Unfazed by trade talk, Young powers Phils to win

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Unfazed by trade talk, Young powers Phils to win

BOX SCORE

To some, the trade deadline can be a distraction.
 
Not to Michael Young.
 
“I’ve been doing this since I was four,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be glad when it’s over. But I get peace of mind when I’m playing.”
 
Young, playing amidst a torrent of trade speculation, kept his eye on the ball, literally and figuratively, Tuesday night. His two-run home run in the sixth inning helped key a 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).
 
The win, of course, snapped an eight-game losing streak that caused clubhouse dissension and turned the Phillies into deadline sellers. All eight losses came on a road trip that concluded Sunday.
 
“It’s nice to get back in front of the home crowd,” Young said. “I don’t think they held that road trip against us too much. There’s no way around it. We needed a win and it’s nice we got one.”
 
Carlos Ruiz also smacked a two-run homer, his first of the season. Like Young, he is a candidate to be moved before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
 
Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon are also trade possibilities. Lee is a long shot to go because the Phils are asking for multiples of top prospects and a vital organ. Papelbon is a long shot to go because of poor recent performance and a high salary.
 
“I wouldn’t call the trade deadline a distraction,” Young said. “The bad part is we lost games to put us in this position. I’ve been on both sides of it. It’s nicer when you’re going to add.”
 
Though there are hurdles, Young is the most likely Phillie to be traded (see story).
 
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “But I do know if something happens the Phillies will give me a call.”
 
The call would be a necessary precursor to a deal because Young has a full no-trade clause.
 
Manager Charlie Manuel has seen his team melt in the days before the trade deadline. He’ll be glad when it’s over.
 
“It has been a distraction,” Manuel said. “Very much a distraction. There’s been a lot of talk about it and that plays a part with how guys think and everything. I’ll be glad when it’s over.”
 
A crowd of 36,492 showed up.
 
“Being home helped,” Manuel said. “The atmosphere helped. Losing eight in a row … that’s a pretty good losing streak.”
 
The Phils’ previous six games (all losses) had been against first-place clubs. The Giants, who won the World Series last year, were easier opponents than St. Louis or Detroit. The Giants entered the game having lost 22 of their previous 30 games to fall into last place in the NL West.
 
Giants starter Barry Zito allowed four hits and five runs in 3 1/3 innings. He is 0-7 with a 9.97 ERA in nine road starts this season.
 
Meanwhile, Phillies starter John Lannan had what Manuel called “a John Lannan game.” The left-hander went seven innings and allowed three runs.
 
“He took us to a good place in the game,” Manuel said.
 
Antonio Bastardo and Justin De Fratus took the Phils the rest of the way.
 
Cody Asche made his big-league debut as a pinch-hitter and popped out.
 
Domonic Brown remains on the disabled list with concussion symptoms and could be out another week, Manuel said.
 
Despite being six games under .500 and 11½ games out in the NL East, Manuel presses on.
 
“We’ll come out and try to win tomorrow and see if we can’t get something going,” he said.

Phillies outfield prospect Carlos Tocci promoted to Triple A

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Phillies outfield prospect Carlos Tocci promoted to Triple A

Phillies outfield prospect Carlos Tocci, who it seems like has been in the organization forever, was promoted Thursday from Double A Reading to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Tocci, who turns 22 on Aug. 23, has been in the Phillies' organization since he was 16 years old. He's taken some pretty big steps forward offensively the last three seasons as he's gained muscle and experience, and this season he's hit a career-best .307/.362/.398 in 474 plate appearances.

Recent promotions to the majors of Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams and Cameron Perkins have created openings in the Lehigh Valley lineup. Tocci will likely play center field, where he's committed just one error in 801⅓ innings this season.

Tocci will likely be added to the Phillies' 40-man roster this winter to prevent another team from plucking him away in December's Rule 5 draft. The Phils may have to make a decision between Tocci and oft-injured Roman Quinn (see story), though there are several other replaceable players on the 40.

Phillies-Giants 5 things: Aaron Nola on track to make some more history

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Phillies-Giants 5 things: Aaron Nola on track to make some more history

Phillies (43-75) at Giants (48-74)
10:15 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

After a rather pathetic series in San Diego, the Phillies move on to San Francisco for their final non-NL East road series of the season.

The Giants have had an unbelievably disappointing season, getting very little from key pitchers like Johnny Cueto, Matt Moore and Mark Melancon and key hitters like Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence.

On most nights, the Giants struggle to score. This is shaping up to be another one of them.

1. Nola night
Aaron Nola's starts have become must-watches over the last two months. He's on a historic run of 10 straight starts with at least six innings pitched and two or fewer runs. 

It's the longest streak in Phillies history, and it's a longer streak than the following pitchers have ever had: Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Sandy Koufax, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Warren Spahn, Nolan Ryan, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Max Scherzer, and countless others.

This is a great matchup for Nola. On top of the Giants' offensive futility, AT&T Park is just an extremely difficult place to hit home runs. There have been just 82 homers hit there this season, which is 23 fewer than any other park and 70 fewer than the league average.

Nola (9-7, 3.02) has faced the Giants only once, last June when he was in the midst of a rough summer. Buster Posey, Denard Span, Crawford and Jarrett Parker went a combined 5 for 9 off of him, but Nola is a much different pitcher these days.

2. Outfield help wanted
The Phillies are in a precarious position heading into San Francisco. They don't know whether Odubel Herrera (hamstring) will be available to start this weekend, and Aaron Altherr remains on the DL with a hamstring injury of his own.

AT&T Park is the most difficult outfield to defend in all of baseball. It's 404 feet to left-center field and 421 feet to right-center. A centerfielder must have above-average range to succeed there.

In right field, there's the high brick wall that a rightfielder must learn. If a ball hits high off the wall and caroms past the rightfielder, it's an inside-the-park home run waiting to happen.

The Phillies cannot expect to play Rhys Hoskins in left field and Hyun Soo Kim in right field and get away with it in this series. Look for them to help Nola out tonight by putting a more experienced outfielder like Cameron Perkins in one of the corners, even though his bat is a liability.

3. Shark attack
The Phillies tonight face 6-foot-5 veteran right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who's having an interesting season. Samardzija is 7-12 with a 4.74 ERA, but he also has 160 strikeouts and just 23 walks in 155⅔ innings. Roy Halladay had only one season with a better K/BB ratio.

The issue usually with Samardzija is that he throws a lot of hittable pitches early in counts because he hates falling behind hitters. Two seasons ago, he allowed the most hits, earned runs and home runs in the league. And yet he's still regarded as a very good pitcher because on a pitch-by-pitch basis, he can be tough to solve.

Samardzija, like pretty much any pitcher who goes to San Fran, has been much better at home than on the road. He has a 4.35 ERA at AT&T Park and has allowed 0.79 home runs per nine innings. On the road, he has a 5.05 ERA and has allowed 1.65 home runs per nine.

Samardzija has faced the Phillies 10 times in his career but his numbers (26 runs in 27 innings) are immaterial because no current Phillie has ever faced him.

Samardzija has six different pitches: sinker, slider, four-seam fastball, curveball, cutter and splitter. His sinker and fastball average about 95 mph. A right-handed hitter rarely knows what's coming on the first pitch — Samardzija has thrown four different pitches at least 17 percent of the time on the first pitch.

4. Nothing from the corners
Any major-league team needs offense from first base and third base. That has been true as long as this game has been around. They're both premium offensive positions where you typically see a power hitter.

The Phillies have gotten so little this season, especially lately, from their corner infielders. Maikel Franco is hitting .223 and his .276 on-base percentage and is 70th out of 71 National League players. (Only Brandon Crawford is worse.)

In August, Franco has hit .186 with one home run and zero walks. Franco has 17 home runs, but it seems like everyone in the majors has 17 home runs this season. There are 89 players with more home runs than Franco this year, so the 17 homers are little solace.

Tommy Joseph is hitting .102 in 49 at-bats since Aug. 2. Combined, the two of them have two home runs in their last 190 plate appearances.

5. This and that
• I dug up a depressing stat Wednesday on the Phillies' struggles this season against bad starting pitchers. Clayton Richard, Brandon Finnegan, Martin Perez, Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Anderson, J.C. Ramirez, Edinson Volquez, Adam Conley, Tim Adleman, Patrick Corbin and Ricky Nolasco have a 0.93 ERA vs. the Phils this season. They have a collective 5.22 ERA against the rest of baseball.

• The Giants' disastrous season hasn't affected Posey, who is having another dynamic season, hitting .316/.406/.473 with his typically elite defense.

• The Phillies' 6-20 record against the NL West is the worst record by any major-league team against any division this season.

• After sending Nick Pivetta to Triple A after his start Wednesday, the Phillies called up shortstop Pedro Florimon. Florimon, 30, will be available off the Phillies' bench tonight.