Phillies 8, Blue Jays 2: J.P. Crawford leads Phillies' offensive outburst

Phillies 8, Blue Jays 2: J.P. Crawford leads Phillies' offensive outburst

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- As J.P. Crawford finishes up his final days before being sent to minor-league camp for the remainder of spring, he is starting to show signs of what he is capable of at the plate.

The shortstop prospect went 2 for 2 with two RBIs against the Blue Jays on Saturday.

It was part of an impressive power output for the Phillies, who hit seven doubles in the 8-2 victory. Cameron Perkins had two doubles and two RBIs, and Nick Williams went 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI.

"Needless to say the hitting was outstanding today," manager Pete Mackanin said. "I wish we could have saved some of those runs for yesterday.

But Crawford's first hit might have been the sweetest of the day because it came with the bases loaded and two outs off Blue Jays reliever J.P. Howell. On Friday, the Phillies loaded the bases three times and failed to score.

"It's good to finally execute at the plate and help my team get some more runs," Crawford said. "Those were insurance runs that we needed."

Crawford bumped his Grapefruit League batting average up to .227 while also improving the quality of his at-bats. Rather than trying to swing for the fences, Crawford is working more at getting good contact and putting balls in play.

"Recently I've been swinging too hard and trying to hit a home run every time," Crawford said. "Today I just tried the send the ball back up the middle, get a base hit and I did."

The refined approach should help Crawford as he readies for the start of the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

"He's going to get a lot of at-bats in Triple-A and hopefully put a lot of good things together," Mackanin said. "I think in Triple-A he's going to … I don't want to say blossom, but he's going to make progress, and once you get that ball rolling good things are going happen."

Florimon shows off the glove
It was Pedro Florimon's first time playing third base but it was hard to tell because of the defensive prowess he showed at the position Saturday.

With a runner on second Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit a quick grounder to third that Florimon fielded and made a quick throw to Scott Kingery at second to catch pinch runner Lane Thomas cheating off the base.

"Florimon is really sweet defensively," Mackanin said. "It was his first time playing third and he makes a play there that a lot of guys can't make."

Several Phillies had a strong day in the field, most notably catcher Andrew Knapp, who nailed Kevin Pillar trying to steal second base in the third inning.

Up next
Right-hander Aaron Nola is expected to pitch three to four innings in his start against the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon in Clearwater.

Today's lineup: Tommy Joseph returns to lineup for Game 1

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Today's lineup: Tommy Joseph returns to lineup for Game 1

The Phillies' return from the West Coast will also include the return of Tommy Joseph to the lineup in Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Marlins.

Joseph, mired in a 5 for 56 slump, will be in the lineup after sitting the last two games against the Giants. For some strange reason, the right-handed Joseph has struggled mightily against left-handed pitching. He's hitting just .185 against southpaws this season vs. .254 against righties. Joseph will play first and bat fifth.

What will excite Phillies fans tonight is the three and four hitters. Rookies Nick Williams and Rhys Hoskins will bat in the three-hole and cleanup spot, respectively. Williams has struggled a little bit since his torrid start. He has just one extra-base hit in his last 42 at-bats. He'll start in center field while Odubel Herrera continues to nurse a hamstring injury.

Hoskins returns from his native California red hot. After getting just one hit in his first big league series against the Mets, Hoskins did some serious damage out west. The 24-year-old went 8 for 25 (.320) with five homers and eight RBIs during the seven-game swing. He'll get the nod yet again left.

Newcomer Hyun Soo Kim will fill out the outfield, playing right and batting sixth. Kim is just 5 for 33 since coming over from Baltimore in the Jeremy Hellickson trade.

Here is the rest of the lineup for Game 1:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, CF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Hyun Soo Kim, RF
7. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Aaron Nola, P

And here's how the Marlins will line up against Nola:
1. Dee Gordon, 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
3. Christian Yelich, CF
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. J.T. Realmuto, C
6. Derek Dietrich, 3B
7. Tomas Telis, 1B
8. Miguel Rojas, SS
9. Dan Straily, P

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

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AP Images

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

The Phillies have made a flurry of moves ahead of Tuesday's doubleheader vs. the Marlins.

Vince Velasquez (finger) is heading to the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season. He'll have surgery to repair a vascular issue with his right middle finger, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Velasquez left his last start after just one inning on August 10 while surrendering three runs.

In 15 starts, Velasquez compiled a 5.13 ERA, while continuing to struggle with his command. The 25-year-old struck out 68 batters while walking 34 and averaged just 4.8 innings per start. 

In a corresponding move, the Phillies have called up RHP Yacksel Rios from Triple A to replace Velasquez on the 40-man roster. The 24-year-old has a combined 1.92 ERA in 37 games while splitting time between Reading and Lehigh Valley. 

Nick Pivetta was officially recalled from the minors to start Game 2 of today's doubleheader, while Zach Eflin (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday.