies pounded the ball all over the lot in beating the Cincinnati Reds on opening day.

In the second game of the season, they barely hit it out of the infield.

The Phils were held to just four hits -- and three of them did not leave the infield -- in a 2-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay).

Jerad Eickhoff delivered a strong start in his season debut, but ended up with the loss when he gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Joey Votto's solo homer leading off the frame was the game's big blow.

"Not enough hits," said manager Pete Mackanin, sounding like he did often last season when the Phillies finished last in the majors with 610 runs.

"We played a clean game. The bats just weren't going."

Cincinnati lefty Brandon Finnegan had something to do with that. For seven innings, he hooked up in a fast-moving pitchers' duel with Eickhoff. Both pitchers were really good in their season debuts. Finnegan was just a little better, holding the Phillies to one hit over seven innings. He struck out nine. For the game, Phillies hitters struck out 13 times.

"You've got to give Finnegan credit," Mackanin said. "He was tough."

Finnegan actually labored through a 25-pitch first inning in which he gave up a hard-hit, two-out single to left-center by Maikel Franco. After that, he set down 19 Phillies hitters in a row.

"In that first inning, I thought we were going to set the tone of the game but then he settled down after that," Mackanin said. "We just couldn't do anything against the guy. I credit him for a well-pitched game."

Eickhoff breezed through the first six innings on 66 pitches. He gave up the game's first run when Votto led off the bottom of the seventh by swatting a 1-0 curveball into the right-field seats. Eickhoff then allowed a double to Adam Duvall on another curveball and was chased from the game on a two-out, RBI hit by Zack Cozart.

Three of the five hits Eickhoff gave up came in that seventh inning.

"It was up, a hanging curveball," Mackanin said of the pitch to Votto. "As well as [Eickhoff] pitched, some of his curveballs had tight spin and others were just kind of rolling. Those two [to Votto and Duvall] were kind of rolling. It happens. He only gave up two runs and pitched a heck of a good ballgame."

Eickhoff admitted that the curveball to Duvall was not sharp.

But, in his view, the one to Votto was not bad.

"The homer to Votto, the 1-0 curveball, it's kind of one of those things where I threw one of my better pitches," Eickhoff said. "You just tip your cap. I think it might have fooled him a little but he was able to keep his hands back and put the barrel on it and he's strong enough to put it out of the park."

Eickhoff made 33 starts last year. He delivered a quality start -- six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs -- in 20 of them.

He already has his first quality start this season.

But he also has his first loss.

Run support continues to be a problem for Eickhoff. He has made 42 big-league starts since coming up in August 2015. His mates have scored one or zero runs (while he's been in the game) in 18 of those starts.

"It's a shame," Mackanin said. "But he can't control that. He always gets after it and does his part."

Eickhoff is one of the most levelheaded guys in the clubhouse. Sure, he'd like to get eight runs every time out. But he's not about to complain about the situation.

"I can't control that," he said. "Those guys are busting their butt every day to get hits, working in the cage. I can't control it. I'm just trying to get outs and when I walk off the mound hopefully I kept us in the game."

He did that in this one.

The Phils actually got a little something going in the eighth, after Finnegan departed. Aaron Altherr and Cameron Rupp both had infield singles with no outs against hard-throwing Michael Lorenzen. Up came Freddy Galvis.

Mackanin thought about bunting, but decided to play for the big inning.

"To play for a tie there with the way we swung tonight, I just thought that maybe Freddy could hit a double or something like that," Mackanin said.

Lorenzen struck out Galvis and pinch-hitter Michael Saunders before ending the threat by getting Cesar Hernandez on a ground ball.

There was some unexpected excitement in the ninth when Odubel Herrera reached on an infield hit and, with his team down two runs and the first baseman not holding him tight, decided to steal second with two outs and Tommy Joseph at the plate. At first, Herrera was called out and it looked like the game had ended in ignominious fashion for the Phillies. The call was overturned moments later and Herrera was off the hook. Joseph ended up striking out to end the game.

Mackanin was not thrilled with Herrera's move and said he would speak to the player.

"He made it," Mackanin said. "That's all I'm going to say."

MLB Notes: Twins-Braves, Royals-Padres make trades

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MLB Notes: Twins-Braves, Royals-Padres make trades

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hoping to bolster their rotation for a playoff run, the Minnesota Twins have acquired veteran left-handed pitcher Jaime García, catcher Anthony Recker and cash considerations from the Atlanta Braves for minor league right-hander Huascar Ynoa.

The 31-year-old García is 66-52 with a 3.65 ERA and 808 strikeouts in 176 appearances, mostly with St. Louis (2008, 2010-16). He missed the 2009 MLB season following Tommy John surgery.

Garcia is 4-7 with a 4.30 ERA, 41 walks and 85 strikeouts in 18 starts for the Braves this year.

While Garcia's numbers don't jump off the page, the Twins were in need of a veteran arm to put into a rotation that has been largely disappointing behind the top two starters, Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios (see full story).

Royals: Cahill, Maurer, Buchter acquired from Padres
DETROIT -- The contending Kansas City Royals have acquired three pitchers from the San Diego Padres, getting starter Trevor Cahill, closer Brandon Maurer and reliever Ryan Buchter.

The Royals sent pitchers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood, minor league infielder Esteury Ruiz and cash to San Diego on Monday. The deal came one week before the nonwaiver trade deadline.

Kansas City began the day tied with Tampa Bay for the second AL wild-card spot and 1 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland. The Royals had been looking to bolster their rotation and bullpen, and did it with one swap.

Cahill was 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Padres. The 29-year-old right-hander was an All-Star with Oakland in 2010.

Maurer is 20-for-23 on save tries, and 1-4 with a 5.72 ERA. The 27-year-old righty began his big league career with Seattle in 2013 as a starter.

Buchter is 3-3 with one save and a 3.05 ERA in 42 games. The 30-year-old lefty pitched 67 times for the Padres last year.

Dodgers: Kershaw lost to DL with back injury
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw is headed to the disabled list for the second straight summer because of a back injury.

A year after missing 2 1/2 months with a herniated disk in his lower back, Kershaw was pulled from a start Sunday against Atlanta because of lower back tightness. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace exited after two innings in a 5-4, 10-inning victory.

It leaves baseball's top team without its best pitcher. The Dodgers lead the majors with a 68-31 record and are atop the NL West standings by 10 games.

Kershaw was set to meet with a back specialist Sunday evening for tests, although manager Dave Roberts was already sure that Kershaw would be placed on the 10-day DL (see full story).

Mets: Wheeler put on DL because of arm trouble
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have put pitcher Zack Wheeler on the 10-day disabled list because of a stress reaction in his right arm.

The Mets didn't provide a timetable for Wheeler's return. He was on the DL last month with biceps tendinitis and has struggled in four starts since his return.

The team recalled righty Tyler Pill from Triple-A Las Vegas before Monday night's game at San Diego.

Wheeler joins Mets starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman on the disabled list. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo recently came off the DL and returned to the rotation.

The 27-year-old Wheeler didn't pitch in the majors the past two years after having Tommy John surgery in 2015. He is 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts.

Tonight's lineup: Nick Williams moves up to 3rd for hot-hitting Phillies

Tonight's lineup: Nick Williams moves up to 3rd for hot-hitting Phillies

The hot-hitting Phillies made some minor tweaks to their lineup for Monday's series opener against the American League-beset Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.

Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera and Tommy Joseph all move up in the lineup with Howie Kendrick getting the day off. Williams will hit third, Herrera moves up to fifth and Joseph will hit sixth. Andrew Knapp is catching and batting seventh. Cameron Perkins is playing left field and batting eighth.

Williams is hitting .309 with four home runs, four doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs in 19 games since being called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley on June 30. He had a two-run homer and another RBI in the Phillies' 6-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday afternoon.

After his 1 for 3 day with an RBI on Sunday, Herrera moves up spot. The centerfielder is hitting .331 with a major-league leading 19 doubles since June 3.

Joseph was 0 for 4 on Sunday with two strikeouts. He hit seventh against the Brewers but will hit sixth tonight.

Vince Velasquez (2-5, 5.14)  is on the mound for the Phillies. He'll be opposed by Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49).

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Andrew Knapp, C
8. Cameron Perkins, LF
9. Vince Velasquez, SP

For more on tonight's game, read Corey Seidman's game notes.