No Luck of the Irish for Phillies
By Jim Tierney
The Phillies (8-7-1) wasted a strong, unexpected start by David Buchanan in a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saint Patrick’s Day. Buchanan, scheduled to make a relief appearance, was asked to start at Bright House Field after a right hamstring issue shelved scheduled starter Jerome Williams. Buchanan struck out 6 Rays, walking none, giving up only one earned run on just 2 hits in 4 impressive innings of work.
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The Phillies bats were mostly silent. Starter Alex Cobb set them down in order in all 3 innings that he worked, striking out 3 while walking none. Cobb left the game with right forearm tightness.
If not for some sloppy play in the bottom of the 5th, the final result wouldn’t look as close as it appeared. With the bases loaded on singles by Carlos Ruiz and Odubel Herrera and a walk to Cord Phelps, Ruiz scored on a wild pitch by Mike Montgomery with Jordan Danks batting. Herrera later scored on an errant pick off attempt to third base by catcher Rene Rivera with Maikel Franco batting.
Asdrubal Cabrera drove in the games first run on a single to center. The Rays then rode the long ball to victory. Logan Forsythe hit a pair of opposite-field solo homers, one in the 5th, another in the 7th. Mikie Mahtook added a two-run shot in the 8th to cap off the scoring for the Rays.
In the bottom of the 8th, Chase Utley singled to score Jordan Danks, but Chase d’Arnaud, bought in earlier in the inning as a pinch runner for Maikel Franco, was thrown out at 3rd by left fielder Taylor Motter.
Bright spots out of the Phils bullpen included Nefi Ogando, who pitched a perfect 6th in relief, striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced and lowering his spring ERA to 1.69. Ken Giles was all or nothing in the 9th, walking the first two batters he faced on 8 pitches, then striking out the last three on 9 pitches.
The Phillies have a rare spring day off this afternoon, the only scheduled off-day during this year’s Grapefruit League season. They are back on Thursday to take on the New York Yankees at George Steinbrenner stadium at 7:05 p.m. in a game that is scheduled to air on ESPN.