Holliday, Rockies Slide Into Series With Phils

Holliday, Rockies Slide Into Series With Phils

Jesus that took forever. Just before midnight, the San Diego Padres'
went ahead in the 13th inning of the NL Wild Card play-in game, with
Scott Hairston taking one out against Colorado's 9th pitcher of the
game. Most Phillies fans have been hoping the Padres would be the team
they'd face in the first round, as Colorado has been on fire lately
(including against the Phillies), and San Diego had to use Cy Young
shoe-in Jake Peavy tonight, taking him out of the rotation until
probably game 3.

Then Colorado came back, with MVP candidate Matt Holliday taking the RBI lead from Ryan Howard (needing an extra game to do it), and scoring the winning run—or did he? On the replay, Michael Barrett looked to block the plate, with Holliday missing the plate and doing a full-on face plant. (note: Sager is a loser) Holliday went 2-6 in the game, putting up 3 huge Ks before coming through with a huge liner that would have left CBP in a hurry.

The Rockies have won 14 of their last 15, including slaughtering the
Phightens at home in September. Both teams win by slugging, and both
play in run-friendly stadiums, so we're probably in store for some
football scores this week (we need them from one of our teams).

I hate to say it, but the Rockies are for real. Troy Tulowitsky may
be the Rookie of the Year, Holliday is admittedly one of the best in
the game, Garrett Atkins snapped a first-half slump to finish over
.300, and they've gotten solid pitching from the top half of their
rotation. Sure we would have preferred the Padres, but that's why they
just choked got eliminated. We jokingly hoped this
game would go to extra extra innings, and it did, causing the Rockies
to go deep down their bench and wear out some relievers, which could
really play a factor in the series vs. the Phillies.

It looks like it's going to be a helluva series any way you slice it, with both teams on fire heading into the postseason.

Watch: The Phillies pulled off the old double steal

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Watch: The Phillies pulled off the old double steal

The Philadelphia Phillies are attempting to salvage something this afternoon in Detroit this as they take on the Tigers. The Fightins got on the board early and hold a 2-0 lead midway through the second.

After a Peter Bourjos single scored Ryan Howard, Odubel Herrera came up to bat and didn't even have to move to get another run in.

The Phillies pulled off a double steal with Bourjos taking second which allowed Andres Blanco to come home easily.

With the Phils showing such little pop at the plate this season, a little hustle and ingenuity is needed.

Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

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Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

Justin Verlander mowed down the Phillies last night in a 3-1 Tigers victory, but the Phils have a chance to strike back this afternoon against a struggling pitcher who hasn't had much career success against them.

Anibal Sanchez will take the hill for the Tigers and oppose Aaron Nola in today's series finale (1:10 p.m. on CSN). To say Sanchez hasn't had a great start to his season would be an understatement. He's 3-5 with a 6.32 ERA and opponents are batting .270 against him.

In his career against the Phillies, Sanchez is just 4-8 with a 4.94 ERA. Granted, most of those numbers came in the early part of his career with the Florida Marlins, when he regularly faced powerful Phillies lineups. As one might expect, Ryan Howard, who is again in the lineup today as the designated hitter and batting fifth, has seen Sanchez plenty of times. His 42 at-bats against Sanchez are tied for third-most against the 32-year-old righty. Howard's done OK against Sanchez — 9 for 31 (.290 average) with two homers and four RBI. Maybe some familiarity will finally lead to a breakout game for Howard. But, if his massive slump is any indication, maybe not.

For as poor as Sanchez's start to the season has been, Aaron Nola's first six weeks of 2016 have been at the other end of the spectrum.

Today's Phillies starter is 3-3 with a 2.85 ERA. But he's been better than those numbers show.

His .900 WHIP is third in the NL, as is his 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 6.45 hits allowed per nine innings is fourth in the NL, as is his 1.65 walks per nine innings. His 64 strikeouts rank eighth in the NL. Imagine if he got more than the 2.89 runs of support he's been getting in his starts.

As for the rest of the Phillies' lineup today, the only changes see Andres Blanco getting the start for Cesar Hernandez, batting seventh and Cameron Rupp behind the plate, batting sixth.

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera CF
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Maikel Franco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Ryan Howard DH
6. Cameron Rupp C
7. Andres Blanco 2B
8. Tyler Goeddell LF
9. Peter Bourjos 1B

Tigers
1. Cameron Maybin CF
2. J.D. Martinez RF
3. Miguel Cabrera DH
4. Victor Martinez 1B
5. Nick Castellanos 3B
6. Steven Moya LF
7. James McCann C
8. Mike Aviles 2B
9. Jose Iglesias SS

Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

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Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

The Phillies once again couldn't find much offense and fell to the Tigers in Detroit last night by a final of 3-1.

But at least the pitching showed something.

There was a fun moment between Jeremy Hellickson and Miguel Cabrera after Hellickson threw quite a nice pitch that fooled Miggy.

Here's how Jim Salisbury described the fun battle:

Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
 
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
 
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
 
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.

And here's the thumbs up: