Phillies Swept, Clinch Top Pick


The Phillies dropped both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday to the visiting Miami Marlins at soggy, windy Citizens Bank Park. The first game defeat combined with a victory by the Cincinnati Reds to clinch MLB’s worst overall record for the Phils.

While fans of the Fightins have endured season-long suffering at the bottom of the overall MLB standings, there is now a tangible reward for their patience with an ugly tear-down and a continuing rebuild: the top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft.

In yesterday’s double-dip, the Fish rallied to take the opener 7-6, and then completed the sweep with a 5-2 win in the nightcap. The two losses gave the Phillies 99 losses on the season, leaving them one shy of the first 100-loss season for the franchise since 1961.

Game One was the likely final start in red pinstripes for Aaron Harang, and as with most, it was an unimpressive effort. The 37-year old righty allowed 3 earned runs on 8 hits and a walk across 5.2 innings.

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It was a 29th start for Harang, and the 16th in which he allowed at least 7 hits. Over a dozen starts since returning from the DL on July 30th, Harang allowed 85 hits and 24 walks across 66.1 innings, with a 6.11 ERA and .309 batting average against him over that time

The Marlins jumped to a 3-0 lead on 3 singles, a double, and an error by Harang in the top of the 2nd inning. In the top of the 3rd, Jeff Mathis banged a solo homer to make it 4-0.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Cody Asche drilled a two-out, bases-loaded, bases-clearing triple to cut the Fish lead down to 4-3. Then a Brian Bogusevic solo homer tied it in the bottom of the 4th, and an Odubel Herrera RBI single pushed the Phils in front by 5-4 in the bottom of the 5th.

In the top of the 6th, Harang recorded the first two outs, but was then pulled from the game in favor of reliever Ken Roberts, who promptly gave up a single to Dee Gordon. That proved as big a mistake as it usually is, with Gordon promptly stealing 2nd and 3rd, and scoring the tying run when Carlos Ruiz‘ throw went wild.

The Phils would regain their one-run lead in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, Chase d’Arnaud tripled, and then scored on a sac fly off the bat of Freddy Galvis.

That 6-5 lead held into the top of the 9th, and closer Ken Giles was called on to nail it down. For just the 2nd time since taking over that closer role, he would fail. With one out and one on, Martin Prado sliced a triple into the right field corner to bring home the tying run. Then following an intentional walk, Marcell Ozuna‘s RBI single provided the winning margin.

Between games of the doubleheader, the Cincinnati Reds wrapped up a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and with that, the Phils clinched that top overall 2016 MLB Amateur Draft pick. It will mark the first time since 1998, when the team chose slugger and new Wall of Famer Pat Burrell, that the Phillies will choose first in the draft process.

For Game Two, rookie Alec Asher was sent out to try one more time for the first victory of his MLB career. Once again, Asher was not up to the challenge. The righty lasted just 2 innings over which he allowed 3 earned runs on 6 hits. Over his 7 starts since being acquired in the Cole Hamels deal, Asher went 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA, allowing 42 hits in 29 innings with a 16/10 K:BB ratio.

Meanwhile, Marlins rookie Justin Nicolino was outstanding, allowing just 2 earned runs on 6 hits across 7 innings in raising his record to a 5-4 mark. A 2-run double by Justin Bour in the top of the 1st, and an RBI double by Christian Yelich in the top of the 2nd gave Nicolino an early 3-0 lead.

The Phillies pulled one back in the bottom of the 4th on a solo home run by Maikel Franco, who was playing in his first game since breaking his hand two months ago. Franco’s 14th homer of the year cut the Fish lead to 3-1, but that would be as close as the Phillies would get in this one.

Ozuna knocked in a run in the top of the 5th to make it 4-1. Franco got that one back with an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th. But then an RBI single by Miguel Rojas scored Ozuna in the top of the 8th with what proved a clinching run in the 5-2 victory.

The Phillies will send David Buchanan to the mound in the Sunday afternoon finale at Citizens Bank Park as the fight to avoid hitting that century mark in the loss column comes down to the final day of the 2015 season.