Phillies Pounded by Marlins, Finish Homestand With 2-5 Mark


A homestand that began with manager Pete Mackanin waxing optimistically about making a run at the National League wild card ended Thursday night with another reminder that the Phillies just aren’t ready to travel in those circles.
The Phillies were manhandled, 9-3, by the Miami Marlins (see Instant Replay). The loss left the Phils with a 2-5 record on the homestand as they scurried to the airport for a flight to Pittsburgh, where they open a 10-game road trip on Friday night.
Mackanin employed the rallying cry “Why not?” as the Phillies came back from the All-Star break and opened the seven-game homestand six games back in the wild-card race. Thursday night’s loss – in which they were out-hit 16-3 – dropped them to nine games back.
“It’s always disappointing when you have a 2-5 homestand,” Mackanin said. “But at the same time, I’m not giving up hope for the wild card because I’ve seen us better.”
The Phillies were a lot better heading into the All-Star break. They won 10 of their final 13 games before the break, but could not build on that against the Mets and Marlins. The Phils were the hottest hitting team in the majors over the final two weeks before the break. They returned and scored just 17 runs in seven games on the homestand. They were one-hit by Mets right-hander Jason deGrom on Sunday and two-hit over eight innings by Marlins righty Tom Koehler on Thursday.
“It’s been crazy,” Freddy Galvis said. “It’s been one week good, one week bad. You know? Hopefully, we’ll turn it around and play good in Pittsburgh, try to put everything together like a team. I think for us, it’s about trying to put together some good at-bats. Take some pitches. I think everything will happen after that. One of the main things is getting guys on base. We have to get guys on base.”
Maybe going on the road for 10 games will be good for the Phillies.
They are hitting .218 and averaging 2.9 runs per game at home, both major-league lows.
On the road, they are hitting .260 and averaging 4.25 runs per game.
“I don’t know, man, it’s crazy,” Galvis said. “We were talking about it. I don’t know if we try to do too much here at home, but every time we go on the road, we click. Everything goes good, you know? If you try to do too much, it’s not going to happen.”
The Phillies had just one hit – a homer by Ryan Howard in the fourth – through seven innings against Koehler. Galvis homered in the eighth for the Phils’ second hit and Peter Bourjos singled in the ninth against reliever Mike Dunn.
“That was the best I’ve seen Koehler,” Mackanin said. “He had a really good curveball.”
With Koehler being so stingy, Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff was going to have to be as sharp as he was in his previous nine starts when he recorded a 2.45 ERA.
Eickhoff was good early, but ended up getting hit hard in the fourth and fifth innings. He was tagged for four runs in the fourth and two in the fifth. Seven of the nine hits he allowed came in those two innings.
“Eickhoff has one of the best curveballs in baseball,” Mackanin said. “I didn’t think he used it enough, especially in that fourth inning. It’s a really good pitch for him. He got away from it for some reason.”
Carlos Ruiz had been behind the plate for seven of Eickhoff’s eight previous starts. A month ago, Mackanin said he liked the pairing because Ruiz forced Eickhoff to use his breaking ball.
Cameron Rupp got the call in this game, his first in an Eickhoff start since July 4 when the pitcher beat Atlanta with 7 2/3 innings of two-run, eight-strikeout ball. Reading between the lines, however, it sounded like Rupp and Eickhoff did not mesh well.
“Looking back after the outing was over, there were definitely times I could have used [the curveball] more,” Eickhoff said. “It was kind of heavy slider and two-seamer tonight and the occasional curveball. In that last inning I was able to use it more and I got some bad swings on it. It was just unfortunate I wasn’t able to realize that myself and throw that more in the game in that fourth inning.
“Based on what I had seen in the scouting report, [Miami] usually hits curveballs pretty well. But watching guys in other starts, their curveballs were working well. I just didn’t throw it tonight. I didn’t execute it when I wanted to. It was definitely a pitch I could have used more.”
Eickhoff was asked if Rupp should have called the pitch more often.
“I wouldn’t even say that,” he said. “It just comes down to the flow of the game. I had some decent sliders going. If I wanted, I would have shook to it.”

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