Phillies crush Dodgers behind offensive onslaught

062813domonicbrownusa.jpg

Phillies crush Dodgers behind offensive onslaught

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers have been playing in Los Angeles since 1958 and never have they suffered a loss this one-sided.

And to think, it came at the hands of the Phillies, a team that has had trouble scoring runs all season and entered the night averaging just 3.75 runs per game.

What’s that thing Charlie Manuel likes to say? Oh, yeah, baseball’s a funny game.

Riding a 21-hit attack and the strong starting pitching of John Lannan, the Phillies walloped the Dodgers, 16-1, on Friday night (see Instant Replay). It was the Dodgers’ worst home loss since leaving Brooklyn.

“We had a real good night,” Manuel said. “That tells you we can score and get hits. We needed a game like this. Hopefully it carries over.”

This marked the first time all season the Phils reached double-digit runs. Last year, the Phils scored double-digit runs six times. They did it 12 times in 2011.

The Phils arrived at the mathematical halfway point of the season with a 39-42 record. They are 3-2 on this important 10-game road trip, and here’s the galling part of that: They coulda, woulda, shoulda won the two games they lost. They blew a lead in the ninth inning in one of those losses and in the seventh inning in the other.

“That’s the consistency we always talk about,” Manuel said.

Friday night’s offensive charge was led by Michael Young, who had four hits, including a homer, in the ballpark of his boyhood dreams.

“I love this place,” Young, a Los Angeles-area native, said of Dodger Stadium. “My earliest memories of loving baseball started in this ballpark.

“We were overdue for a game like this. We’ve all been on the other side of these things. It’s just one of those odd games where we found some holes and got some breaks.”

Another Los Angeles-area guy had a big night with the stick. Delmon Young had three hits, including an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run double in the second. He finished the night with a career-high six RBIs.

Delmon Young’s second-inning double was his seventh straight hit in a three-game span. He is 9 for 14 in those three games, a spree that coincided with Manuel’s saying that it was time for Delmon Young to kick it in gear.

Three games ago, Delmon Young was hitting .222. Now he’s at .259.

“Maybe he heard me,” Manuel said of Delmon Young.

Delmon Young missed the first month recovering from ankle surgery. He has continually said he was a slow starter and would be a different hitter when he got to about 150 at-bats. He is at 158.

“Usually when I get to about 150 at-bats, it starts clicking,” Delmon Young said. “It was a matter of time.”

Delmon Young contributed to the Phils’ all-around solid play by gunning down a man at the plate from right field.

“It was a good game, top to bottom,” he said. “Lannan kept putting up zeroes and we kept having good at-bats.

“We could have won every game on this trip. We need to keep doing that the next couple of weeks and we’ll make up some ground.”

With a half season to go, the Phillies trail Atlanta by 7½ games in the NL East. They play the Braves three times on the next homestand.

Lannan joined the hit parade with three of them. On the mound, he benefited from his teammates building a six-run lead against lefty Chris Capuano after two innings.

“It’s good to get that run support,” said Lannan, who is 1-2 in six starts with the Phils. “It forced me to pound the zone.”

The Phils’ biggest offensive night of the season came with their highest-paid hitter, Ryan Howard, sitting on the bench (see story). He must have felt like the guy who called in sick the day the folks at the office chipped in and bought the winning Power Ball ticket.

Howard will sit again Saturday as he tries to clear his head and stay away from one of those left-handed starters that have given him fits. Howard will return to the lineup Sunday. By then we’ll have an idea whether Friday night’s one-sided win was a streak-builder for the Phils or an aberration.

Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Phillies have a history of adding players in the Rule 5 draft. The annual event, designed to prevent teams from stockpiling minor-league talent without giving it a shot in the majors, has netted the Phillies players such as Dave Hollins, Shane Victorino and Odubel Herrera over the years.

The year’s Rule 5 draft will be held Thursday morning at the conclusion of the winter meetings, but it’s highly unlikely that the Phillies will be active. After adding 11 prospects to their 40-man roster two weeks ago, the Phillies are simply out of room. Selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft would first require the Phils to cut a player loose and that did not seem to be the plan as the sun set Wednesday.

While an addition is unlikely, there’s a strong possibility that the Phils will lose a player or two in the draft. Outfielder Andrew Pullin, a 2012 draft pick, is the likeliest to go. He hit .322 with a .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016 and a number of teams are buzzing about him. A late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League and factored into the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

If a team rolls the dice on Pullin, it must keep him in the majors all season or offer him back to the Phillies.

Other players who could go include first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi, outfielder Carlos Tocci and pitchers Miguel Nunez and Hoby Milner.

All quiet for now
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak spent Wednesday meeting with agents and representatives from other clubs.

“Nothing is hot at the moment,” he said late in the day.

Klentak has brought back starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, added relievers Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek and traded for outfielder Howie Kendrick this offseason. The biggest remaining issue/question on his plate is whether to add a veteran hitter in a corner outfield spot or keep the pathway open for young players such as Roman Quinn and eventually Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams. 

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside — that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

While it’s uncertain whether the Phils will add a hitter, they most surely will make other roster tweaks as the winter moves on. They are likely to fill their backup catcher’s spot in-house (see story), but could add a utility infielder and more bullpen depth on minor-league contracts.

“I think there will probably be another move or two before we get to Clearwater,” Klentak said. “Who and when remains to be seen.”

Phillies likely to carry rookie backup catcher in 2017

Phillies likely to carry rookie backup catcher in 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The likelihood of the Phillies going with a rookie backup catcher in 2017 increased dramatically when the Miami Marlins signed free agent A.J. Ellis on Wednesday.

Ellis spent the final month of the 2016 season with the Phillies after coming over from the Dodgers in the Carlos Ruiz trade. Ellis, 35, got high marks for his work with the Phillies’ young pitching staff and the Phils had some interest in bringing him back. The interest, however, was complicated by a tight 40-man roster, which already includes three catchers — starter Cameron Rupp and minor-league prospects Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp.

With Ellis out of the picture, the Phillies will likely use either Alfaro or Knapp as the backup catcher in 2017. Knapp spent a full year at Triple A in 2016 and could end up being the guy as Alfaro moves to Triple A for another year of seasoning.

General manager Matt Klentak spoke earlier this week of the possibility of going with a rookie at backup catcher.

“Andrew Knapp just finished his age 25 season in Triple A,” Klentak said. “He has a full year of at-bats in Triple A. At some point for both he and Alfaro, we’re going to have to find out what those guys can do at the big-league level. During the 2017 season, we’ll have to find out — not just about those two guys — but others.”

It’s not all that surprising that Ellis ended up with the Marlins on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. He played for Marlins manager Don Mattingly during the latter’s time as manager of the Dodgers.