Phils-Reds game halted because of rain, to resume Wednesday

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Phils-Reds game halted because of rain, to resume Wednesday

BOX SCORE

CINCINNATI -- Before batting practice Tuesday night, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel talked about his team’s struggling offense.

He tried to be diplomatic, but it didn’t work.

So he resorted to some plain talk.

“When you cut right to the chase and through the BS, we have to hit,” he said.

It didn’t happen Tuesday night. The Phillies ran into a formidable pitcher in Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey, who allowed just two singles and struck out 10 over eight shutout innings.

The Phils, meanwhile, received a strong start of their own from Kyle Kendrick, who pitched two-hit ball over seven shutout innings.

So which team finally cracked through and won the game?

Neither.

With the score knotted at 0-0, the game was suspended because of rain in the bottom of the ninth inning. It will be resumed Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. before the teams’ regularly scheduled game starts at 7:10 p.m.

Tuesday night’s game was delayed one hour, 20 minutes at the start. After it was suspended, Manuel sat in the visiting manager’s office and was reminded of his pregame thoughts on the offense.

“It didn’t work out,” he said. “We haven’t hit on this road trip. We scored six runs in three games in Miami, two last night, and right now we’re hanging on a zero.”

This is the first time the Phils have had a suspended game since their World Series clincher in 2008.

When the game resumes Wednesday night, reliever Phillippe Aumont will be on the mound to start the bottom of the ninth. Zack Cosart is the scheduled Reds’ hitter. Aumont had just entered the game when the skies opened.

The Phillies wasted a strong from Kendrick, but Bailey had something to do with the their struggles at the plate.

“KK was matching him,” Manuel said. “They didn’t hit him either.”

Phillies starting pitchers have delivered seven quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) in a row.

“That’s good,” Manuel said. “But at the same time, we need to get them some runs.”

Chase Utley and Michael Young had the Phillies’ only hits Tuesday night. Leadoff man Ben Revere was 0 for 4. His average has dropped to .207. Jimmy Rollins was 0 for 3. He is 0 for 15 on the trip and is down to .226.

After Bailey exited, Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the top of the ninth. In all, Phillies hitters struck out 12 times.

The Reds had a couple early threats in the game. They put runners on the corners in the first inning, but Kendrick struck out Jay Bruce to get out of the jam. Two innings later, rightfielder Laynce Nix made a diving grab of Joey Votto’s sinking liner to save a run.

Aumont is scheduled to face Cozart, Votto and Brandon Phillipps in the bottom of the ninth. They are the Reds’ Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters.

John Lannan (0-0, 3.86) and Mike Leake (0-0, 6.00) are the pitchers in the regularly scheduled game.

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The pathway for Andrew Knapp to make the Phillies' opening day roster as the backup catcher was cleared way back in November when he was added to the 40-man roster.

The job all but became Knapp's on Monday when the team released two veteran catchers who were not on the 40-man roster. When Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday were let go, Knapp became one of just two catchers in camp, the other being starter Cameron Rupp (see story).

So it's pretty obvious that the 25-year-old Knapp will open the season with the big club -- even though nothing will become official until rosters are filed with the commissioner's office this weekend.

"Obviously there are four or five days left," Knapp said. "I'm just going to keep trying to make good impressions and try to win a job. I'm keeping my head down, trying not to think about it too much."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round draft pick of Cal-Berkeley in 2013. He has never played in the majors.

"It would be a dream come true," he said. "Everyone hopes to get called up at some point but to make a team on opening day would be pretty special and it would be the best moment in my career so far."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that Knapp would probably make the club.

Mackanin would like to have the rest of his roster in order over the next day or two.

"As soon as possible," he said. "Because the last four or five games I'd like to play almost as if it were a season -- using the bullpen that way, using the bench in a certain way, seeing what it looks like, our bench guys, all our hitters. We just don't want to make a bad decision so we're just going to string it out as long as we can."

Roster questions must still be answered on the bench and in the bullpen.

How does the bench shape up? Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp are set. The Phils are expected to go with a five-man bench so that leaves two openings. There are four players vying for those spots: Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava, Brock Stassi and Jesmuel Valentin. Valentin has impressed, but at 22 years old would benefit from playing every day at Triple A.

Mackanin praised Stassi's work on Monday. If Stassi makes the club, the final spot would come down to Coghlan and Nava.

"Stassi has obviously made a great impression, mainly because, not necessarily because of his results, but the fact that he had a lot of quality at-bats," Mackanin said. "It looks like he can handle making adjustments to the different pitchers and different situations. He seemed to handle left-handers well. He made a good impression, as has Coughlan. Nava has also been consistent throughout the spring."

Stassi, Coghlan and Nava are all non-roster players so the Phils would have to clear 40-man roster space to add any of them.

Two spots remain open in the bullpen. Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia, Alec Asher and Cesar Ramos are the candidates. All but Ramos is on the 40-man roster.

How will this all shake out?

More answers are probably coming Tuesday.

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

A week before the season opener, it appears Andrew Knapp has won the Phillies' backup catcher competition.

The Phils on Monday released Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday, two veterans battling with Knapp for the backup spot to Cameron Rupp.

Knapp, 25, hasn't had an impressive spring, going 7 for 38 (.184) with 16 strikeouts, but the move makes sense because he's young and has at least a chance to contribute to the Phillies in the future, unlike Hanigan and Holaday. Plus, catcher Jorge Alfaro and first baseman Rhys Hoskins will likely open the season at Triple A, meaning Knapp would not have had an everyday spot with the IronPigs.

Knapp had his best game of the spring at the right time Sunday, hitting a two-run homer and throwing out two runners on the bases (see story).

"It's pretty obvious he seems to be the guy," manager Pete Mackanin said of Knapp. "Nothing's written in stone but if you read between the lines, it pretty much tells you something about it. No secret plans or anything like that. It is what it is right now."

At 25, Knapp isn't really a prospect anymore but rather a player the Phillies want to see sink or swim at the big-league level.

"He's not going to get 500 at-bats, but one of the things you can look at is any exposure to the big-league scene is valuable toward anyone's development," Mackanin said. "Let's say Knapp gets 200 at-bats, it's worth his while and our while to judge him, to give him a sense of confidence or knowing what he's up against.

"In that regard playing in the big leagues, even in a part-time role, is important."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round pick in 2013 out of the University of California. He broke out in 2015 by hitting .360 with a 1.050 OPS and more than an RBI per game in 241 plate appearances with Double A Reading.

Last season, the switch-hitting Knapp was an International League All-Star with Triple A Lehigh Valley, though he didn't have as impressive an offensive season, batting .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs.

"He's got a chance to be a pretty good hitter," Mackanin said. "And he's come along quite a ways defensively behind the plate to where I'm comfortable with him catching.

"Little by little he's shown improvement in the spring, even though he hasn't had the greatest spring offensively. He's had a lot of good at-bats and he's caught well."

Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp look like locks for the Phillies' bench. The final two bench spots are open with Brock Stassi, Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava and Jesmuel Valentin in the running (see story).

CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury contributed to this report.